Interview with Hayley Hadley, Class 2020

July 4, 2023

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Hayley Headley, I am from Jamaica and I am UWCM Class of 2020. I am currently about to enter my senior year at Lake Forest, US,  where I study politics, sociology and anthropology. I am very involved in campus affairs at my college, advocating for diverse students. I am currently interning at North Lawndale College Prep in West Chicago and writing my thesis is about education with a focus on young men and boys in Jamaican public school


What have you been up to since graduation? 

When I graduated in 2020 I was really lost and confused, it was in the midst of the pandemic and like everyone else I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I remember that Ell, one of the former staff members from UWCM who is currently at UWC RBC in Freiburg, reached out to me to ask for help with some work for Critical Engagement, so I was involved in that for a while. Then I got into writing a lot of articles and social commentary and did a lot of feminist work to get some of my thoughts and anger out. Now, on the Lake Forest College campus, I am involved in developing curricular policy, this past year working on introducing new academic policies, courses and academic calendar. I am also the incoming president for the United Black Association which is exciting, I have been working with UBA since my first year at Lake Forest. was recently selected to receive the Student Lincoln Laureate Award for advocacy and leadership for my work on campus committees and with the United Black Association.

I don’t have a lot of free time but when I do get some time off I recently learned that I like crocheting and I surprisingly enjoy baking bread


Miguel, your co-year from Spain, nominated you to be interviewed to tell us how you continue living the UWC mission? Could you tell us more about the school where you are currently interning? 

I used to do equity research for the career advancement centre, looking how to better engage students of colour and neurodivergent students. Thanks to that I got to meet Jemia Cunningham-Elder the CEO of North Lawndale College Prep at an alumni networking event, we talked and we immediately clicked because of our shared passion for creating more opportunities for black students. She then offered me to join their team as an intern. In the spring, I worked on disciplinary policy and learned about all the reasons why suspension is terrible for students and all the ways that we need to learn to teach students to develop an internal sense of accountability. In the summer, now, I am working on records and preparing orientation and college visits to Lake Forest. 


What is it like to be back at a high school?

It is so different from UWCM. It is a public charter school, a non-profit school in a historically underserved community, focused on college prep. We do a lot of development activities to help students get to further education. For me, this is a really important community to be serving as a lot of students have a lot of trauma and come from complicated backgrounds which puts them at an inherent disadvantage. It is a very different environment compared to my high school experience both at home in Jamaica and at UWCM. The students here are very different from my peers in Maastricht, their life experience is very incredibly disparate. Moreover, the American education system does not push them to think and consider all the ways in which their lives outside of this classroom impact their lives within the classroom. I am really happy to be involved in this school and I am excited for the students there to experience a continuous social emotional growth thanks to all the work that all the staff there is putting into the recent policy development. 


In what other ways do you see the UWC mission in your life?

I keep showing up for my friends. And to be honest, there is nothing I like more than seeing everyone around me win. I continue to support my peers in fighting injustices and supporting them in trying to always find a way forward. So in a way, my way of living the UWC mission is always being ready for a fight with injustice


Have you stayed in touch with UWC? Have you been giving back?

As I already mentioned, I was involved with Critical Engagement which is run by UWC alumni. I stopped that but I hope to get back to it once my thesis is finished. I have also been able to support a lot of people applying to UWC via social media and I am proud that I was able to help two people to get accepted!


If other alumni want to reconnect with the UWC mission, what would you recommend them to do to reignite the UWC spark in their life? 

To reconnect, I recommend that they get in touch with one of their co-years who they know are more involved with UWC and take it from there. For “doing” more UWC, I’d tell them to identify ways to push the needle where they are and make the impact that’s in front of them after identifying what the community really needs. It is the little things that matter a lot more than we think. The most sustainable change you can make is the change right in front of you.