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Sarah Shaw (’20) shares her thesis story, ‘Finding Hope’

‘Finding Hope’ by Sarah Shaw

In a small town in Maine, Sarah Shaw grew up among women and their stories. She was especially fond of stories where women went on adventures, which is precisely why she was so intrigued when her great-grandmother revealed a memoir written by her sister Hope.

In the 1920s, while many women were confined to a life of domesticity, Hope traveled solo to teach at a boarding school in the Alaskan wilderness. On her two-week journey, she made friends from all over the world and even drank a few “snifters” of the captain’s gin. Hope soon met her husband George, and they stayed for ten joyous years before packing their bags for the Philippines. A few years later, with WWII on the horizon, Hope was forced to trade her comfortable expatriate lifestyle for three years in a Manila internment camp, where she endured the dire circumstances by devoting her time to teaching and organizing a school for the children.

From a young age, Sarah also yearned to see the world, and she seized every opportunity to do so, spending a decade teaching in Korea, Colombia, and Nepal. Within those years, she was exposed to new ideas, formed diverse friendships, and of course, experienced the occasional loneliness that often accompanies a transient lifestyle.

At a time of transition in her own life, Sarah revisited Hope’s memoir for guidance and inspiration, eventually traveling all the way to Manila, where their stories converge. This graphic memoir takes the reader on a journey around the world. Alternating between two distinct time periods, Sarah explores her connection to Hope through adventure, teaching, sisterhood, and friendship, emphasizing the importance of learning from our ancestors to create a brighter future.

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