Jane Hawthorne '16 began teaching in New Orleans, LA as a way to give back to the city that welcomed her as a Tulane University student. It didn’t take long for her to fall in love with the profession, or to become inspired by the people and arts community that surrounded her.
Now a resident of Austin, TX, Hawthorne is both a Montessori school teacher and freelance digital artist.
“My time at Chatham Hall instilled in me a confidence and independence that have helped me to grow into the person I am today,” she says. “My decision to attend boarding school far away from home took a sense of courage and self-assuredness that I still draw from today, and I feel so fortunate to have found a home in Chatham Hall where I found and grew into myself unapologetically.”
While art has been a part of Hawthorne’s life for a long time, it was until the global COVID-19 pandemic that she pushed herself to professionalize her work. She built a website, shop, and social media platforms and received overwhelming support.
“As I continue to share my work, I’ve found myself surrounded by communities of artists and mentors who uplift and inspire me to keep creating,” Hawthorne says. “I’m excited to dive into the arts community in my new home and have already found so much joy in connecting with other creatives living and working here. As I’ve grown into my career as an artist, I’ve found that art and community go hand in hand, and I’m so happy to be able to bond with people through my work in ways that feel meaningful.”
This sense of community is reminiscent of Hawthorne’s time at Chatham Hall during which Ms. Cathy “La” LaDuke was her Advisor.
“I was lucky enough to have La as my advisor for all four years of my time at Chatham Hall,” she notes. “She honored my independence while modeling a strong sense of integrity and reverence for tradition that I carry with me today. While I miss our advisory time and traditions at table eighteen, I’m so glad that we still keep in touch regularly. I’m grateful to have a lifelong mentor and friend in La!”
Aside from teaching and creating art, Hawthorne enjoys reading, hiking, and exploring the outdoors. Coming to know her own interests was a signature part of her Chatham Hall experience; one she encourages today’s students to embrace.
“Don’t be afraid to really lean into who you are and what appeals to you and surround yourself with people who encourage you to grow and expand. Stand up for one another and what you believe in and find strength in the community that you build. I felt so lucky as a student to have found a community at Chatham where I felt that I could grow into myself without fear of judgment. I’m now grateful that this same community still supports and uplifts me and the work that I do today.”