Champion rower and aspiring entertainer has high hopes


Credit: Hope Weisman

Hope Weisman (front row, center) competes in the Mercer Lake Sprints in West Windsor, NJ.

It’s 5:30 a.m. While most Hackley students are either still sleeping or just starting their days, senior Hope Weisman is already lifting weights or doing her cardio workout. Over the course of one day, Hope will row a 2k sprint, attend classes at Hackley, write a portion of the screenplay for a TV show, and bring smiles and laughter to everyone she sees.

One of Hope’s greatest talents lies in rowing, a sport she started in 8th grade. After rowing in Pelham, she realized that rowing was a sport in which she can reach her full potential, and joined the Saugatuck Rowing Club in Westport, CT. “I was a small fish in a big pond,” Hope chuckled. Immediately feeling at home with members on the team, she saw them as a dynamic and reliable group, where everyone is supportive of each other. Hope also saw joining Saugatuck as an indication that she could progress — the club is currently ranked among the top rowing clubs in the country, and rowers compete in large races such as the Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, MA and the San Diego Crew Classic. Hope is working towards being in her club’s first boat this spring; comprised of the best rowers, the boat also includes a world record holder.

In addition to rowing, Hope has always exhibited a strong interest in stand-up comedy. Many members of the Class of 2017 gained a first-hand experience of Hope’s humor during Field Day last year, where she gave a rather comical speech about smiling and making jokes to the whole grade. “I remember that wanting to be a funny moment, and I just couldn’t pull myself together,” she reflected. Hope sees many intersections between her instances of comedy and her time in the boat. “So much of rowing is having a positive attitude, because it is such a mundane and monotonous sport,” Hope said. She loves making the other people on her team feel happy, and draws a parallel between the feeling when she crosses the finish line and making a whole room of people laugh. In either situation, “you realize you’ve done something to make them a little happier or impacted their day in some way,” Hope added.

At Hackley, Hope has taken her passion for acting and comedy to new heights through her independent study. Working with English teacher Wil Lobko and fellow senior Izzy Ampil, Hope is building upon her creative writing expertise by writing a pilot season of TV show. Somehow [Izzy and I] can swap and give each other perfect comments on our work, so it was nice to have the opportunity to work with her,” she noted. Hope’s TV show focuses on an old man who comes out retirement and create a new social media website; she currently has three episodes written and hopes to get to nine by the end of the school year. “Mr. Lobko has a lot of patience for me, and has been so supportive,” Hope commented.

With all of these activities, Hope strikes a perfect balance between academics, athletics, and everything in between. Coming home late from practice, she often must squeeze in her seemingly endless amount of homework into the wee hours of the morning. “It’s hard to balance everything, but it’s also a lot of stuff I enjoy doing, which makes it a little easier,” Hope explained. A structured schedule helps her maximize her productivity, as she will often get up early to workout before school. “Rowing is a relaxing part of my day, but the hardest part is the commute,” she mentioned. From her house, she must drive 1.5 hours each way to rowing practice, often caught in the rush hour traffic on I-95 and arriving home as late as 9:30 p.m.

In the future, Hope expects to continue her trifecta of rowing, screenwriting and comedy at Columbia University, intending to major in film with a possible minor in creative writing. “I definitely plan to row in college, as there is definitely room to grow,” she said. In addition, Hope anticipates joining a comedy club. “The girls on my team really like my humor,” she laughed. The Hackley community is clearly in the same boat.