St. Margaret's School - Review #1

St. Margaret's School
5

About the Author:

College Enrolled University of Rochester
Home Town, State (Country) Bowie, MD
Years Attended Boarding School 3
Activities During Boarding School Student Government Association Vice President of School Peer Leader Student Alumni Council Student Ambassador Society Green Team Co-Captain Hand Bell Choir Soccer Theatre Program

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
At St. Margaret’s School, girls have the opportunity to not just gain a better education, but also to be around people whom they will have with them through their lives. As a senior, I have the ability to have room study hall hours while others are in class. During study hall, I not only do my homework, but I also spend time with a close friend. We have the ability to study together or just sit outside and skateboard for an hour. The possibilities are endless. In short, SMS allows students to have time to themselves to enjoy life as a high school student. We work hard, but we also grow stronger in our relationships. At night, before I fall asleep, I am lulled into a slumber by the sound of the waves. One of my favorite things about SMS is the Rappahannock River. Every night outside my window, I am blessed to have the beautiful site of the moon reflecting its light off the river. St. Margaret’s constructs our lives on the basis of the river. In the first two weeks of school, all the separate grades are able to travel to different segments of the river for two river days. In our locations, we learn more about ourselves as individuals and as a collective grade. The river, in a way, draws everyone closer together. At the end of these river days, the river brings the school back together as a whole. This is an opportunity that I know everyone enjoys. The experiences of river days are priceless.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best thing that has happened to me is my acceptance into the University of Rochester. St. Margaret’s School has challenged me and helped me reach my fullest potential. I believe I would have never been accepted if it were not for my school’s help. After coming to SMS, I have been recognized for my growth in academics. The school hosts an Honor Roll tea to recognize students' academic achievements at the end of each trimester. By honoring students, the girls are encouraged to keep working hard in their studies. My advisor has also been a huge part of my growth. Her encouragement and advice has helped me continue through my hardest times at school. By working with my advisor and learning more about myself, I have grown stronger in my work ethic.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I advise to get situated with the weekly calendar. It will be one of your best friends. The schedule leaves free time, but the times that are not free are necessary. Being late is not a good thing at a school where every second counts!
4.) What did you like most about your school?
SMS has the most team-building programs and peer-bonding experiences that I believe a school can offer. Upon entering the school, I immediately felt welcomed. St. Margaret’s Peer Leaders and Prefects collaborate to make the school friendly and welcoming in order to make the students feel comfortable in their new environment.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
I advise new students to be themselves and enjoy the experiences. You only live through high school once, so enjoy the time. My favorite eatery is Lowery’s, a seafood restaurant, which serves amazing crab cakes. Also, when the time permits, go to the pet store and see the tortoise that they have out back. He is something special.

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
During my three years at SMS, I have always been encouraged to work at my own pace. Although there is a level of self-competitiveness present among students, the girls still respect and encourage one another. One of the reasons girls come to SMS is for a better education. Because of this fact, the teachers structure their lessons in a way that allows each student to individually reach the standard set for themselves and not for others. With class sizes ranging from four students to 12 students, the ability to have individual attention is available. The student/teacher relationships are relaxed enough that the students feel comfortable seeking out help. If I have trouble in any subject, I have no problem seeking out the teacher. As the years progressed at SMS, the classes did gradually become harder and the workload did increase. Although this is true, there is always someone willing and able to help a student if help is needed. Because each student learns differently, the study skills class is instituted for all new students. The class prepares the girls for academic success for the years to come. I enjoyed learning about how I learn best and then using that knowledge to better myself in my other classes. I learn by asking questions and having an interactive dialogue with the teacher. One of the things I love about SMS teachers is the fact that they are so open to hearing everything that a student has to say.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
When walking in the gym, one can see several banners with painted Scottie dogs on them. The Scottie dog, who is present at many sporting events, is the school mascot of SMS. The banners portray the Scottie in various sporting situations to represent all the sports that St. Margaret’s has to offer. The crowd goes wild when the mysterious person in the Scottie dog costume comes to the games. Spirit and pride are two things that are visible at the SMS events. SMS hangs their “League of Independent Schools” banner proudly for the games that have been won in the past. The most noted sports at SMS are softball, basketball, and volleyball. These games draw in the crowds and represent the spirit of SMS to the fullest. The coaches have had previous experiences with other schools and by the victories they have won themselves. The Varsity sports practice with the coaches every day after school to perfect what is shown in games. The level of respect and love that the coaches show for the girls is also something worth noting. At SMS, health does come before winning another banner. The girls take care of themselves, in addition to the coaches watching out for injuries. There is a collaborative relationship between coach and player both on and off the field. The fact that many of the coaches teach the players in several subjects adds to the healthy relationship that is visible during practices and games/meets/regattas.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
During my three years at St. Margaret’s, I have had the opportunity to be involved in the drama program. The school’s music/theatre directors dedicate their after school time to creating all the extras that help the students look wonderful during the performances. At SMS, you never play the same part twice. The diversity of the student body allows everyone to add their own special character to the play. At the end of the second trimester, the school play is put on with an invitation to the entirety of the school and the surrounding town elementary schools. Second trimester is the period of time that the drama department has set aside for after school rehearsals. Inside the gym, there is a set up stage where our drama and musical productions are held. If a student wishes not to be on stage, the student has the ability to work behind the scenes in our Tech Theatre program, which counts as a class credit. For the students involved in the musical programs, such as Soulful Voices, Treble Choir, and Ensemble, there are plenty of opportunities to display their talent. Our school hosts several events, such as church services, in which the musical students participate.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
At the end of my junior year at SMS, I was chosen as one of the two co-captains for the following year’s Green Team. As a captain, I organize school sanctioned events to help make others aware of the team’s efforts to preserve the earth. This year, to celebrate Earth Day, the Green Team organized a competition that involved making pledges in honor of “going green.” St. Margarets is a school in which both students and faculty want to support all the clubs/activities. In addition to the Green Team, SMS also includes the Darfur Group, Art Club, and Soulful Voices, which gather on Thursdays to hold meetings. Students lead each club with the assistance of a faculty member. Family weekends at SMS are perfect times to see the clubs at work at raising funds and showing school pride.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
One of the aspects I enjoy most about SMS is the ability of each student to be in the dormitory and room where she would like to live. At the end of the year, room selection occurs by a point system. Points are earned through various positions, achievements (Honor Roll), and good behavior (Merit Roll) throughout the school year. When the student is situated in her room, she is free to express herself by wall decorations and suitable furniture. The three dorms are organized in various setups based on the building. The central dorm, Latane, houses the most girls and is in the center of the school for easy building-to-building travel. Inside each of the dorms, there are recreational rooms, in addition to laundry rooms and kitchens. Each floor of Latane has its own kitchen, with a laundry room and work-out center located on the bottom floor of the building. In addition to these features, Latane also contains the biggest recreational room with a rather large television to host events such as the Super Bowl. McCuan, the newest dorm, contains suite styled rooms with a connecting bathroom for two rooms. McCuan is highly preferred by many students because of the open space kitchen suitable for campus parties and cooking sessions. Anderton House is the final dorm, placed on the base of the Rappahannock River. When one walks into the Anderton, one gets the sense of a cottage. With carpeted floors and spaced out rooms, Anderton can be considered the most relaxed dormitory. Each student comes to St. Margaret’s School assigned to a room with one other girls. In the following school year, students are free to choose whomever they please to be their roommate. If a problem where to arise between roommates, the students would have the opportunity to have roommate mediation. In this session, the students would voice concerns of the living situation and work on solutions to making the environment better. In the chance that mediation fails, the students would go through a period of time where they would continue to work through problems until the last resort of room switch would be offered.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining hall is open during the designated meal times three times a day every week. Mondays and Wednesdays are the key days for students to sit with their advisors and discuss how the week has been going. These lunches are also the times when students and faculty can make school-wide announcements. For the first and second trimesters of school, SMS also has Peer Lunch on Fridays. Peer Lunch is meant mainly for the eight and ninth grades; both grades would sit at designated tables with senior Peer Leaders, so that the eldest grade may reach out to the younger students, and so that the younger students have the opportunity to connect with their older "sisters." Sophomores and juniors are also included. During third trimester, Peer Lunch ends and students are free to use these Friday lunches, in addition to Tuesday lunches, for whatever the students see fit. Thursday lunches are reserved for meeting times. This lunch is the longest to have time for the various meetings that are held. Students not involved in a meeting are free to use them as they please. I enjoy SMS lunches the most when the dining hall serves foods from different parts of the world. Never have I had Korean beef until I came to SMS. The food is different every day with healthy options, in addition to vegetarian and vegan meals. The stir fry plate and the food bars provide students with many creative possibilities for food options.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Tappahannock’s surroundings attractions are usually alive with some event near campus. I absolutely love the Oyster Festival that occurs every year. Girls have the opportunity to gain community service hours while enjoying the livelihood of the town's people. The walking boarder of Tappy Town includes a café with some of the best lunch time meals, a seafood restaurant with delicious crab cake, a burger place with cheap, yet tasty food. A pet store, hair salon, and 7-11 convenience store are also located within the short walking distance. Seniors are free to go to these sites during long free lunches and all students are permitted to go with a buddy during the permitted travel times. On weekends, the school also provides bus transportation to the nearby movie theatre, restaurants, and thrift store for students who would like to go. There are several opportunities for students to go around the town area, whether it be with the school or out with visiting family and friends. My favorite things about the surrounding town are the houses in the community. My advisor would take my advisor group on a Christmas light tour each year before Christmas break. The town has many wonderful people who enjoy showing their liveliness and spirit by decorating their homes. It is a wonderful experience to see the hard work of the town and share the spirit of happiness and joy in the community.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Tappahannock is a rather small town, but the SMS girls make the town come to life on the weekends. Every weekend, we have either a mall trip, a mixer, or some fun extreme sport happening on campus or in Virginia. St. Margaret’s encourages the girls to be sociable both in and out of the school. The BSSAC events allow SMS girls to be introduced to other boarding school students and have a great time. Mixers were my favorite events both my sophomore and junior years. These events help students break out of their comfort zone and meet new people while enjoying new things that cannot be experienced at non-boarding schools. What I really love about SMS is the fact that even if you do not go to mixers, you can stay on campus and enjoy a fun activity being hosted by the school. Dodge ball night is what I enjoyed the most as a senior. The group bonding activities every weekend make SMS exciting if you cannot afford or do not enjoy going out every weekend. I am able to build stronger relationships inside the dorms or go out and meet new people each weekend as I desire.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
7:45 AMBreakfast
8:30 AM1st Period
9:15 AM2nd Period
10:15 AMBreak
10:30 AM3rd Period
11:15 AM4th Period
12:15 AMLunch
12:45 AM5th Period
1:45 PM6th Period
2:30 PM7th Period
Weekend
9:00 AMWake up in friend's dorm room to the sounds of folks on the beach
9:30 AMHead down to beach to help rescue a loose boat in the river
11:00 AMWalk to local post office with a friend and her roommate
1:00 PMGet ready for the BSSAC closing mixer
4:15 PMHead to dorms to let students know that mixer is canceled due to a severe weather alert
5:00 PMRent
5:30 PMGo to Latane dorm to find warmer clothes!
5:45 PMRun through the rain to Dining Hall for dinner
6:30 PMJump through puddles with friends and head back to the dorms
6:45 PMWatch movie, chat, and hang out with friends in the dorms

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • University of Rochester
    At St. Margaret’s School, girls have the opportunity to not just gain a better education, but also to be around people whom they will have with them through their lives. As a senior, I have. . .
  • Case Western Reserve University
    For me, SMS is unique because it is truly a second home that anyone can be a part of. The sense of community also builds around the school motto, “As we grow in age. . .
  • University of Virginia
    St. Margaret's offers a unique boarding school experience in part thanks to its location right on the Rappahannock River. The school encourages girls to take advantage of the river, both as an educational and extracurricular. . .
  • St. Margaret's School Alumni #4
    Class of 2004
    5 Stars   10/19/2004
    Auburn University
    St. Margaret's has such a strong staff. The teachers honestly care about their students and their success in school. Being a teacher at a boarding school is hard because of the extra commitments. . .
  • Show more reviews (-1 reviews)
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