Shattuck-St. Mary's School - Review #3

Shattuck-St. Mary's School
5

About the Author:

College Enrolled St. Lawrence
Home Town, State (Country) Port Huron, MI
Years Attended Boarding School 2
Activities During Boarding School Outside of my academics, I played for Shattuck's developing Soccer Academy (not a "school team" It is club/travel soccer). Along with the Hockey program this is beginning to really take hold. I also was a member of the Honor Society which is a prestigious half credit class that holds weekly meetings, attends seminars, and, as a senior, develops Capstone research projects. I also play for the school Varsity Basketball and Volleyball teams which are fun after school activities which compete against other local small private schools.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
One of the best parts about Shattuck is the volunteer work that we do. While it is required, fulfilling those hours is never an issue because the faculty provide so many options that are not just fun but rewarding as well. The teachers and faculty are all really helpful about getting your hours, in a way that suits your personality. Also, every year right before school starts for the term, the seniors take a class trip together for 3 days, traveling around the Midwest doing volunteer work and bonding as a class. Another unique factor about Shattuck is the sense of community within the campus. There is VERY LITTLE to do in Faribault, MN so the school as a whole bonds together and finds fun things to do. On any given night, even during the frigid cold winters, you can find almost everyone up at the school hanging out, playing games, and finding ways to be together as a school. One of the best parts is that because Shattuck is such a small school, there are relatively no cliques. This makes forging friendships and branching out much more fun, easy and lasting.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
My favorite thing about boarding school is my friendships I have forged over the years. Every school break I went home for, all I could do was sit around and count down the days until I got to go back to Shattuck. Also, at SSM, the general idea that everyone around you is interested and cares about what is going on in your life makes you want to keep growing and changing. Shattuck is seriously the best place I have been in my life. WE are a community like no other I have ever experienced. Even when alumni come to visit, they always come to sporting events, plays, etc, and can always be caught talking to the next generation of Sabres. Shattuck Sabres are some of the proudest, most loyal people and I am so happy I got to be in a community like this.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
My biggest piece of advice is to not be afraid to ask for help. This is not strictly related to school and classes either. Even struggling with homesickness, social interaction, or even health issues, people around you are there for a reason, and most likely have gone through something similar.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
My favorite part is the sense of community and the friendships I made at Shattuck. Even after leaving, all you can think about is going back. The school work is amazing, and I never once got bored with what I was learning. The teachers are always finding new ways to teach you things in a way you learn best. Overall, the absolute best part about Shattuck is the students collective ability to find things to do in their free time. Leaving the campus is never the solution to finding a good time on a Saturday night. One thing that I find amazing is that even though many students live close enough to go home for the weekends, they on average I would say, go home maybe twice the whole year! This, to me, shows how close knit and family like Shattuck becomes to everyone who works, lives, or learns there.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
When I gave tours to perspective students, I always tell them to not come to Shattuck unless they are committed to becoming a part of a community that strives to be their best and supports each other the whole way. Also, be prepared to make friends like you never have before and friendships that will last you LONG after you leave the arch. Also, when you visit Shattuck, take a moment when you are coming through the arch for the first time. That first view, of the buildings, Parade field, and all the old beautiful architecture is possibly the most breath taking moment on campus. So park your car on the bride and walk through the arch. Take the standard "arch picture" with the school in the background, kiss the arch (it's good luck), and remember to take your hats off (it's bad luck)!!!!!!!

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Shattuck has amazing teachers. That was my first thought when I got the school and has stuck with through the years. The teachers there genuinely CARE about how you are doing and where you want to go in life. Every day they have extra office hours and even during their off periods will sit down and tutor a group of students looking for extra help. Even the lower level classes are challenging and intuitive. The teachers leave you wanting to know more because they are just so invested and interested in you. The courses are no exception to the excellent academic reputation at SSM. After going there for 2 years, even subjects I really did not enjoy before, I am learning to love through the diverse selections I have. If the school does not provide a direct class on campus, they will find it for you online. This essentially allows you to design your own schedule around what you REALLY enjoy (within the graduation requirements of course). Also, every school day is from 8 to 4 with nine class periods. While this may seem extremely long, you will only take 6 classes, so you can place those extra 3 periods in between harder classes to give yourself extra study time, lunch, etc. The competitive environment is also a highlight of the academics at Shattuck. Everyone there is driven, focused, and willing to get their moneys worth out of their time and classes. Without much outside effort, students form study groups on a regular basis, set up tutoring after school and look after the younger students as if they were siblings. This makes everyone there strive to do their best and really creates a classroom environment where you want to learn.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
For starters, at Shattuck, there are programs called Centers of Excellence (COAs). As of now, these are Hockey, Soccer, Figure Skating, Vocal Performance (VPP), and Bioscience. These are programs connected to the school but also directed and controlled as separate entities. (More about VPP and Bioscience later) Shattuck Hockey is considered the premier program in the nation with boys and girls, grades 6-12 coming to the school vying for the few spots every year. There are 6 boys teams and 2 girls. The Soccer Academy has grown exponentially in the past years. Started only in 2005, the boys program has already made it to the top league in the Nation with 3 teams. The girls are also on their way to the top and are in the top league in the region as of this year with 2 teams. If a student is not on either a hockey or soccer team, they are required to take part in 1 extracurricular activity every term. Sports are therefore NOT required if a student is not interested but are readily available. Shattuck has Volleyball (W), Basketball (M,W), Lacrosse (M,W), Track and Field (M,W), Baseball (M), and Ultimate Frisbee

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
The arts at Shattuck are spectacular. We turn out some of the best national performers yearly. We have 1 play, 1 comedy, and 1 musical each year and every one has turned out to be amazing. The teachers are all enthusiastic and encourage involvement in a mired of ways ever if you have never taken part before. The VPP, which is a Center of Excellence, is a truly talented group of high school students who can sing like no other group I've ever heard. As a center of excellence they bring in some of the best teachers and teenagers from across the country to take part. For most of our informal dances we hold on the weekends, we have 1 or 2 of the VPP singers perform instead of having a DJ. One of the best things about the Shattuck Arts community is that they enrich our campus. They are always putting up and taking down art and you can, at any time during the day/year, find the students wandering through our art display looking at their friends work. The unique part about Shattuck art is that, every student is required to take 1 arts class per year. This can range from Dance 1 and Ballet to Digital Photo and Clay. At the end of every term when we have our family weekends, the students in each class are asked to showcase what they have learned. This provides the community with a creative environment, fueled by ALL of the students, not just the ones who are dedicated specifically to the arts.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There are so many clubs at Shattuck that I cannot even keep count. As I mentioned before, unless you take part in a COA, every student must have 1 extra-curricular activity every term. This results in the formation of new clubs almost every 3 months to fit every students interests. One of my favorite extra-curriculars, along with almost everyone else, is International Club. With about 15% of our student population from foreign countries, the International Club is a place for them to showcase their unique cultures and present them to the community. Every January we have International day and each country represented at Shattuck has a room in which they can decorate, cook, and present to the rest of the community what they think is special about their culture and country.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
The dorm life is absolutely and unquestionably my favorite part about Shattuck. There are 6 dorms at Shattuck: 2 girls and 4 boys. St. Mary's Hall is a bit farther away from campus and houses the Middle School classes, chapel, dining hall, etc. This dorm holds all girls grades 6-11 and the seniors who do not have enough seniority to get into the "Senior House" over by the Upper school (seniority is how long you have been there, not what grade you are in). The worst part about living in SMH is the fact that it is about a 10 minute walk from EVERYTHING else and to get to Upper School you have to walk through the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf, or MSAD. To make it more convenient for the girls, the school has vans/buses running on a schedule, but you are ALWAYS stuck waiting for the next van to Walmart or Upper School. The plus side is that SMH dorms have sinks in them and are larger than any other dorm on campus. Andreas House is the "Senior Girls Dorm" and houses the 20 girls with the most seniority. It is right on campus and is really nice and newly renovated. The boys dorms are Whipple (junior/senior), Clapp (10th/11th), Breck (6-9) and The Lodge (Overflow). All of these dorms are located right by the school building and are all nice enough. They are what you would say normal dorms and aren't too exciting but aren't run down. Whipple however is the best because it has a tunnel that runs from the school to the dorm so in the winter the boys don't have to embrace the freezing cold temperatures and constant snow. The dorm and the people in them become like your family at Shattuck. At St. Mary's Hall every night you can go down for snack from 930 to 1030 after study hall and at all the other dorms the main dining hall is open at the same time. Roommate selection for returning students: they pick their own roommates and then are assigned a room when they return the next fall New students are placed with a roommate. The school usually tries to diversify the new students so they can branch out and will place them with a student either not from their country or with different interests. Most new students switch rooms after a month or two at school and the dorm parents are all very nice and helpful. For the girls, at St. Mary's Hall, the 6-9 graders are on the third floor, 10-11 on the second floor and seniors on the first along with the middle school offices. At the senior house the girls pick by seniority. Most of the girls dorms at both buildings are doubles or triples, with an occasional quad or single. The boys dorms are mostly doubles at all the other dorms but Whipple. This dorm, the one with the tunnel, has mostly quads and seniors usually occupy them. Every dorm on campus has a common room which has a tv, some couches, and a few game tables (pool, fusbal, etc). This is where most of the campus socializing takes place.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Shattuck has 1 main dining hall call Morgan Refectory. It is a huge space that can fit the whole school if needed. The food is probably the worst part about Shattuck. It is not awful food, but coming from home cooking, it can be a shock. However, the kitchen staff are probably some of the nicest people on campus and are open to any suggestions students may have. The hours of Morgan are nice. I have never run into a time when I was hungry but wasn't able to get in.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
There is very very very little to do in Faribault. There is a Walmart and a movie theater and that is about it. Most students bring bikes or roller blades though because the town does have some very scenic places. Also, in "downtown" Faribault (aka. The bo, Fbo, Dtown Faribault, DTF, Farbo) there are a lot of small local diners which we all love to go to on the weekends. There are also 2 main dining spots downtown. One is The Depot and the other is Bostons. Bostons is where most people go to celebrate birthdays at Shattuck. All prices are reasonable.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
My favorite part about Shattuck is the people. You can honestly go anywhere on campus and somebody will invite you to join in what they are doing. While there is very little to do off campus, we find lots to do with what we have. Most weekends we have impromptu dances in the Student Lounge. Also, the Dean of Student Life and that whole office are open to any ideas that students have for off campus activities. If a student has an idea, they can go to the Dean and he/she will get a bus and a sign up sheet. I guess my favorite part about the social life is that people genuinely care and want to have fun. Shattuck students are also not afraid to act like kids. So even if there is nothing to do on a Saturday night, we'll play a school wide hide n' seek, flashlight tag, or truth or dare. Snowball fights in the winter are also common and school wide as well. At Shattuck it's not so much a "social life" but a family life. Sports are a huge deal at Shattuck. Every single weekend during the year, most of the students will spend their free time, either playing or watching a game. While Hockey and Soccer are the biggest, all of the other sports in the spring and fall pull just as big a crowd. The fans are die hard and make signs, create cheers, and even have stormed the court after my team won the conference for Basketball. Even students who don't play any sports still attend the games and take part in the atmosphere. When not partaking in sporting events, the Student Lounge, or StuLo, is the biggest hang out spot. Located in the school building, it has a couple dozen chairs, a pool table, fusbal, ping pong, etc. The students are always organizing tournaments and it is a constant fight for the pool table at any given time. Soccer tennis is also big and students will line up chairs to create the "net". In the spring and fall, when it's nice enough, all students hang out on Parade Field, a huge grass field and soccer field in front of the main clock tower. Most of the students are either studying, playing a game, or play World Cup with the soccer nets provided. Most students, even if not soccer players can hold their own and World Cup is a huge deal to the students. People create teams of 2 or 3, have fans, and fight to win.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
8:00 AMSchool Starts
12:15 AMSoccer practice
2:30 PMResume Classes
4:00 PMClass day over
6:00 PMDinner
8:00 PMStudy Hall (Mandatory in dorm, door open for all grades 6-11)
9:30 PMStudy Hall over/Snack
10:45 PMLights out
11:30 PMInternet Shuts off (Not fun but you learn to love it because you actually get sleep!)
Weekend
7:00 AMBreakfast starts
12:00 AMBreakfast ends ( busiest time is 11:30 because we all like to sleep in)
1:00 PMMost weekend games (hockey, soccer) start now
2:00 PMLots of school sponsered events take place on Saturdays
11:00 PMIn dorm time (not lights out)

Alumni Reviews
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