Hayley Messenger

Wells Traditions, Family, and Advice: Hayley Messenger ’13

If you’re not a Wellsian, it’s hard to understand the tradition of the “Oddline/Evenline” competition and why it means so much to many students. It sounds like a simple competition between the class years that end in odd numbers versus the class years that end in even numbers. But as Hayley Messenger ’13, a dancer from Clayton, NY says, “Oddline defines my experience here.”

Last year as an Oddline Song Leader, Hayley taught parodies of popular songs to women in the Classes of 2011 and 2013. After three weeks of practicing and brownnosing judges, Hayley and her team proved triumphant in their sing-off in front of the entire school body. Her team also won the basketball competition. The men’s Evenline team won the dance-off and the men’s Oddline team won the dodgeball game.

Traditions like Oddline/Evenline are part of why Wells was appealing to Hayley, whose family members attended Wells. “I knew that the traditions gave you a special connection to other students and that there was a strong sisterhood and brotherhood bond here,” she says. “You’re really like a family. And I’ve embraced that. It means a lot to me to have this huge family.”

Hayley, who grew up in the Thousand Islands region of New York, was initially concerned about what the culture would be like at a college the size of Wells. “I went to a small high school, and there was a lot of gossiping and backstabbing. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t like that at Wells,” she says. “I’m totally comfortable here.”

Pursuing an individualized major in Education and French, Hayley completed an internship shadowing a French teacher to help confirm her career goals. She has also continued to hone her skills as a dancer by taking courses at Wells in ballet, tab, jazz, point, and modern. As a member and now co-chair of the Dance Collective, Hayley performs student-choreographed works to a packed Phipps Auditorium each year.

A Wells Peer Leader, Hayley offers these pearls of wisdom to the incoming students she advises. “Be yourself—you won’t be judged,” she says. “Also, try new things, because there are so many opportunities to explore here, and you might be surprised by what you enjoy. And make connections that will help you grow now and in the future. Find a mentor and be a mentor. There are friends, faculty, staff and alumni who have great advice and can connect you with internships and other opportunities.”