For Wylly Willmott ’22, Transferring to Hutchison During Junior Year Was Worth It

Starting down a new path can be hard for anyone, especially for a high school student moving in the middle of junior year. Wylly Willmott '22 said Hutchison's welcoming atmosphere and the supportive staff both in the classroom and out made her feel at home from the start.
Wylly Willmott ’22 and her family moved to Memphis from Oregon before the start of her second semester of junior year. It was difficult to leave behind her friends and classmates of 10 years, but Wylly said coming to Hutchison was worth it. Hutchison faculty helped connect her with many students to ease her adjustment, teach her various nuances, and show her important details like how tasty the honey mustard is in the dining hall. Wylly remembers how caring her classmates were.

“Everyone genuinely wanted to get to know me and support me. They did not act like I was coming into something that was already set up,” Wylly said. “Everyone has open arms all the time.”

Wylly said she appreciated how Hutchison found ways to accommodate any differences with her previous school. For instance, she needed to complete her third credit of French, and Hutchison arranged for Wylly to finish her coursework next door at Memphis University School. She transferred into AP Biology at Hutchison but did not take it at her previous school. After feeling like she was behind during the first week, she considered dropping the class, but AP Biology teacher Mary Lee Wesberry would not let her give up. Instead, she helped Wylly catch up by providing resources and support. Wylly said she is thankful that Mrs. Wesberry believed in her.

Wylly quickly found her place at Hutchison through athletics and student media. She played three varsity sports this school year: soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. She also served as the creative director for Signpost Magazine, for which she has produced videos highlighting important moments of the school year. Throughout this, she continued to prove herself (or her academic prowess) in the classroom and was named a National Merit Finalist this year.

According to Wylly, Hutchison has an abundance of school spirit compared to schools in the Pacific Northwest. She said she has a unique perspective coming from a co-ed school to an all-girls school in the middle of high school. She said students are more engaged and respectful at Hutchison. She also noticed the school’s attention to girls’ specific needs, especially when it comes to athletics.

“At my old school, we would have seven or eight ACL tears a year, and at Hutchison, we have not had any because everything is focused on girls being safe, healthy, and successful in whatever sport they’re playing,” Wylly said.

She also realized the level of play of her teammates has been higher at Hutchison, and she has enjoyed learning from the athletes around her. Specifically, she benefited from the rigor of the basketball program, run by Coach Thomas Jones.

“I learned how much I can give and what I am capable of,” Wylly said.

Her goal is to play lacrosse as a walk-on in college. As a midfielder, she plays both offense and defense and likes being a part of all of the action. 

“There are a lot of specialized parts of lacrosse, and I like getting to do it all,” Wylly said.

After Hutchison’s 2021 season, Wylly was named to the Tennessee Girls Lacrosse Association All-State team.

However, she had to shift gears earlier in the school year. She missed most of the soccer season because of hip surgery, but she found a new passion: videography. She wanted to bring more school spirit to the televisions in the upper school, so she made it happen: she filmed and edited highlight videos from sporting events and school traditions such as Black and Gold Week.

To get up to speed, she reached out to Lacey Hudman, Upper School Digital Media and Film Teacher, who taught her how to use video equipment and editing software. She also met with Caroline Schaefer, Assistant Athletic Director for Student Athletic Experience, who served as inspiration via her work on the Hutchison Sting Instagram account. Wylly had prior experience writing for the newspaper at her previous school, but she learned new skills and developed a stronger love of storytelling. She is grateful for Mrs. Hudman and Coach Schaefer’s guidance and encouragement. She hopes younger students will use this as inspiration to pursue their own ideas.

“If you have a new idea for something, stick with it and reach out to people. No one will ever shut you down within the Hutchison community. If you’re passionate about something, you can make it happen,” Wylly said.
Wylly will attend the University of Virginia in the fall. She plans to major in English and minor in public policy and leadership. She credits Hutchison teachers in preparing her for college, from the fact- and inquiry-based history program to the English classes for which they were expected to read a book a week. Attending Hutchison also helped Wylly improve her time management: “You’re solely responsible for meeting all of your commitments. Hutchison does a good job of making us learn that for ourselves and not mapping out every second of our day.”

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