Darien High School Paper – Sarah Graves


“Seeing the people that Teen Peace Works has helped and imagining the people it may help in the future make it all worth while. One in three teens is too many. It’s time to help break the cycle.” This is how senior Rachel Hathaway concluded her winning essay on the issues of teen dating violence and her work preventing it through the DHS club Teen Peaceworks.

Rachel has started getting recognition for her work. The co-founder of Teen Peaceworks and active DHS artist has won a young women’s leadership essay contest, prestigious art award, and acceptance to an honors art weekend.

Rachel’s essay entitled Breaking the Cycle: Preventing Interpersonal Violence, was honored with first place in an essay contest held by the state of Connecticut’s Young Women’s Leadership Program. She was recognized by the YWLP and state legislators at an awards ceremony on Making Women Visible Day at the state capitol on Feb. 9.

An excerpt from Rachel’s essay said, “…the thought that educating people about the cause for which I choose to fight could lead to even one less person being abused is reason to keep planning meetings, setting up fundraisers, and making just one more statistic poster.”

Michelle Noehren, a Co-Chair of the Young Women’s Leadership Program explained why Rachel’s essay was awarded first place, “[Rachel’s] essay demonstrated strong writing skills, creativity and a strong understanding of the issues facing young women… She is a great role model for other young women because she is someone who doesn’t just talk about a problem; she identifies what she can do about it and takes action. To us, that is the essence of leadership.”

At the end of her sophomore year in 2008 Rachel started Teen Peaceworks club with senior Grace Austin. The club promotes awareness to help prevent teen dating violence. Rachel’s essay explained, “During Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month in February, Teen Peaceworks hands out information, brings in victims of teen dating violence to tell their stories, and shares with students what we know about the issue of dating violence in the hopes of helping someone end a violent relationship.”

“Rachel is so mature and organized that she and Grace run all of the meetings and are incredibly dependable,” Teen Peaceworks faculty adviser Jennifer Ladd said. “Rachel is one of those people who have the intelligence and drive to make major changes in her community.”

When asked why she dedicates her time to domestic and teen dating violence Rachel said, “Domestic violence is an issue that not many people know about, but it’s big. [Nationwide] one in three people will be involved in dating violence in their lifetime so it’s important to talk about.”

Besides her dedication to promoting awareness for domestic violence, Rachel is an exceptionally talented artist. After taking ceramics, photography, graphic design, drawing and painting, and currently, advanced art, here at DHS Rachel has determined what she would like to be in her future years.

Her ambition is to become an art therapist, “I love art and I love helping people, being an art therapist would put those passions together.”

Rachel was nominated and accepted to the Russell Sage College 2010 Created in Therapy Honors event, which was held this past January. It was a weekend to learn what being an art therapist entails.

Ceramics teacher Dorine Bosler said, “Rachel excels as a ceramic artist. Her work is unique and her craftsmanship is impeccable.”

Not surprisingly, Rachel won “Best in Show” for her ceramic book sculpture at the 2008 Stamford Student Art Show and has been chosen to represent Darien High School at the CAS, Connecticut Association Schools, awards dinner on April 27. This annual arts recognition banquet honors the most outstanding visual and performing arts students from local high schools. Rachel was nominated for the visual award by the DHS art department and senior Kathleen Cameron was nominated for the performing arts award.

With Rachel’s undeniable artistic talent and dedication to helping others, her accomplishments are building and promise to continue making a difference.

The Young Women’s Leadership Program (YWLP) is a project of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. The YWLP is the leading networking and leadership program for women in Connecticut ages 18-35. YWLP has over 350 members in that age group from areas all over the state. Joining is free, you just need to be 18, female and live in CT. People interested in joining can do so here: ctpcsw.com

Original Article