St. George’s School blends the strong traditions of its past with a bold vision for the future: to prepare young people in a journey of joy and discovery to lead “lives of constructive service to the world.” Located on a 125-acre campus overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, St. George’s is home to 370 boarding and day students in grades 9 through 12. Founded in 1896 as an Episcopal boarding school by the Rev. John Byron Diman, the school lives firmly in the 21st century, with state-of-the-art academic and athletic facilities. A community drawn from a wide range of traditions and backgrounds in the U.S. and around the world, St. George’s extends opportunities for teachers and students to deepen their skills, find new passions and discover their best selves, whether that be in a DNA sequencing lab, in competition on the basketball court, at sea navigating by starlight, or abroad in one of our unique service-learning internships. With a faculty committed to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for intellectual, social and personal development, St. George’s continues to fulfill its mission through enrolling a diverse, academically talented, and well-rounded student body.
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For Afghanistan-born Zahra Arabzada ’15, running isn’t just an outlet for exercise; it’s an outlet for activism.
As part of an effort to encourage other Muslim women to pursue a healthy lifestyle and to challenge misconceptions of Muslims by other groups, Zahra is spending her summer training for a 38-mile road race in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on Sept. 16.
“One of the biggest realizations I have had in life was hearing and truly accepting that women are actually capable of running or having the same rights as men,” said Zahra, now a student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Recently she joined the Afghanistan-based Free to Run (F2R) organization, whose mission is “to use running, physical fitness and outdoor adventure to empower and educate women and girls who have been affected by conflict.”
The idea to encourage other Hijabi women to exercise has been on Zahra’s mind ever since she started running as a sixth-former on the St. George’s cross-country team. A college fellowship is helping her realize her dream. This year Zahra was one of just two students to receive the Cohen Fellowship from the Centennial Leadership Center at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. “The fellowship is basically a way for me to work on my own project, which I have been thinking about and designing since I started running at SG,” she said.
She has three objectives for the project: to maintain a blog about her training, to speak at various sports clubs and events, and to work with organizations within her hometown of Konduz in northern Afghanistan.
Zahra came to St. George’s after having attended the School of Leadership Afghanistan in Kabul, which was created to promote gender equality in the nation. Through the school she connected with Marian Smith ’76 and began to think about attending boarding school in the United States. Her early schooling was kept a secret from neighbors in her hometown – as well as many of her relatives because Afghan girls are discouraged from pursuing a formal education.
“Running is a means to address some of the topics that are hard to address — and will make the conversation easier,” she said.
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St. George’s School admits qualified students of any religion, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, or mental or physical disability to all the programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. The school does not discriminate on the basis of religion, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, mental or physical disability, or any other status protected by applicable law in the administration of its educational policies, admissions, scholarship and loan programs, or athletic and other policies and programs.