Former Kirby Hall student Sonali Mitra is working for the Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouts. This prestigious award challenges high school girls “to change the world – or at least your corner of it,” according to the Girl Scouts organization.
Kirby Hall is grateful that Sonali chose to change and enhance Kirby Hall’s music department. Not only did she paint both music and drama rooms, but she went out into the community and successfully solicited donations of musical instruments from businesses, families and individuals. She collected and donated to Kirby Hall a keyboard, violin, egg shakers, floor tom drums, bongos and a ukulele. These are instruments broaden the musical experience of Kirby students both in the immediate and in the future.
Kirby Hall is not the only recipient of Sonali’s largess. She also wrote and distributed numerous marketing materials designed to convince community members of the importance of music to early child development and overall adolescent mental health. Additionally, she created substantive musical handbooks organized by families of instruments so that her love of music will be passed on to future young learners. Sonali’s efforts to educate others on the importance of music to early childhood development will undoubtedly lead to continued donations and support of the arts.
“Kirby will always have a special place in my heart,” said Sonali. “Its close-knit family of students and faculty, curriculum of academic rigor and challenge, and welcoming community of learners and peers all contribute to Kirby’s unique character. I attended Kirby Hall School from first through eighth grade, graduating in a class of six in 2013. Those eight years spent at Kirby, the people I met there, and the experiences I had there have all had an unmistakable influence on who I am today.”
“Working with Sonali on this project was a wonderful experience,” said Kirby music and drama instructor Michelle Escuder. “She was committed to enhancing the music department at Kirby Hall in any way that she could. She worked very hard for many months, and, in the end, her vision came to life beautifully! Kirby Hall is so grateful to Sonali for all of her hard work and kindness towards our school.”
“As a shy young child, I rarely ventured out from my comfort zone to try new things,” Sonali said. “But drama and music at Kirby pushed me gently, but insistently, out of my carefully constructed shell. As an eager-to-learn young girl, I was inundated with opportunities to better my understanding of various concepts and begin my comprehension of others. Kirby was also fundamental to the development of my time-management skills, patience, and adaptability.”