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August 2008 Archives

Myron Rolle displays a rare combination of drive, insight, work ethic, achievement and innate ability. Out of The Hun School of Princeton, Rolle chose to attend Florida State University on a full football scholarship. Academics weighed heavily on his decision to go to Florida State. The school offered him the opportunity for an accelerated program in a pre-med track.

I've never heard of another potential scholarship athlete who met with the university president on his admission visit.

He's now on track to finish early (in 2 1/2 years), apply for a Rhodes Scholarship and prepare for medical school. Or, graduate and enter the National Football League draft where he is projected as a first round pick.

Defer the dream of becoming an MD to play professional football?

As he tells's Stewart Mandel, "I sort of fell in love with that profession (MD) and had my mind set that I wanted to do (pre-med) while still playing football," said Rolle. "Everything I did in high school built up to where I'm at now."

These decisions will come during and after the fall as he works hard to return FSU football to national prominence.

Rolle's inside view of Florida State football for the New York Times provides a peek into the life of a division I football player and the ways of a major college program.
We write so often about boarding schools and boarding students that we lose sight that almost every boarding school has a day student component and that day students make significant contributions to boarding school life. In some ways, day student participation and contribution comes at some personal sacrifice. Transitioning to a boarding community takes them into a new setting away from friends with whom they may have grown-up and known since kindergarten. It's just plain tough to change school and shift priorities and friendships without moving.

Three students recently talked with the Monadnock Ledger about their opportunities, growth and successes as day students at Cushing Academy commuting daily from Rindge, NH. Alexa Barry and Breandan and Kara Garland have found athletic success and great opportunities at Cushing and believe that change and sacrifice of leaving their comfort zone has broadened their world and opportunities.
Students of Scattergood Friends School in West Branch, Iowa may be some the luckiest I know. They get to work with their hands, practice self-sufficiency and contribute to the local economy. With pasture, restored prairie, fields of corn and soy and a dedicated organic garden, Scattergood produces about one-half of its annual food needs selling summer surplus through a local cooperative.

Living a commitment to social justice, the Scattergood farm practices sustainable, responsible agriculture with minimal processing and a commitment to working the farm as large biotic system. All Scattergood Friends students participate in the maintenance and working of the farm.

The Gazette Online published a short article about the Scattergood Friends farm. It's worth a read.
It's great to see a small school with a tightly focused mission reach such a milestone. Brenau Academy's longevity is testament to its foundation and unwavering commitment to women as bright, engaging, leaders.

An extension of Brenau University, the Academy enrolls approximately 50 girls in its 9-PG program and notes a long line line of accomplished alumnae.

To read a brief article about Brenau's 80th year, visit:

Visit Brenau's web site at:
Gilmour Academy (Gates Mills, Ohio) celebrated two National Forensic League champions this past June. Gilmour seniors, Nathan Blevins and Rachel Kenney won first place in their events. Blevins took home the top trophy in Student Congress. Kenney reading Katharine Hepburn's "Me: Stories of My Life" won the prize in Prose Interpretation as well as the the Jefferson plaque in the Humorous Interpretation event. This fall Kenney will attend Northwestern University and Blevins will attend Yale.

Only one other school in the nation- Newton North (MA), enjoyed two national champions in this year's competition.

To read more about Gilmour and it's students visit their site.

If you're unfamiliar with the National Forensic League and its programs, we certainly urge you to learn more.
Turns out the reading and teach of boarding school books isn't just an American thing. We always felt so special in A Separate Peace and A Catcher in the Rye. Turns our we're not alone. American boarding schools come from an English model and it makes sense that English writers will have their take on the experience and genre.

Sara Ebner recently assembled "The 25 Best Boarding School Books" for The Times (London). From the American perspective, The Catcher in the Rye comes in at 25th on the list and A Separate Peace doesn't rate. In a larger sense, I had forgotten how many boarding school books there are.

Take a look at Ebner's list and its discussion board; both are interesting and entertaining.
A friend of ours recently sent us an article by Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News. Gosselin's piece, "Hargrave Military Academy has prepped plenty for NFL" (published April 10, 2008) focuses on the success, meaning, and importance of Hargrave Military Academy's post-graduate program to high caliber athletes- many of whom have gone on to professional athletic careers.

Like many PG programs, Hargrave works to instill structure into its students' routines, improve grades and test scores and provide an extra year of athletic maturation.

As Dallas Maverick's forward Josh Howard told Gosselin,

"You had to have your priorities straight," said Howard of his experience at Hargrave. "It was the only way they'd take you. It taught you discipline -- taking care of what you need to take care of to get to the next level. You learn how to do everything in a timely fashion."

The Hargrave PG year- like most PG programs- is a concentrated year of maturation in all facets of the student's life.

We've written extensively about the post graduate year; our work goes beyond the athletic prost graduate. To learn more about a PG Year- what and why, read our article "A Post Graduate Year; what's that?"

We found a school where "it" really is in the water-  The Bolles School (Jacksonville, FL). Bolles has ten current student or alumni and four coaches swimming and coaching for twelve countries in Beijing. Bolles has a long history of Olympic swimmers noting that 76 Bolles students and alumni competed in the games through 2004.

Bolles maintains a blog following their alumni swimmers throughout the games:

You can read more about the Bolles to Beijing connection on their main school site.
Everyone's proud of their Olympians and boarding school alma maters are no exception. For fun, we took a few minutes to find as many boarding school athletes as we could competing in the Beijing 2008 games. We never cease to be amazed at the places and realms in which boarding school alumni participate.

Here's our list. We don't advertise it as exhaustive; if we've left someone out, add them to the comments section. Click the links to read their biographies and accomplishments.

Brentwood College School
Connor Grimes (field hockey),
Scott Frandsen (rowing), and Malcolm Howard (rowing)

Brooks School
Elle Logan (Rowing, women's eight)

Choate Rosemary Hall
Jamie Schroeder (rowing)

Kimball Union Academy
Andrew Wheating (track & field)

Peddie School
Peter Park (youth camp ambassador)

Salisbury School
Elliot Hovey (rowing)

Worcester Academy
Wes Piermarini (rowing)

Photo Credit: Marc van der Chijs
Red Bennett's first opera "What They Seem" premiered at the Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco this past weekend. At 18, Bennett is an accomplished and seasoned musician whose talents already move through and across music genres. Especially interesting was his move to Interlochen Arts Academy. Red attended Interlochen's summer session in 2007 and stayed for the 2007-2008 school year program (his senior year).

We recently wrote about the three pre-professional arts boarding schools; Red is a quite an example of the talents and seriousness of their students. As Red told the San Francisco Chronicle, "Just as long as I'm writing and working with music," he said. "It's definitely a rest-of-my-life kind of thing."

Visit the Chronicle's site to listen to an audio snippet of "What They Seem."
While researching the previous post (St. Timothy's School: North America's only all-girls boarding school offering the IB), I found an interesting release regarding IB programs worldwide. Like any evolving framework or system (the IB is only about 40 years old), the IB has been defined by two competing groups. Think Betamax versus VHS; Blu-ray versus HD DVD. Organizations that have the same goals but different perspectives and systems for reaching the goals.

In the case of the IB, the IB North America Board (IBNA) and the International Baccalaureate found themselves competing for influence of North American IB programs. For the good of all and in support of a consistent definitions and standards, the IB North America Board (IBNA) and the International Baccalaureate have agreed to merge providing the IB with a single unified governing body.

This can only be good news if you study or work under the IB framework.

Visit to read more about the IB.
St. Timothy's School in Stevenson, MD graduated its first class of International Baccalaureate students this past spring. The IB program is an international program of rigorous coursework and achievement. Students completing the IB program demonstrate the skills and intellectual tools necessary for acceptance into worldwide higher education. Beyond direct educational achievement, IB students also gain exposure to broad intellectual perspectives and ideas.

Accreditation to the IB program demonstrates commitment to a strong, wide ranging curriculum. St. Timothy's is the only all-girls boarding school in the United States offering the IB.

St. Timothy's website has more information about their IB program.

The Admission Process- we've been explaining, writing, and stressing the 'admission process' concept for years. While our references and timelines are all written, we just found a set of video vignettes that present the admission process systematically along with some thoughtful commentary.

In his video series, Andrew Battaile, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at Gonzaga College High School (Washington, DC), takes prospective families through the considerations of a private school education and the accompanying admission process. This series provides a nice foundation from which a family can begin considering and planning possible private school applications.

We're a certified member of choir on these questions and issues. This is a nice opportunity to see and hear the topics and their associated considerations from a director inside the system. The one below tackles " Finding the Right Private High School for You."

You might also want to take a look at our material in AQ's prep school articles library.
The value of education often surfaces in trends and comes connected to economics. Learn more; earn more. We hear this so often that we tune it out or it becomes a background din.

Every once-and-a-while, I like the good, old-school "education makes a personal difference" story. I know these personal anecdotes or narratives aren't statistically representative; but, you can't underestimate the power of hard work and personal perseverance. One such story from the Austin Weekly News came across the wire this weekend: KIPP students heading to boarding schools

Brother and sister Darrionna and Darnell Barnes will enter Phillips Exeter Academy and Northfield Mount Hermon School respectively after completing the program at KIPP Ascend Charter School in Austin.

Their mom Catece Sanders wholly endorses the kids' drive and the opportunities of boarding life.

"I'm not nervous at all," she said. "They (schools visited) made me feel so comfortable that I could have left them there the same day. They were very attentive to our needs. I did not know what to expect but had expectations."

Her kids actually wanted to go to a boarding school and came to her with the idea. Sanders left it up to them to do the academic part while she researched the schools.

"Boarding schools also teach students that the sky is the limit," she said. "They teach them to be leaders."

If you're unfamiliar with the KIPP Program, please learn more about it. It's once of the great successes of education deregulation and charter schools.

From the KIPP website:

Welcome to KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program!

Who we are. KIPP is a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life. There are currently 65 KIPP schools in 19 states and the District of Columbia serving over 16,000 students.

What we do. KIPP builds a partnership among parents, students, and teachers that puts learning first. By providing outstanding educators, more time in school learning, and a strong culture of achievement, KIPP is helping all students climb the mountain to college.

Why it matters. Every day, KIPP students across the nation are proving that demography does not define destiny. Eighty percent of our students are low-income, and 90 percent are African American or Latino. Nationally, more than 90 percent of KIPP middle school students have gone on to college-preparatory high schools, and more than 80 percent of KIPP alumni have gone on to college.

Visit to learn more.
Family travels took us to New England last week and I had the opportunity to pay three boarding schools quick visits. Thoughts and observations:

South Kent School
I spent the most time at South Kent School. I've always enjoyed the feeling of the SKS campus- as s member of opposing teams playing SKS teams and as an adult. It's a small boys school that remains dedicated to boys education and the campus has always had a warm familial feel. I got to talk to Rich Brande, the school's admission director. I asked few questions and got an update on SKS today.

The most interesting things I learned about at SKS are their third form (9th grade) and fourth form (10th grade) programs. Each form operates under a formal title with a specific set of goals; third form- A Sense of Place: Community and Belonging; fourth form The Quest- Coming of age. Each form program is team taught integrating subject matters and methods.

The Marvelwood School
Pouring rain limited our view to a drive around the Marvlewood campus. My wife- who lived on this campus when it was the Kent School girls campus- noticed Marvelwood's new gym- the Anne Davidson Scott Athletic Facility. We didn't get a chance to go inside, but it appears quite nice.

You can learn more about Marvelwood's new athletic facility by visiting the school's site.

Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School
As long time members of the Wolfeboro family, we spent good parts of two days on campus. I never cease to be amazed by how well the school maintains and upholds it's structured days. Three sit-down meals, classes, activities, and homework six days a week provide innumerable lessons for students. We ate three meals with students in the dining room. Students and faculty seemed pleased with their summer's work.

Checkout AQ's New England boarding schools list for a complete run down of all of the schools in the region.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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