Start anywhere west of the Mississippi, from Manitoba down to Texas; head west across the Great Plains and even past California and British Columbia all the way to Hawaii. On this voyage, you will find the many boarding schools represented by the Western Boarding Schools Association. These boarding schools can rival anything found in the East and, quite often, we offer more! For example, did you know that Hawaii Prep has 80% of the world’s ecosystems and a LEED Platinum Energy Lab? Or that one can safely predict that many of the ice hockey medalists at the Sochi Olympic Games will have attended high school at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota? Or that you can simultaneously watch condors fly overhead while on your way to surfing each day at Cate School in Carpentaria, California? Or that at my school, Brentwood College School, we can integrate marine biology and oceanography into our curriculum because we are situated directly on the Pacific Ocean?
Arts. Hollywood and Los Angeles. Need I say more? There are, in fact, schools like Idyllwild Arts Academy that are dedicated to the arts, but families will surely be impressed with the quality of the visual, performing and technical arts at many of our western boarding schools. Most western schools tend to be highly creative and modern. I invite you to explore the myriad of innovative artistic options at many of our western schools.
As well, consider the proximity in the West to the most exciting regions of the continent in terms of innovations in technology and social media (think of the origins of Twitter, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Yahoo or even the Internet itself!) and in learning (think Salman Khan and blended learning). Our culture of innovation is one of the big reasons many students choose to come west. Quite simply, the West is abuzz with the future and moving forward; it does not tend to harp on the past. Perhaps it is easier to think out of the box when one is not engulfed in a hundred years of tradition?
Clayton Johnston is the Director of Admissions at Brentwood College School in British Columbia, Canada. He blogs regularly at Brentwood Admissions Blog about his school and about life in the Admissions Office at Brentwood College School. You can follow him @bcsadmissions, or visit www.brentwood.bc.ca to learn more.