Once A St. Mary's Girl...

Peggy Wilson Lawrence didn’t graduate from St. Mary’s, but you couldn’t tell that to Lawrence or any of her classmates from the class of 1973, who consider her a fellow alumna.

Lawrence and her older sister spent their formative years at St. Mary’s. Lawrence attended the school from kindergarten through sixth grade and remained close to her classmates as she progressed through junior high and high school. She remains grateful for her time at St. Mary’s and the friendships that began there.

“I am still so connected to them today. Those are the friendships that I hold the dearest,” she said.

Lawrence also adds that she is grateful for the academic foundation that St. Mary’s provided her. Lawrence shared that “at St. Mary’s, I learned something in every single grade—something that has remained with me and been instrumental in further developing my gifts.”

Lawrence thanks former Kindergarten Teacher Maxine Stevens for unlocking her musical ability, former First Grade Teacher Gilmore Lynn for fostering a love of books and reading, former Second Grade Teacher Shelley Fraser for emphasizing the importance of phonics, former Middle School Math Teacher Carolyn Parrish for encouraging her to be analytical, daily Chapel with Dr. Eric Greenwood for providing a strong foundation for her relationship with the Lord, and many more.

“All my St. Mary’s teachers played an important part in leading me to purposes that I have pursued in my life,” she said.

Lawrence relied on the knowledge and skills she gained at St. Mary’s when she attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and launched a successful career in investor relations and corporate communications for publicly traded companies. She eventually settled in Nashville, TN. Now retired, Lawrence is focused on writing her memoir and reigniting a love of writing that began at St. Mary’s.

Writing her memoir required Lawrence to spend time reflecting on her life.

“I encourage everyone to think about the people and places in your life that contributed to who you are today and are a big part of your story,” she said.

Looking back, Lawrence was incredibly grateful for all her parents did to send her and her sister to St. Mary’s. She recalled that while cleaning out her parents’ attic, she came across financial documents, including a bill for tuition. “I realized my parents made many sacrifices for us and never complained about it. But what if they couldn’t do that for us? What if there was a girl who really needed the education and environment at St. Mary’s and couldn’t afford it?”

Lawrence considered how much St. Mary’s was a part of her story and was inspired to give to the place that gave her so much. She decided to include St. Mary’s in her estate plans, becoming a member of the Margaret R. Hyde Society. “If I can do something to support someone else, I want to do that because I know how much it meant to have that provided for me,” she shared.

Lawrence hopes her gift will help provide the St. Mary’s experience to any girl who needs it. “

I hope that every girl of every age will find a safe haven at St. Mary’s—that St. Mary’s continues to grow as a place where girls can explore and develop their gifts,” she said. “When our girls step out of the haven, they can serve the world with confidence, a strong spiritual scaffolding, and the courage of their convictions.”

Join the Margaret R. Hyde Society and make a lasting gift to St. Mary’s

We invite you to join the Margaret R. Hyde Society and further the mission of St. Mary’s with a future gift through your will and other estate plans. By including St. Mary’s in your estate plans, you can ensure future generations of girls reach their full potential.

Named in memory of Margaret Ruffin “Teeter” Hyde, this distinguished group recognizes alumnae, former teachers and staff, and friends of the school who are devoted supporters of St. Mary’s like her.

The generosity of members of the Margaret R. Hyde Society ensures that St. Mary’s will make a difference in the lives of girls for years to come. For more information or to discuss how you can make a lasting impact, please contact Director of Philanthropy Carrie Vaughan at (901) 537-1424. If you have already included St. Mary’s in your plans, please let us know so we may show our appreciation.

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