If you see a girl walking around the Hyde-Bath campus this week with the widest grin imaginable, chances are she’s Hailun Ni ’10. Hailun arrived three years ago, a member of the first cohort of Asian students to enroll at Hyde. She immediately established a “rep” among peers and faculty for the strongest work ethic imaginable — actually, “unimaginable” would be more accurate — matching the grin she is sporting this week. Why the grin? I suspect that it has something to do with the acceptance letter she received this week from Stanford University. MEET HAILUN

Years ago I discovered something I call the “Oh, So-That’s-What-You-Mean” phenomenon. As teachers (or parents) we might yell at our kids until we’re blue in the face as we try to push them to new heights. Hey, we might even be right. (The ultimate small consolation?) But, until they see one of their own scale the wall, we’re wasting a lot of air. Once a peer demonstrates the proof, some of them will then say, “Oh!…..So that’s what you mean.”

The opportunity to attend Stanford has long been a dream for Hailun and her family. I’ve long been proud to join with my colleagues on the Hyde faculty as we try to echo Langston Hughes’ immortal words: “Hold fast to dreams, for without them life is a broken wing that cannot fly.” But as great as Hughes was, he can sometimes lie dormant in an assignment book. Sometimes it takes a girl’s grin to bring him to life.

Onward, Malcolm Gauld