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Thinking Spring on a Snowy March Morning: A Quick Look at a Southern Boarding School

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Like so many in the Northeast, I woke up this morning to another foot of snow and whole lot of shoveling. So now that I'm at my desk and editing an article on Southern boarding schools (and envious that it's the beginning of Spring for schools in the South), I thought I'd warm things up a bit with a shot from St. Andrew's School in Boca Raton, FL. Got to love being able to go school in shorts year round.

If you're not familiar with St. Andrew's, it's "an Episcopal School founded in 1962. It is a nationally recognized K-12 day and boarding college preparatory school." Visit the school's site to learn more.

Think Spring everyone. We're almost there.
Jurist Levin Campbell retires at the end of the month after serving 40 years on Massachusetts and Federal benches. Certainly a fair minded and famously even handed judge, it's Mr. Campbell's relationship with Asheville School that brings this to our attention.  

Asheville recently joined the Twitter conversation and they 'tweeted'- a real time, 140 characters maximum post-  to their subscribers telling them the news. Tweets appear on the user's profile page and go to those signed up to receive their updates.

These short notes get the big picture out and allow users to follow-up later at their leisure. In Asheville's case, or, for any group, it's a quick, direct way to send the news and keep the community connected and talking.

If you haven't, checkout AdmissionsQuest's Twitter feed. It's a terrific way to keep up with the latest happenings at AQ.

Learn more about Mr. Campbell by reading the Boston Globe's "A Man of Honor."

Fork Union Military Academy Receives $10.1 Million Cash Donation

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With it's largest enrollment in years (approximately 500 students), Fork Union Military Academy is beginning construction on a new dormitory for upper school students. To be named Jacobson Hall in honor of Jerry and Laura Jacobson of Sugarcreek, Ohio, the  three-story building- almost 100,000 square feet- will have 250 two-man rooms and be almost double the size of current facilities.

FUMA began fundraising appeals for the project back in September; by December, slow donations put the project into question. Then, the Jacobsons- parents of two FUMA students- made the largest ever cash contribution to the school, $10.1 million.

As Jerry Jacobson told the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

'It was just a heartfelt thing I wanted to do to help the future generations of young men in the country.  It was hopefully a building block to help keep Fork Union up and going for many years in the future."

Faculty at the nation's only predominately African-American boarding school have taken an across the board 2% pay cut to help the school maintain its mission and program in the face shrinking giving and budget cuts. School president Reginald Nichols has taken a 5% pay cut.  We advocated this measure over layoffs in a post on our school marketing blog last week.

While faculty pay cuts help maintain curriculum and programs, these pay cuts alone cannot bring the school's revenues and expenditures into balance. Piney Woods still had to lay-off 20 of the school's 105 employees from support and ancillary positions.

In the face of tight annual fund giving, Piney Woods continues soliciting donors and is working to raise $11 million over the next two years as part of a capital campaign.

Piney Woods is near and dear to our hearts here in Mississippi; we've had friends and colleagues who teach and coach at the school. Here's Baltimore's Ty'nae Pinkney's- a 17 year old senior and aspiring lawyer- exchange with the Jackson Clarion-Ledger (The Clarion-Ledger article also includes a brief history of Piney-Woods.):

"Where I live, there is a lot of violence, a lot of bad influences," Pinkney says. "This is a peaceful place where I can grow, not only in the classroom but outside it."

Like all seniors are required to do, Pinkney is serving at least 450 hours of community service through AmeriCorps. Piney Woods is the only high school in the country to offer an AmeriCorps program.

She helps tutor elementary students in Bridgeport, Conn., via a weekly video conference over the Internet. She assists an after-school program for students in Mendenhall (MS).

Says Pinkney: "Dr. Nichols is always telling us, 'If you can't be a star, then be a little tree on the side of the road. But whatever you can be, be the best you can be.' "

Piney Woods gives like few other schools. Visit the school's web site to learn more:

Happenings at Asheville School

Part of my social media workshop with the Asheville School, a coed boarding school in Asheville, NC, will result in the production of an episode of AQ's Boarding School Podcast.

I'll take the group through the basics of preparation and production, but before coming to campus I asked the school's Director of Admission to send me a list of happenings at Asheville. There's lots of great stuff (see the list below) and one of them will serve as the topic for our podcast conversation. I hope to post it to the site next week- stay tuned.

I"ll keep you up to date on how the winnowing of topics and production progresses. Until then, checkout the list below and give the folks at Asheville a shout to learn more about the school.

Happenings at Asheville School
  1. Civil Rights Day ( teacher organized day of speakers and seminars)

  2. Frank DeFord coming to campus (prominent sports writer)

  3. The Shakespeare troupe coming to campus to perform As You Like It

  4. The trustee meeting next weekend (setting tuitions)

  5. Sandy London coming to campus (world hunger and child deprivation journalist)

  6. Accepted students return to campus for Comeback Weekend!

  7. Asheville School student, Kayla Bacon, participates in Inauguration Day in Washington DC

  8. Asheville School Offers Unique approach to teaching the Humanities

Call For Southern Boarding School Thoughts & Ideas

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Northeastern boarding schools tend to capture a good bit of the spotlight. They're more well known, make more frequent sustained appearances in popular culture (movies, stories, and books) and benefit from their physical concentration in New England. The conflation of wealthy cities and deeper educational roots makes Eastern boarding schools more of an assumed educational option for Eastern families.

But, as we're fond of pointing out, we have good boarding schools across the country- not just in the concentration of New England schools, but seek and ye shall find.

We're currently working on piece highlighting Southern boarding schools; our goal is to present the spectrum of options of boarding school opportunities in the South. Disclaimer, we will work to focus on AdmissionsQuest member schools in the South. That said, we'd love to hear any interesting ideas, angles, stories, insight or topics that might interest you (our audience) regarding Southern boarding schools.

Join the conversation if you've got an angle or insight that might make a good topic for a general article on Southern boarding schools. Send your thoughts and ideas to [email protected] or leave a comment below.

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