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Spring Showcase Highlights Curiosity and Accomplishment

By Melissia Mason
In another moment of return to normalcy, we were excited to welcome families back to campus to celebrate their Emma students’ accomplishments through the annual Spring Showcase. Emma Artists and Signature scholars aggregated a years’ worth of work (in some cases more) to present to the Emma Willard School community.
The week’s festivities began on Thursday evening with the Spring Choir and Dance Company Concert in Kiggins Auditorium. The first in-person Spring Concert since 2019, emotions were high as seniors presented their final performances on the Kiggins stage. From ingenious choreography to powerful musical selections, the audience of students, EMployees, family, and friends were treated to a thrilling and uplifting artistic showcase.

As families gathered Friday morning in Lyon-Remington, Head of School Jenny Rao welcomed them to the special day. “Today’s event is one of my favorites,” she shared. “Curiosity is the most important engine for learning. Through Signature and Emma Artists, our students have the opportunity to vigorously pursue their curiosity. Today, we witness their work, find inspiration, and bring our own curiosities into this space.”

The breadth of curiosity within the Emma student body is evident in the wide variety of topics they chose for their Signature and Emma Artists projects. In preparation for the day’s events, Signature students created synopses of their work, including descriptions, posters, and presentation videos. Before the event, the community was invited to peruse their work in preparation for the day’s panel discussions. The projects were presented by theme: Communication, Computers, Design, Education, Environment, Finance, Human Rights & Justice, Identity, Language, STEAM Research, STEM I, STEM II, and Wellness. Likewise, Emma Artists presented their reflections on their pieces via artists’ statements posted on the Emma Artists Showcase.

Each Signature topic group participated in question and answer sessions. Throughout these panel discussions, the interconnectivity of disciplines became clear. Presentations on education overlapped discussions of mental health; mental health impacted the work of artists; music and color stimulated different parts of the brain; studies of the brain informed discussions of irrational and unconscious decision making. As scientists, mathematicians, researchers, writers, and humanitarians shared their projects, themes emerged: most were drawn to their work because of their own life experiences, subjects they’d been introduced to in classes, or an injustice they have perceived in the world.

Many learned of strengths they didn’t know they had, and learned how to improve upon perceived weaknesses. Panelists discussed their challenges, proudest moments, and lessons learned. “Not all the work you put into signature is visible,” Lucia L. ’23 shared in the Wellness discussion. “The work you can’t see is sometimes even more important than what you put down on paper.”

Throughout the day, musicians and dancers presented their Emma Artists pieces in a series of three recitals, and visual artists displayed their artwork in Dietel Gallery. In addition, a special Senior Art Exhibition was on display, highlighting art pieces by the Class of 2022.

After a day filled with stimulating discussion, profound performances, and feasts for the eyes, we are grateful for the Emma students who spur us all on. We look forward to seeing what’s next as you serve and shape your world.

Continue to explore the Spring Showcase at
    • The Emma Willard Dance Company presents a piece entitled "The Faerie Glen"

    • Parents and students take time to connect before the day's events

    • Head of School Jenny Rao welcomes guests to Spring Showcase

    • Panel discussions gave each Signature student the opportunity to share their own experiences

What's Next?

Our Mission

Honoring its founder’s vision, Emma Willard School proudly fosters in each young woman a love of learning, the habits of an intellectual life, and the character, moral strength, and qualities of leadership to serve and shape her world.
285 Pawling Avenue, Troy, NY 12180 | P: 518.833.1300 F: 518.833.1815
Welcome to Emma Willard School, a private day and boarding high school for girls in Troy, NY, and a leader in girls' education for over 200 years. 

PLEASE NOTE: All visitors to campus must check in with Campus Safety, which can be found at the red flag entrance to Sage Hall (Pawling Ave. entrance).