Alverno’s Summer Conservatory for Middle School Girls Offers a Summer of Self-Discovery

When Lily Murphy of Broadoaks Children’s School set foot on the Alverno High School campus last summer for her first day of the Academic Conservatory for Middle School Girls, she certainly had no idea that she had just found her home for the next four years.

“I first learned about Alverno through a high school night at my school in Whittier,” said Lily Murphy ’20. “I attended the Conservatory because I liked the school and I wanted to get a feel for the atmosphere and teachers. I wanted to make sure that this high school was one where I could be happy and feel comfortable.”

According to her mother, Melanie Murphy, Lily was hooked after the first week.

“When I picked her up at the end of the first week, Lily got in the car and said ‘this is the high school for me and I will do whatever I need to do to get in’ and she did,” said Melanie. “After attending the Conservatory, she became extremely concentrated on her grades so that she could attend Alverno and we are so thrilled she is now a part of the Alverno High School Class of 2020.”

For Lily, and the other students in the Conservatory, classes started in the morning with an Algebra class geared towards preparing students for the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) and High School Placement Test (HSPT). The next classes of the day included Language Arts, which focused on the high school placement tests as well as creative writing and storytelling, and a Leadership class that pushed the girls to evaluate women’s roles in government, the media, and business.

“Seeing Lily discuss women’s empowerment and women’s issues in class really helped her grow,” said Melanie. “Her self-esteem improved as she looked differently at how women and girls were portrayed in the media and print. It opened a door for us to discuss issues from politics to magazine covers to music videos.”

Following lunch, the students attended Creative Narratives as well as Healthy Lifestyles. In Creative Narratives, students got to use their imagination, personal experience, and background to create their visual stories. In Healthy Lifestyles, students had the opportunity to engage in a range of activities that involved the world of health, including health for the mind, body and soul.

“The Creative Narratives class was my favorite class at the Conservatory,” said Lily. “I have never really enjoyed Art classes that much but Mr. Lewis found a way that made art fun to me and I really enjoyed it.”

By the end of the program, Lily was convinced that Alverno was the school for her but she was also confident in who she had grown into as a woman and the new friends she had made.

When asked if she would recommend the program to another girl, Lily didn’t hesitate.

“I would highly recommend it,” she said. “I had great fun getting to know the teachers and forming a bond with some of the girls that I keep to this day. Through the Conservatory, I got a feel of the school, the way the teachers presented their classes, and because of it I fell in love with the school.”

Her mother seconded her answer.

“We are so grateful for the wonderful experience that the Conservatory gave our daughter,” she said. “Watching her decide that this was the school for her and that she wanted to improve her grades to get there was incredible. I loved that a door was opened for us to discuss self-esteem and how women are portrayed. We would whole heartedly recommend the experience to anyone.”

There are limited spaces available for the Conservatory for Middle School Girls for summer 2016. Courses for this summer include High School Math Prep, Language Arts Advancement, Drama & Improvisation, Leadership, Creative Narratives, Culinary Arts- Chemistry in Cooking, and Online Media and Communications. For more information, please visit or contact Ms. Suzy Ares ’93 and P’17, Alverno Summer Institute Director, at

About Alverno High School

Alverno High School is an independent, progressive, Catholic, college preparatory school for young women dedicated to preparing them to function in a society as informed, knowledgeable persons, who have the requisite skills to make and implement mature decisions about complex problems. Enlivened by the spirit of its Immaculate Heart Community sponsors, and mindful of the Franciscan roots of its founders, Alverno’s program—academic, spiritual, aesthetic, social, and physical—is shaped by the staff, trustees, and students in light of the world for which the students are being educated. Alverno’s mission is to empower each young woman to be exactly the person she wants to be and since 1960, Alverno has empowered more than 3,600 women to meet that goal. For more information about Alverno High School, please call (626) 355-3463 or visit



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