With True Courage

Marlborough and the Alumnae Council presented a special award to three women whose bravery has forever changed our school.

When Chelsea Burkett ’02 and Mikaela Gilbert-Lurie ’13 graduated from Marlborough, they likely did not imagine they would ever want to return to campus. In the summer of 2014, Mikaela publicly shared the inappropriate comments and contact she was subjected to by a predatory former teacher, an experience she had already reported to the school in 2012.

Chelsea, in support of Mikaela and ready to make her story known, came forward shortly thereafter about her horrific abuse by the same man years earlier, as did a third alumna who wishes to remain anonymous. In the months and years that followed, each woman fought a difficult and painful fight to make their voices heard, ultimately bringing a criminal to justice and making Marlborough and independent schools everywhere safer for the students in their care.

To honor the tremendous bravery and unprecedented impact that Chelsea, Mikaela, and our anonymous alumna have had on our community, all three women were recognized with the first-ever Marlborough Courage Award. Close to 150 guests, including fellow alumnae, family members, faculty, staff, Trustees, and students attended the ceremony, during which Head of School Dr. Priscilla Sands, Chelsea, and Mikaela spoke, as did Young Alumnae Council President Blythe Golay Kochsiek ’05.

In addition to the planting of a tree in the school’s Alumnae Garden, a permanent plaque was installed as a visual reminder of the courage and conviction of these remarkable women in working to change Marlborough—and the world for all women—for the better.

“Your legacy at Marlborough is our commitment to make the invisible, visible,” said Dr. Sands. “This is, I hope, a step for us all, forged in perpetuity, as a reminder of our sacred honor and duty to the children tendered to our care.”


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