Editor's note: In 1957-58 my cousin Peter Denis attended a boarding school in Switzerland. I posed a series of questions when I asked him to recount his experiences for us. ~Rob
What prompted your parents to send you to boarding school overseas? Which school did they send you to? How did you get there?
My parents wanted me to improve my French. So they sent me for one year after high school and before university to Ecole Nouvelle de la Suisse Romande, Chailly sur Lausanne, Switzerland. I was the third in a series of five people who had followed such a plan. The idea was to live in the boarding school together with the students doing regular studies. I was enrolled to learn French which I had already been exposed to over eight years growing up in my hometown of Montreal, Quebec. This Swiss school had a French second language program with dedicated teachers to accommodate students from around the world. The 18 students in my class came from the US, Norway, Sweden, Iran, Germany, to name just a couple of the countries.
There was no penalty for speaking English, but if you were going to survive, you had to learn French. Once your French was at an acceptable level, you were placed in the regular classes.
I traveled to Le Havre, France via a Cunard steamship from Montreal. Then I spent five days in Paris with cousins. This was before travel by jet.
Which grades did
I have assembled this spotlight on sports in boarding schools so that parents and prospective students can explore the incredible variety of athletics which schools offer. As I have pointed out many times, athletics are not optional in boarding school. Athletics are one part of a comprehensive program most schools adopt to educate the whole child in mind, body and spirit. What do you do if your child is not athletically inclined? Don't worry. Schools are accustomed to students with just about every background you can think of. Your child will surprise you after a few weeks at school by exclaiming "Mommy! I love sprinting!" If you live within driving distance of her school, even better. You can attend games. We used to enjoy driving up to the old girls' campus of Kent School on Skiff Mountain to watch our daughter play field hockey. The toughest issue with boarding school athletics which she will encounter is which ones to select.
69 schools offer crew. Most schools assume that their students have never rowed before. As a result, they offer a solid grounding in the sport combined with all the ergnometrics required.
Groton School, Groton, MA
"Since Groton’s founding in 1884, rowing has been a prominent sport. Girls began to row as soon as the school became coed in 1976. Groton rows in 4 person shells with a coxswain to steer the boat and give commands. We generally have eight boats of girls for a team
Sending your child off to boarding school is not as simple as dropping him off at school, giving him a teary hug and kiss and then driving back home. Sending your child off to boarding school requires that you honor the contractual commitment which you signed when you decided to accept the school's offer of a place. Remember that binding, legal document called a contract? In it you agreed to a partnership of three: the school, you and your child. Let's look at what this arrangement involves.
The School's Obligation
The school spells out its obligations in great detail both on its website and in the various printed brochures and catalogs. The admissions staff will also discuss the school's various programs and school life with you when you visit and have your admissions interview. Most importantly, the school lists its obligations in the contract which you and the school signed.
1. The school will offer the academic instruction spelled out in its various materials. And it will ensure that the teaching is of the highest order. You expect nothing less. Private schools take academics very seriously. You won't have to worry about what will happen if the French teacher suddenly takes sick and has to withdraw. Her replacement will be in place quicker than you can say "Je ne sais quoi".
2. The school will act in loco parentis while your child is in its care. It takes its responsibility very seriously. Their students' safety and well-being are paramount at all
You will most certainly receive graduation gifts to mark this very special occasion. With that in mind here are some suggestions which you might want to email to that favorite aunt or uncle. You know that mother and father will give you something special to commemorate your achievements. So I will leave the pens, watches and pendants off this list.
This has to be the coolest gift going in 2010. Sleek. Fun. It's just so 2010. Tablets and netbooks just don't offer the same appeal. It's like Bang and Olufsen products. Beautiful, crisp, clean and elegant designs.
Bang & Olufsen BeoTime Aluminum Alarm Clock
Speaking of Bang & Olufsen, their alarm clock is a gift which you will keep forever. It's so unusual yet sublimely functional.
A Honda Metropolitan
Honda built a classic scooter a few years ago. It's been gently refined over the years and remains the perfect big city local transportation medium. It also works for large suburban campuses. Leave the car at home. Think green. Reduce your carbon footprint.
Boarding schools have their own jargon just like any activity or affinity group has. Here are some of the more common terms and acronyms which you are likely to encounter as you explore boarding schools.
ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder was previously known as ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder. In all probability, you won't notice signs of ADHD until your child starts school. If he exhibits any symptoms of ADHD, the school will bring it to your attention. The next step is to him evaluated professionally. The syndrome is treatable. There are hundreds of private schools which have the experienced, professional staff who can work effectively with children who learn differently. Explore that option thoroughly. This video shows what Forman School offers
ACT is an acronym for American College Testing program. ACT and the SAT are the two most common college standardized tests of academic readiness for college level studies. Most private schools offer test preparation for the SAT. If you prefer to have your child take the ACT, make sure that you advise the school as soon as you can.
Crew is the ancient sport of rowing. Rowing in shells is a popular sport in many boarding schools. Typically, crew is offered in the fall and spring. Schools participate in regional and international competitions called regattas. Events such as The Head of the Charles and Henley draw rowers from all over the world. In many ways, Crew