Berkshire School - Review #13
Reflections and Advice:
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Berkshire School is a fantastic boarding school. The campus is secluded beneath Mt. Everett and the rest of the Berkshire Mountains. It has no main roads traveling through the campus which gives the students an immense sense of security. The community and faculty are so kind and approachable that at one moment you are learning from them in the classroom and the next moment you are having cookies in their apartments.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
A couple of the best moments at Berkshire, among so many, were the junior-senior powderpuff (women's) football games. The junior and senior teams are coached by junior and senior members of the football team a couple weeks in advance and then are coached by faculty members the night of. It is an exciting game on a Saturday night under the lights on the football field, and a couple of nights that I will never forget!
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
For some reason when I arrived to Berkshire I thought that I should only make friends with new students because returners already have friends. This is not the case at all. I don't know why I thought that, but my group of friends ended up being mostly returners! Instead of feeling separated by who was there the year before and who is new now, ask for advice and you'll find that the students are just as happy to gain a new friend as you are!
4.) What did you like most about your school?
Berkshire is a fantastic community. You get so close to the people surrounding you that once you graduate you have to reevaluate how you live without them! You end up being raised by a huge family and on graduation day the community is just as proud of you as your parents are. When I step on Berkshire's campus, it feels like home, and that's how boarding school should be.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Every student, before they graduate, should hike up to South Pinnacle and see the sunrise. It is such a nice moment with friends and there is something special about being up and out of the dorm before anyone wakes up.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The academics at Berkshire are challenging but the faculty are there to help you every step of the way. Each class has at the most 12-15 students, but I have attended classes with less than 10. All classes are discussion-based and there is never a moment when you doubt whether or not you should ask a question. The workload is manageable, for if a student is ever feeling overwhelmed they are able to ask their teachers for extensions and the teachers are always understanding. Each department is just as good as the next. The required books for the English classes are never dull and the discussions always make you see something in the writing that you didn't previously catch. The science department has intriguing labs and the math department is filled with fun geniuses. The history department is filled with incredibly knowledgeable teachers that make the most complicated of events seem so easy to understand and the language department are able to teach the foreign language in a way that makes it as understandable as the student's primary language.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The athletics program at Berkshire School is exceptionally strong. Each student is obligated to do at least two competitive sports a year, though they only have to do at least one competitive sport their senior year. But, often dance and theater can be counted for that requirement if the student shows more interest in dance and theater rather than competitive sports. All of the coaches are also teachers and have just as much experience with the sport that they are coaching as they do with the subjects the teach. The coaches, and captains, strive to do anything to make the team as close as possible. Along with regular practices, which go from approximately 3:30-5:15, there are many team-building exercises such as team hikes up the mountain and meetings to go over filmed competitions. On average there are two competitions a week, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Art, Music, and Theatre:
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
The art, music, and theatre departments are extremely strong. There are art and music classes during the day as well as art, music, and theatre extracurricular options. With the large range of styles within the art and music classes offered, there is sure to be a choice for every student. Then, with each project completion, students' work is displayed in the foyer of Berkshire Hall. The theatre program meets after class and puts on fall and spring plays as well as a winter musical, and they never cease to entertain.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There are many different extracurricular activities for students at Berkshire. I was always impressed how there is something for everything. There are art and theater options as well as rock-climbing and other mountain activities, along with abundant selection of sports. Furthermore, there are many different clubs for students to choose from and there is no limit to the amount that a student can sign up for. The most popular clubs are the Philanthropy Society, which works on volunteer opportunities within the community, and Green Key, which is the group of student tour guides.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life is at Berkshire is exceptional. Berkshire is very good at pairing roommates up, and often people who are roommates their first year end up choosing to live together until they graduate. The dorm parents are kind and are there to be surrogate parents--whether you need advice or just want to watch that night's TV show. The prefects of the dorm, one or two depending on the dorm, are there to be a sort of big brother or big sister. Often students are more comfortable talking to peers than adults, so the prefects are there with an open door. Also, if a dorm parent sees that a student is having a difficult time adapting, they go to the prefects and have them seek out the student and give them some guidance. Dorm selection and room-draw happens right before final exams in May. There are some dorms that have all ages and some dorms that are sophomore-senior dorms. There are no strictly freshman dorms.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining hall at Berkshire is inviting and there is always something delicious for you to eat. The dining hall hours fit perfectly with the students' schedules and when the dining hall is closed, Shawn's Place, a concession stand that is under the dining hall next to the mail boxes and within the student lounge, is open. The only time there is assigned seating is during community dinner, which is once a week, though it may be every other week now, where each student is assigned to a table lead by a faculty member and their family and everyone dines in dress code. It is a really nice chance for the students and faculty to eat and talk with people they wouldn't normally dine with. Community dinner only happens in the fall and spring due to the mixed up sports practice schedules in the winter.
Social and Town Life:
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The surrounding towns have great restaurants and nice shopping. There are buses into town throughout the week for students to go out to dinner or to pick up necessities at Kmart and the grocery store. Although Berkshire is secluded with in the mountains, the campus is actually just 5 minutes from the center of town where you can find everything you need!
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The social life at Berkshire, and any boarding school is great--you get to live with all of your friends! You are able to meet with other students to work on homework, or to just watch a movie. Within the dorms, the common room is open to members of the opposite sex until 7/7:30pm and same sex until just before study hall at 8:00pm--just enough time for everyone to get back to their respective rooms for study hall. Then, juniors and seniors are able the go out of the dorm between 10 and 10:30 at night to go to the student lounge or to just hang out outside. Other than dorms, the student lounge and Shawn's Place are great places to hang out with fellow students, and there are always fun student activities on Saturday nights.
A period (class or free period)
All School Meeting
C period (class or free period)
G period (class or lunch)
H period (class or lunch)
E period (class or free period)
F period (class or free period)
Sports practices or extracurricular activities
F period (class or free period)
All School Meeting
D Period (class or free period)
B Period (class or free period)
Mandatory Check-in for Freshman and Sophomores
Mandatory Check-in for Juniors
Mandatory Check-in for Seniors
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