Celebrating Success and Experiential Learning

Dear Hill-Murray Community,

Thank you for your support of our girls’ hockey team in the state tournament. I was so proud to see many of the students, alumni, parents, and members of the broader community show up and support our girls. Our students learn so much by being a part of activities and athletics; it is integral to the Hill-Murray experience and complements what students are learning in class. Our portrait of a graduate describes Hill-Murray graduates as inquisitive, resilient, compassionate leaders. Where and how do our students develop and strengthen these skills and mindsets? Our intentional academic curriculum supports the work, and the learning carries over seamlessly into activities and athletics.

In talking with some of the girls on the hockey team, and even in my conversation with our “super fans” at the Xcel Energy Center, I am more convinced than ever that learning can happen through experiences that tap into the excitement of competition, the joy of being part of the team or the fan section, and the rush of emotion you get when you accomplish more than you thought you could.

Looking back on my high school years, I believe I learned some of my most important lessons from my challenges and successes as an athlete. I still vividly recall specific coaches and unexpected moments from my years in tennis, cross-country skiing, and track. While on the track team, I was by no means close to being one of the top runners, but I attempted to improve and push myself each day. I remember before one important meet, the coach called the team together and announced I would be running in a relay. This announcement took me by surprise because, let’s just say, I had plenty of bruises on my legs from knocking down hurdles during practice. However, he explained that he chose me for the relay because I consistently worked hard and demonstrated good teamwork skills each day. Now, over 30 years later, that moment remains etched in my mind and helped form who I am today. That day, I learned firsthand the importance of perseverance and hard work. Our students are constantly learning, both inside and outside the classroom. We have students who are pushing their limits, challenging themselves, and leading by example in numerous ways – embodying the true spirit of being PIONEERS.

This week, I am particularly proud of our girls and their hard work and perseverance on the team this year. You may have seen that senior Grace Zhan was named Goalie of the Year. Click here to learn more. I remember meeting Grace during my first year as President and being impressed by her maturity, humility, and strength of character. I am excited to see her continue to succeed at Dartmouth College next year.

In closing, I have been using the Hallow app this year and doing the Lenten Pray 40 Challenge. St. Maximilian Kolbe’s quote really resonated with me today, “Lent is a time of grace, a time for conversion, a time to come home to God.”


Melissa Dan
Hill-Murray School President