Ashley Hall’s PAWS (Personal Awareness and Wellness Seminar) program launched in 2010, garnering national attention for its innovative merger of three existing programs—academic management, wellness, and college counseling.
Pressure on adolescent girls is enormous, the school believes, and takes a toll on their mental health. The program is targeted by grade level: advisors begin talking with seventh graders about finding balance, encouraging them to meet their own needs while fulfilling their obligations. The college counseling program helps students cope with the pressure around the college application process.
Weekly seminars include discussions in which values are explored and challenged, helping students understand that, ultimately, the choices they make are their own. Documentaries, guest speakers, and group activities push students out of their comfort zone, enabling them to address difficult topics—peer pressure, relationship boundaries, and personal safety, among others.
The school taps the expertise of community professionals, alumnae, and faculty members, who address a wide range of topics while sharing aspects of their personal journeys, including how students should navigate challenges while maintaining a lifelong commitment to wellness.
The goal is to nurture a sense of self-discovery and awareness that will help the girls navigate their future college and career choices and make decisions that bring them personal fulfillment.