Reflections and Advice:
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
The two aspects of The Hill School that make it unique are the professors' relationship with the students and the traditions at The Hill. First off, professors are involved in all aspects of school life. All students, with the exception of day students, live on a dormitory hall with a faculty hall master. In addition, sit-down dinners in the dining hall have a professor sitting at each end. I even had my two math teachers as my track coaches! I always had a personal relationship with my professors, they not only urged me to do my best as a student, but to be my best as a citizen, community leader, and as a person. It may sound intrusive, but the Hill School isn't just about preparing you for university. The Hill School is about preparing the student for a life of excellence. In a world where anyone can scrape by living a life of mediocrity, the Hill School pushes you to become excellent in every way and that starts with close relationships with teachers. Forming friendships with teachers at The Hill continues to be one of the greatest benefits of attending The Hill. In connection with this are Hill School's great traditions. As you step onto Hill campus the first and most obvious tradition you notice is the dress code. Male students wear coat and tie every day with the 6th Formers (Seniors...another tradition) wearing their 6th Form blazers. Female students wear a dress or an oxford shirt and jacket with either slacks or a skirt. Another tradition is that of the school's motto, "Whatsoever things are true." Truth is the highest ideal at The Hill. Honesty and integrity are natural corollaries which are put into practice with a strict policy on plagiarism and the Honor Council, a board of students and faculty selected to address issues of academic dishonesty. And as discussed earlier, our rivalry with Lawrenceville goes back to 1887 and is one of the longest standing rivalries between independent schools in the United States.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best thing that happened at Hill was befriending the teachers. They are all fascinating, well educated, and very intelligent. Be sure to learn as much as you can from them, that's the reason they are there. Many of them could be teaching at the university level, but have chosen to live and teach at The Hill.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
My first year at Hill, I locked myself up in my room and spent all my time on AOL. I missed my friends from home and was overly shy. It wasn't until the next year that I really reached out and got involved. I would suggest that new boarding school students do exactly the opposite! Get out there are get to know people. Go to all the social events. Join a club! Get involved and you will be much happier and much more productive.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
When it comes down to it, the one thing about Hill that I loved the most was the atmosphere. It was that intangible feeling that I belonged to a place and it really belonged to me. After putting so much of myself into the theatre department and Hill News...and my classes, there was a very deep sense of belonging that I believe is unique to The Hill. The Hill was first called The Family Boarding School in 1851, and it truly felt that way to me. The professors that would go over papers with me at 10pm or just talk about life and philosophy over coffee were like parents to me. My friends who I studied impossible amounts of history with, I got into trouble with, and I laughed about everything with were like my brothers and sisters. And those great red brick buildings were my home. The Hill School is more than an excellent school, it is a place that its students will always call home.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Yes, words of wisdom... Make sure you try the mookies at the grill, and learn the story behind the name! Climb the huge tree by the Alumni Chapel, but don't let Mrs. Dougherty see you! Get involved in the Hill News. And find out what you can about Hill's secret society, OSS.