Ashley Hall Alumnae: Lives That Inspire Series
Ashley Hall Alumnae. You know who they are. They are confident, passionate about what they do, and eager to make their mark on the world. They lead lives that inspire.
With this in mind, Ashley Hall is pleased to present a year-long series that proudly showcases how alumnae continue to embody the School’s mission. Alumnae stories will be told through compelling video, brief interviews, and more extensive profile features. We celebrate and congratulate these incredible Ashley Hall women as they lead lives that inspire.
Their stories are below.
If you know an alumnae with an inspiring story to tell, please contact us at [email protected].
Meet Margaret Anne Florence Siachos '97
Margaret Anne Florence Siachos ’97 has built a diverse career as a successful actor, singer, and model in New York City. She received a B.A. in Music/Classical Voice from College of Charleston, and a Masters in Music Theatre Performance from New York University.
You may have seen Margaret Anne featured in major motion pictures including Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, My Super Ex-Girlfriend (with Rainn Wilson), and The New Daughter (with Kevin Costner), among others. She has also worked on numerous television shows including Inside Amy Schumer, 30 Rock, Nurse Jackie, and most notably starred as Marion Keisker alongside Chad Michael Murray in CMT’s television series Sun Records.
Margaret Anne has also spent time on New York and regional stages. She played the leading role of Luisa in The Fantasticks Off-Broadway for over 200 performances, among other musical productions. She can most recently be seen on Amazon Prime Video in the hit tennis comedy, First One In. She lives in Hoboken, NJ with her husband and two sons, but remains a Carolina girl at heart and returns to Charleston often to be with her family.
5 Questions with Margaret Anne Florence Siachos '97
1. What are 3 words to best describe you?
Dependable, Hard-working, Adventurous
2. How has Ashley Hall impacted you and the way you live your life?
Ashley Hall always gave me the feeling I could achieve anything that I set out to do, especially as a young woman. I think the benefit of my all-female education was that women were always the focus. Everyone would come watch the girls play sports, there were no boys to compete with. I always felt like we were important. We were never “second place” – we were the main event!
3. What is the most valuable experience or lesson you learned while at Ashley Hall?
Athletics were a huge part of my time at Ashley Hall. To this day I look back on all those practices, all those games, all that time spent with my teammates as character building. As a sophomore, I played on the Varsity Basketball team. We went undefeated the entire season, only to lose the State Championship by a few baskets. That loss taught me a lot about life and that you can work your hardest but not always come out on top.
As an actor, I live that every day. I can have 100 auditions and not get one job, but I know the only way to survive in this business is to put in the work, and never give up. Your time will come. Coincidentally, one of my favorite acting jobs was on a film called, The Mighty Macs, where I played a college basketball player! It was based on the true story of the first Women’s National Basketball Championship in 1972. All those years on the court at Ashley Hall sure came in handy!
4. Is there a cause or non-profit that you’re involved in or passionate about? Why?
When my father passed away in 2013, my family started the Terry Florence Golf Endowment through the Coastal Community Foundation. The Endowment awards college scholarships through the South Carolina Junior Golf Foundation. We host a golf tournament each year that raises money for the endowment. The only way we are able to do this is through the generosity of those who knew my father personally and professionally. It is absolutely amazing to see all the people who come out every year to support us. As a golf professional, my father was respected and loved by many people, and it is truly incredible to see how impactful his life continues to be. He would be honored to know that he is helping young people achieve their dreams. It makes you realize how much your life can affect other people.
5. What would you tell your 17-year old Ashley Hall self if you had the opportunity to do so?
I would tell her to enjoy every minute of being 17, which I think I did! I would also tell her that challenges will come at various stages in life. I think everyone is idealistic when they are young, which you should be! But, I think you need to know you will struggle, you will fail, you will have to keep going, and you can.
Meet Masheed Keshmirian Rockwell '02
Masheed Rockwell ’02 graduated from Ashley Hall, a 12-year girl, with the knowledge to carve out any career path she chose. But it was her confidence and curiosity that sparked her journey to become her own boss and CFO at Rockwell Construction where her focus is not only preserving historic properties, but building a stronger future for the Charleston community. That spark all started, in her words, at Ashley Hall: “Who I am as a person is because of where I came from.”
Meet Michaela White '14 and Maya White '17
As young women committed to serving their country, Michaela White ’14 and Maya White ’17 have excelled on their shared journey to become naval officers. Along with their sister Madeline White ’16, they are now fulfilling our School’s mission as the newest generations of Ashley Hall alumnae by leading with initiative, purpose, and vision.
Michaela and Maya’s military service creates a special connection, who were inspired by their father, a 1983 West Point graduate who served as a U.S. Army officer in Military Intelligence. As the first Ashley Hall graduate to attend the Naval Academy, Michaela is a proud representative of her Charleston alma mater and the integral values it instilled within her.
During their Naval Academy journey, both Michaela and Maya held company-level leadership positions, with Michaela serving her final year on the brigade-level as the Operations Officer for Sea Trials, and Maya serving as the Executive Officer for the 17th Company. When stationed in Norfolk as a Public Affairs Officer at the Navy Public Affairs Support Element East, Michaela applied those same leadership skills to her work, whether she was helping plan the 20th commemoration for the attack on the USS Cole (DDG -67) or aiding in VIP tours aboard the USS Gerald E Ford (CVN -78).
Lessons in Leadership at Ashley Hall
Bracing against the wind on the deck of the Roseway, Michaela White ’14 gazed steadily toward the horizon. For twelve days, she and fellow students, led by Upper School faculty member Dr. Roscoe Davis, had worked as part of the crew sailing a schooner on a 1500 mile transit from St. Croix. The capstone of Ashley Hall’s Offshore Leadership Program, the demanding open water voyage had challenged them all to push past their limits and tackle difficulties head on. Now, with Charleston slowly rising in the distance, she smiled in triumph: They had arrived.
“I did not know it then, but that experience was pivotal for me in my young life,” said Michaela. “The Offshore Leadership Program influenced my leadership skills because it forced me into scenarios that I had never been in before and that I literally could not get out of, seeing that I was stuck on a ship in the middle of the ocean. It taught me lessons such as perseverance and resilience that I do not think I could have learned in any other environment. I am beyond grateful that I was able to have an experience like that. It was the push I needed to solidify my desire to join the Navy.”
On her first day of class at the Naval Academy, Maya White ’17 entered a room filled with thirty other plebes, all of whom were male. She had spent the last seven weeks undergoing the intense physical and mental training of Plebe Summer, a stringent induction into the life of a midshipman. Now, the equally demanding academic component of her college experience was about to begin. Without hesitation, she walked to the front row and sat down. Within five minutes, she was raising her hand to answer the professor’s questions and vigorously taking notes. Exuding confidence, she was fully in her element.
“Ashley Hall made the classroom a space where I could thrive, and I haven’t looked back since,” Maya explained. “The biggest advantage I gained from graduating from Ashley Hall is my confidence. I surprise my peers every single day with my lack of hesitation in the classroom, at a conference table, and on summer training.” For both women, a deeply held belief in themselves has built a solid foundation for their ability to lead.
“Ashley Hall helped shape me into a female leader because I truly believe that it gave me the confidence to succeed based on the high frequency of interaction and participation in the classroom,” said Michaela. “All of my teachers encouraged participation, which gave me the confidence to voice my opinion or push myself out of my comfort zone to answer a question even if the answer was incorrect. It was this little push that I carried with me through college and into my professional life. I also try to make sure I provide my input while on a project even if I may be the lowest ranking person in the room.”
For both women, one of the most vital aspects of Ashley Hall’s tight-knit community was its engaging faculty members, who exhibited passion for their disciplines and a deep commitment to their students.
“By the time I reached Upper School, I was comfortable establishing relationships with my teachers, and Mrs. Allison Bowden and Dr. Claire Christensen were my biggest mentors who supported me unconditionally, both in the classroom and in life,” said Maya. “Both of these women showed me how to love my studies and do what makes me happy!” Maya later chose to major in oceanography, and she traces her choice back to growing up on the water in Charleston and the influence of those same teachers. “The math, science, and marine background I gained at Ashley Hall created my passion for all things science, especially in the ocean!” she enthused. “I challenged myself with my course load at Ashley Hall, and I trained myself to put school before other commitments. The challenging, fast-paced setting at Ashley Hall set me up for major success here in Annapolis.”
Michaela was also inspired by her teachers, both in her choice of academic path and in her broader approach to life. “I loved my International Relations class taught by Mr. Andrea Muti, who was the reason I chose political science as a major at the Naval Academy,” she said. “Senora Mahe Van Dyck was always available to talk, no matter what the topic was, whether I needed extra help with Spanish or had a life issue at hand. She was the reason behind my choosing Spanish as a minor. Dr. Roscoe Davis pushed me the most in the classroom and taught me how to stay on my toes with his popsicle stick style quizzes. Coach Gail Bailey really taught me what it meant to be a hard worker, not only on the track but also with everything in life. As my coach, she truly pushed me to be not only a better athlete but also a better leader.”