Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic
Nick Romano
November 14, 2015 AT 10:34 PM EST

Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon returned to Harpeth Hall, an all-girls college prep school where she graduated in 1994, to accept an alumni award on Thursday.

“Took a stroll down memory lane,” she wrote on Instagram next to a collage of photos from her visit. “Spoke to the amazing student body about how lucky we are to be educated, free women in this world.”

 

Witherspoon accepted the 2016 Harpeth Hall/Ward-Belmont Distinguished Alumna Award, but her presence was a surprise to the kids. According to the school’s website, she took the stage to give some inspirational words to the students in attendance.

“The best advice I can give to anyone about the future is be curious,” Witherspoon said. “If you’re curious, you’ll never be bored. The world will open up to you over and over.”

 

“We are so proud of our newest Distinguished Alumna,” read a statement on the school’s Facebook page. “She is a tremendous role model to Harpeth Hall girls and young women!”

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