St. Andrew's School, DE - Review #7
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2006-2010|
|Sports and Activities:||Baseball (4 years, 1 year team captain) Basketball (4 years) Soccer (4 years) Jazz Ensemble (4 years) 5th grade Mentor (1 year) Sophomore Boys' Residential Leader (1 year) Class President (2 terms)|
|College Enrolled:||Sewanee: The University of the South|
|Home Town, State:||Ardmore, PA|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
To me, the sense of community that is embodied throughout every aspect of St. Andrew's is what made it such a wonderful school. From the sit-down meal rotations, ensuring that every member of the school got to know every other member, to the intimate weekly school meetings with staff performances, as well as student and faculty announcements, the school does an exceptional job of creating a sense of camaraderie and love. As an extension of this, the faculty is what keeps St. Andrew's the school I love. They add consistency to the school's ideals; they are full of enthusiasm and a desire to help, and as a result, many faculty members have stayed there for years. It is hard to find a place other than St. Andrew's where a faculty member will play catch with you in his backyard or take you out on a weekly ice cream trip, but in complete honesty, this happens regularly at St. Andrew's.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best thing that has happened to me was learning how to connect with people and seeking a high standard in so many ways of life. These two go hand-in-hand. For instance, I would never seek trust in the ways I do, had I not gained it and sought it in its highest form from those at St. Andrew's. The same goes for respect and honesty. St. Andrew's lives on its ideals. I can say this confidently because in the end, you feel as though you've found everyone to be exactly as you always believed them to be, which is one of the most satisfying and reassuring realizations one can make. When you graduate, you find yourself in about as conflicted a situation as you can be in. You simultaneously want to stay and move on, smile and cry, breathe and hold your breath.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I cannot say that I would have done much differently because I am satisfied with where I graduated. Although there are many different St. Andrean paths (that lead to similar places on their most important level). I would have taken a photography, drawing or painting class. In that respect, I would have liked to sample almost every elective class, but that isn't so possible.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
There are two things that I liked most about SAS: One is the sense of community (big surprise!), but the other is the sense of accomplishment that I felt when I ended my tenure there. I felt full to the brim in terms of how well prepared I was to face anything in my line of sight, regardless of what it was. In the end, I felt the warmth of friendship, the sense of enlightenment, the feeling of being significant, the aspiration to move the world forward and the maturity to be level-headed, despite the obstacles I would undoubtedly face.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Get to know everyone that you can there. There's a reason that the school chose them as a student, employs them as a staff member, asks them to continue teaching year after year or consistently connects with them as a resource. There are too many things to explore, both physically and intellectually at St. Andrew's, for me to include an SAS bucket list, but trust me, it's all there.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
During my time at St. Andrew's (and to this day) I have felt as though academics held the highest priority at St. Andrew's. While many schools are sacrificing academic achievement and drive for other activities, St. Andrew's will always be an academics first, extra-curriculars second school (similar to a DIII college). This emphasis on academics is best exemplified through the roundtables in nearly every classroom. I even had some math classes around such tables. This format encourages discussion, rather than lectures, which to me is very important (after all, I've had classes at SAS that range from 2 people to 16 people, but rarely even that high). I believe that with discussion, a greater amount of attention is paid to a larger percentage of students in comparison to when a teacher lectures to his or her class. In my English classes, I felt as though the discussions that my teachers prompted fostered a feeling of discovery amongst all of us. It may have been the case that other students had discovered a certain theory on a part of Lolita, but the feeling I got motivated me in a way that I feel is unparalleled. One aspect of the school to note is that there are half-days on Tuesdays to allow for sports games, etc. This class time is made up for on Saturday mornings. While this variation might seem a little disheartening, having half-days on Tuesdays provide a sort of reset to the week and a nice change of pace, as well. Also, it is rare that a student will have all four periods of class on Saturday morning.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
St. Andrew's has striven over the past several years to better its athletic facilities in a way that, I'll have to admit, makes me a little envious of those who will get to benefit from it directly. From the new courts to the weight room to the JV locker rooms, the Sipprelle Field House is fantastic. The school has not spared any possible advantages or motivations for its students. I cannot help but think that this will make St. Andrew's sports even more competitive in the future. Furthermore, every student is required to participate in a sport (or an afternoon activity). This means that each student gets to understand the camaraderie and dynamic of a team. Being an athlete, I think that there is something great to be gained on a sports field that cannot be found in a classroom.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Having participated in the music program and having always wanted (if not for a lack of time) to take part in the visual arts and theatre programs, I feel very strongly that if one were to visit the school on arts weekend in May, he or she would see why St. Andrew's means so much to me. On arts weekend, inspiration will smack you straight in the face. Even having visited on that weekend since my own graduation, I am continually amazed at the level of creation and inspiration that is present within the community. I feel that the school is most unique in the kids that it brings together and the way it brings them together. Engelhard hall is home to a fantastic performance stage that houses arts performances of all kinds, along with school meetings and free-day announcements.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There are many student organizations and volunteer opportunities to be had. During my 4 years there, I saw the number of volunteer opportunities go from only a handful my freshman year to many my senior year. The most popular are tutoring and mentoring, along with helping the annual blood drive and AIDS walk, among other opportunities.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
I have seen dorm life from multiple angles. I went through my first 3 years as any student would, loving each of my dorms for its own reasons-some are smaller, leading to a more tightly-knit dorm; some are newer, there are obvious pluses there; some are older and I took pride in the history behind them. My senior year, I was given the opportunity to be the Residential Leader (similar to an RA in college) on one of the two sophomore boys' corridors. I absolutely loved this role. Having been on the other side (as an underclassman) provided me with a certain empathy. Moreover, I worked with the dorm parent (faculty who lives on the corridor) to come up with activities in order to see that the underclassmen were involved and looked after, making sure not to miss anybody. I enjoyed going from room to room telling everyone that it was "lights out time," wishing each one of them our own variation of "goodnight." I've chosen to take the time to write about this experience in particular because my experience was not unusual. Each dorm parent and residential leader, along with the upperclassmen who live on the underclassmen corridors (there is no senior corridor) takes the time to check in on those on his dorm. This extends well beyond the dorm, and such a situation is really a microcosm of how the school functions, because the seniors take tremendous responsibility in defining the dynamic of the school.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Each weekday, with the exception of Wednesday, we have a required sit-down lunch; the entire school collects in the dining hall and goes to there assigned tables (roughly eight people per table plus two faculty members). These rotations are only temporary, and shift every few weeks, introducing each student to another bunch of students and faculty members. On Wednesday, there is more of an open, cafeteria-style lunch, with a sit-down dinner. This dinner was one of my favorite parts of the week. Everyone wore class-dress and went down to the dining hall, which was set up a little fancier than usual. Afterward, we processed down to the chapel, where a faculty member would give a talk on a particular subject of interest. The quality of food at St. Andrew's was overall enjoyable, although there were moments on both ends of the spectrum. I've been told that the food has gotten increasingly better over the past several years, although I had little problem with it while I was there. Wednesday night meals were always the best, whether it was salmon or steak or another well-prepared dish.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The school's resides in a pretty rural area: Middletown, Delaware. Middletown has made moves over the past decade to become a livelier town, but the truth is that it does not provide a larger amount of entertainment (other than food) to the students. Even so, St. Andrew's does a great job of being self-sufficient and Middletown's rurality does not detract from the St. Andrew's experience. In fact, if Middletown were to be more of an active town, St. Andrew's would not be the special place that it is. The rurality means that the students remain on campus for most of their time and so it is always easy to find others around the campus.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
St. Andrew's keeps its students active for most of the day and in the best ways. While there are times of boredom, when you find yourself in-between a Saturday sports practice and a Saturday night activity, this is when the St. Andrean mind thrives! I've seen the most creative plans come into action during these times: building a pirate ship or a fort in the woods, jousting with bikes and lacrosse gear. Where else can you find kids who think of these things? Whereas at a day school, boredom can lead to drugs or alcohol, St. Andrew's students don't resort to these things at all. In fact, you are infinitely more likely to find students out in the acres and acres of woods, in a canoe on Noxontown pond, watching a movie with a group of friends, or playing music! This is what I mean about St. Andrew's being a self-sufficient place; while there are offered activities, the students provide most of the social life on their own.
|7:45 AM||Breakfast Check-In|
|8:15 AM||Classes begin, free-periods are coveted|
|12:00 AM||Sit-down Lunch!|
|3:00 PM||Classes End|
|4:15 AM||Practice until 5:45pm|
|8:00 PM||Study Hall until 10pm|
|10:00 PM||Head up to dorm|
|10:30 AM||In room (specific time varies based on year)|
|11:00 PM||Lights out (specific time varies based on year)|
|8:00 AM||Saturday morning classes until 11am (although there are frees too)|
|11:45 AM||Eat lunch|
|12:45 AM||Practice until 2:30|
|2:30 PM||Free time for the rest of the day!|
|4:00 PM||Maybe there is a town trip...|
|5:00 PM||Maybe go watch a movie...|
|5:30 PM||Maybe take out a canoe, go explorin'...|
|6:15 PM||But more than likely, hang out with friends on the best front lawn the world has to offer.|
|10:45 PM||In room/On dorm (depends on year)|
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