A letter from the editor to the alumnae


Lexy Sullivan, Editor-In-Chief

As the editor in chief of the print edition of Inkwell, I feel that is my responsibility to respond to the way that Inkwell has been impacted by the actions of some alumnae. Let me preface this opinion piece by recognizing that I am speaking first and foremost as the editor of the Upper School newspaper. Secondly, I am speaking as an Upper School student. Finally, I am writing as a young woman in an extremely controversial situation. Normally, I wouldn’t even address the fact that I am the daughter of the Head of Schools, as it is irrelevant to my role in Inkwell. Unfortunately, it is important for me to bring this up because I have been attacked for it.

If you know me, you know that I have strong opinions and am not afraid to voice them. I have disagreed with my dad on numerous occasions, and I do not suppress these opinions for any reason, especially political or job-related ones. I certainly do not ask my amazing Inkwell team to suppress their opinions for any reason. I believe strongly in the First Amendment, and there is no place for corruption in Inkwell (to be honest, I can’t believe I even have to say this, but in response to some recent criticism from alumnae, it is very relevant).

In order for everybody to understand why I am writing this article, I am going to include some recent posts to the Annie Wright Alumni Association Facebook group about Inkwell. Inkwell welcomes and is grateful for any readership, yet it seems as though a collection of comments have crossed a line.

In order to fully understand why the alumnae have been criticizing Inkwell, please read our editorial about the boys’ school here. I hope our goal of being respectful and reasonable was achieved. I also hope that you can respect the opinions of the Inkwell editors even if they don’t align with your own, as this was an editorial. Members of Inkwell differ on their positions on the boys’ school, but we all agree that this situation has been blown way out of proportion. See some alumnae’s comments below:

Kelly Donahue: “Has the Inkwell staff been drugged? No, I’m serious. Has someone tainted their lunch food with hallucinatory drugs? No one in their right mind who values the all girls traditions or 133 years of an all female upper school would write such a thing. They say boys have always been a part of AWS. Well yes, the LS and MS boys have been on our campus for a very long time, but the upper school has always been all girls. No Boys. Also, they say that the sisterhood need not be impacted, but, OF COURSE it will be! Are they in denial? I really would like the Inkwell staff to get their blood checked to make sure they weren’t roofied before going to print with this appalling crazy story. Please someone save those girls!!!”

No, we have not been drugged. I’m serious. Our lunch food has not been tainted with hallucinatory drugs. We do value the all girls traditions and are proud to be Annie Wright students. Change is good. Change is inevitable. We are not in denial, and we are not going to get our blood checked because I can assure you, none of us were roofied. We are proud of this “appalling crazy story” and do not need saving.

Laurie Hickey: “If I am remembering what I read somewhere, the Inkwell editor and faculty advisor are both related to CS.”

Yes, this is true, and while I don’t advertise it, I am not ashamed of it. My mother has a master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University and is very qualified to run Inkwell. I am passionate about advocacy, truth, and the press, and have been an editor on Inkwell since before my mother was the advisor. Neither of us would allow for Inkwell to censor our editors’ opinions or publish statements based on what the administration wants.

Mary Ann Ball Allen: “I would like to thank the students and advisor of the Inkwell for the demeaning, degrading and derogatory article pointed at those of us working to preserve the original purpose of the all girl education…I find it sad that, so soon after Founder’s Day, this publication could be so dismissive of the alumnae and the history of the female education that has been the foundation of our school’s 133 year existence. To have our concerns about the extreme changes planned for AWS compared to an argument over hair color is shocking. And any adult advisor that would overlook this or condone it is even more shocking. Individual thought and mature interaction is what I was taught here, amongst other things. Perhaps that has been lost with an all male administration imposing a male dominated agenda in what is supposed to be an all girls school.”

We did not mean to be demeaning, degrading, or derogatory at all towards the alumnae, and apologize if it came across that way. The “argument” over hair color was very controversial and divisive, and for this reason we compared the two. We also compared the two issues because within the student body, upper schoolers were more vocal and upset about the inability to express themselves through hair color than the addition of an upper school for boys. We are also taught individual thought and mature interaction, which is what we are trying to express through Inkwell. Furthermore, the administration is not all male (Susan Bauska, Mary Sigmen, Annie Green, etc.)

These comments are harmful and my amazing Inkwell team is deeply upset by them. Not only were we shocked and offended, but also we were confused. Are we not the very girls that this group is trying to protect? Why are they degrading our opinions and trying to stifle our voice?

I am now speaking directly to the alumnae who are posting mean comments, criticizing my family and making false allegations. You are impeding our education and stifling our opinions. Just because our opinions don’t align with yours does not render them invalid. There are definitely Upper School students who agree with your mission, but just because Inkwell believes that Annie Wright should educate upper school boys doesn’t mean that you should attack us. The Inkwell team worked hard to create a video in which Upper School students were featured, expressing how they feel about the addition of an Annie Wright Upper School for boys. The students were eloquent and shared their wide range of opinions. In the end, however, we did not publish the video because we were worried that alumnae would bully the girls who said they didn’t care about the addition of the boys’ school or were in favor of it.

As I mentioned earlier, I highly respect the First Amendment. Some of the freedoms included in this amendment are the freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom to petition, and freedom of the press. I am not calling for the Alumnae Action Group, which is dedicated to keeping the Upper School all girls, to disband. I respect that you are voicing your opinions, coming together for a common cause, and fighting for young women. I respect your freedom of speech. I respect your freedom to assemble. I respect your freedom to petition. All I ask is that you respect us. The end game should not be to attack student journalists or make young boys feel bad about themselves. Instead of impeding our education, please work civilly with the school to protect the place you claim to love so much. Thank you for taking us seriously and respecting us.


Lexy Sullivan

Editor-in-Chief, Yellow Tie senior at AWS, and yes, Mr. Sullivan’s daughter