Middlesex School - Review #16
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2008-2011|
|Sports and Activities:||At Middlesex, I played soccer, raced for the Alpine ski team, and played tennis (all on the JV level.) In Senate (Middlesex student government), I was a Dorm Representative my sophomore year, the Secretary to the Senate my junior year, and the School President my senior year. Through the Community Service club, I visited Walden House (an elderly rehabilitation center) and Cor Unum (a soup kitchen) at least a few times a year. I also went on a trip with the school after my sophomore year to work at two orphanages in Cape Town, South Africa. In terms of clubs, I was a member of French Club (one year head), Harry Potter Club, Community Service Club, Middlesex Arts Association, Model Congress/ Model United Nations, Youth in Philanthropy, and the Mindful Mediation group. Once a week, I tutored history, math, and French through our Peer Tutors program. Also once a week, I took piano lessons through the school’s music department.|
|College Enrolled:||Dartmouth College|
|Home Town, State:||Concord, MA|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Undoubtedly the most unique aspect of Middlesex, in my eyes, is its well-roundedness. It is not only well-rounded in the fact that it has excellent academic, artistic, and athletic departments, but also in that it fosters genuinely well-rounded and curious young adults. The mandatory sports requirement makes it far easier than at most schools to pursue non-athletic extracurricular activities. That is to say, because athletics are built into the school schedule, students may truly pursue all different kinds of clubs and extracurricular interests, all concurrently. What’s more, the layout of the school is a solid manifestation of the school’s well-roundedness. Most visible from the circle (a space that ties the school together) are the chapel, several dorms, and Eliot (our primary academic hall.) Each of these buildings, in its own way, adds significantly to the establishment of community at Middlesex, whether it is through an all-school gathering, a dorm’s Community Life meeting, or a class.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
My greatest takeaway from my boarding school experience was undeniably confidence. The relationships we created and the connections we made gave me the confidence to be outgoing and even run for president (something I NEVER thought I would be able to do.) Middlesex creates a safety net, making it so the students can go out on a limb, try something new, and if they fail, still have the school’s support. This kind of environment leads to many students taking healthy risks and succeed, and thus, build confidence.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I wouldn’t have done anything differently. All I can say is, meet everyone you can, try a lot of new activities, and create relationships with the faculty and staff at your school. Those three elements made my boarding school experience as rewarding as it was.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
Middlesex’s community is the strongest I’ve ever experienced. Because of its size, I never failed to feel like an integral member of the community. The teachers and other students always challenged me and ultimately helped bring out my best qualities. The relationships formed here are like none other, and I am so fortunate to have been a part of this community for three short years.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Just go for a walk around Middlesex. Visit the docks. Sit in a pew in the chapel. Walk through the fields. It’s really a uniquely beautiful place. Try to imagine yourself there.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Without a doubt, Middlesex’s greatest assets are its devoted faculty members. Middlesex’s teachers really love to teach—I never had a teacher who wasn’t passionate about his or her subject. Even in AP classes, my teachers provided me with countless hours of extra help, and one even met with me over the summer to go over one of my exams. Through swapping book recommendations or just saying hello in the hallway, I always felt close with the faculty. They were always there for me with advice, guidance, knowledge, and calm. As I proceeded down the receiving line at graduation, I was reminded with every hug just how much I will miss them all. But by no means does Middlesex’s academic experience end with faculty. The classroom dynamic is incredibly engaging. The students, unlike at other schools I’ve attended, are truly curious and passionate and enjoy learning. Discussion in English and history, and even math, was always interesting. Many class discussions lasted well after the bells rang!
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
As I mentioned previously, Middlesex’s athletics are fairly unique. As a freshman and sophomore, three seasons of sports are required each year. Only two seasons are required junior year and one season is required senior year. This “emphasis” on sports may lead some to think that only athletic kids thrive at Middlesex. However, this stipulation is certainly not the case. The sports requirement is not at all about competition and athleticism. Rather, it is about learning the cooperation and gaining the confidence that come with being a member of a team. In addition, our thirds sports are popular and the people on them (I was on thirds soccer for a while and loved it!) are, though not necessarily passionate about the sport, all integral parts of the team. At Middlesex, everyone can have an athletic impact, even the biggest “non-athlete” out there. Personally, though the most un-athletic of my friends, I loved Middlesex sports. I was a solid JV player on some incredibly successful teams. I was able to be a leader on these JV teams, and achieved athletic success that I would have never thought possible. Middlesex Athletics make room for everyone.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Though I didn’t pursue the arts at Middlesex as much as I would have wished, I was an avid supporter. In fact, the entire Middlesex community supports the arts, a fact manifested by the consistently high attendance at theater, music, and visual art events. Our theater is an intimate space, and though room is often limited at our theatrical shows, nearly the entire student body continuously shows up to support our classmates. The same goes for all concerts and visual art exhibitions. As an alum, I plan to continue to attend as many Middlesex Arts events as I can because I never cease to be amazed by the caliber of the product created by the students. It also doesn’t hurt that the Middlesex art faculty includes some of the most brilliant, kind, and eccentric people I have ever met. Just as in athletics, arts are, for freshman and sophomore year at Middlesex, a requirement. In those first four semesters, each student is required to take a music class, a theater class, a drawing class, and an art history class. Middlesex has a truly exceptional art history curriculum, especially for a high school. This early exposure to arts opens doors for students who wouldn’t normally pursue arts. I have several friends who initially saw the mandatory art classes as a burden, but who ended up further pursuing the arts through our numerous and diverse upper level classes. Once again, because athletics are built-in to the schedule, the arts are incredibly accessible for those athletes who, at most other schools, would have to decide to pursue one passion over the other.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
And now we come to my greatest complaint about Middlesex: there are simply too many interesting clubs and activities to become involved in. As new students see at our club assemblies (this year we had four 30 minute club assemblies!), there are about 75 clubs at Middlesex. That is roughly 5 students per club. Ranging from Cute Animal Club (one meeting included playing with a puppy pug on the circle) to Applied Sciences Club (they’ve built a hovercraft and a rocket in the past couple of years), Middlesex, though an incredibly small school by most standards, has something for everyone. Although I attended meetings of over 20 of the clubs at one point or another, I only wish I had been able to do more. It is not uncommon for Middlesex students to be active members of three to five clubs. Volunteer opportunities are abundant at Middlesex. There is an incredibly active Community Service Club and weekly trips to Walden House (an elderly rehabilitation facility about 10 minutes away) and Open Table (a soup kitchen run out of a church basement about 5 minutes away.) In addition, after every break, a van takes students to volunteer in Lawrence, MA at a soup kitchen called Cor Unum. In the winters, Middlesex’s hockey rink hosts a learn-to-skate program for developmentally challenged children. By no means does volunteer work stop there. Clubs are constantly holding fundraisers and, this year, at our inaugural Relay For Life, we raised over $17,000. This summer, several Middlesex students are traveling to Cape Town South Africa to work in an orphanage and New York to work with Habitat for Humanity. Lastly, I must put in a plug for Youth In Philanthropy. Several years ago, someone donated a fund to set up a program at Middlesex to educate the students about philanthropy. The program consists of learning the basics of philanthropy, learning how to write a grant, receiving grants from local non-profit organizations, and deciding which organizations to fund. The group is open to juniors and is decided through an application process. It’s unique and incredibly eye-opening.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Unfortunately, I cannot provide much detailed information in this category, seeing as I was a day student for the three years I attended Middlesex. What I can say is that the dorm dynamic is enviable at Middlesex. The vertical housing fosters close relationships among students of different classes and the dorm faculty in each dorm are supportive, compassionate, and all-around wonderful. I loved being a day student just as much as many of my friends enjoyed being boarders.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Dining at Middlesex is very much a social activity. Though students can be found studying in the Dining Hall in the mornings (especially during the Thursday morning sleep-in), most of the time, students are there to socialize. For meals, there are certain areas of the Dining Hall where the different classes tend to eat. I never saw this fact as a negative one. Many students break these traditions and sit with friends from other classes, but it is definitely nice to know where to sit from your first day. In terms of food, Middlesex just signed a contract with Flik after having Aramark for the past 15 or so years. Flik has been great so far. They are quite flexible and are always asking for student input. Even the pickiest eater can find something to eat in Middlesex’s Dining Hall. They always have pastas, sandwich materials, and different cereals available at all meals. In addition, there are usually some artisanal sandwiches and hot meal items available for the more adventurous eaters. Personally, I loved the freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies!
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
I’m quite biased about Concord because I’ve lived here my whole life. It’s a great town and one of huge historical importance. The town center has several small restaurants, a few clothing stores, a park with a track, a Dunkin Donuts, a CVS, a grocery store and a Starbucks. The town bus runs several times a day from Middlesex, making the town incredibly accessible to students. The Old North Bridge (of Revolutionary War fame), the Old Manse, and the Orchard House (of Louisa May Alcott fame) are all within walking distance of the town center. Perhaps even more important than the town center are Estabrook Woods. The woods sit directly behind Middlesex’s campus and provide miles and miles of walking trails, small ponds, and other beautiful scenery. Most students will enjoy a walk in Estabrook Woods at some point during their careers.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
I would say that the social life at Middlesex is extremely inclusive, at least in comparison to my experiences at other schools. Though I made friends from my extracurricular activities and sports teams, I made my best friends through my classes and through other academic settings. The library, although it can definitely be used as a place to study, is oftentimes a place to have an intellectual conversation, share a joke, or work on a project. Some of the best times I had at Middlesex took place in the library. In truth, you can find Middlesex students socializing anywhere on campus with their closest friends and new acquaintances.
|6:45 AM||Wake Up|
|7:15 AM||Head to school for breakfast|
|9:30 AM||Run assembly|
|3:30 AM||Sports Practice|
|5:30 AM||Home/ Head to dinner then the library|
|7:00 AM||Wake up|
|9:30 AM||Run assembly|
|5:00 AM||Home to shower and see family|
|8:00 AM||Back to school for a performance or to hang out with friends|
|11:30 AM||Home for the night|
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