St. Andrew's School, DE - Review #6
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2006-2010|
|Sports and Activities:||School Newspaper (Editor), Orchestra, Gay/Straight Alliance (President), Peer Tutor, Middle School Tutor, JV Tennis, JV Soccer, Theatre Program, Fencing Club|
|College Enrolled:||Princeton University|
|Home Town, State:||Middletown, DE|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
St. Andrew's has a focus on holistic growth and a dedication to community. The academics are rigorous and engaging, and I made incredibly close friendships thanks to dorm life. But above all I can say that the commitment to each and every student, both in terms of how that student contributed to St. Andrew's as a whole as well as a dedication to realizing that student's individual potential as a person, was what made St. Andrew's unique.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
St. Andrew's was profoundly important to my personal growth. My experience there provided me with the factual knowledge and the academic skills to succeed in college, but, more importantly, it gave me the perspective to think about my personal reasons for education.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I think I would have tried more student organizations in my first few years. St. Andrew's grows a lot from student involvement in non-academic spheres, and this was something I did not necessarily take full advantage of until later in my St. Andrew's experience.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I have mentioned it before, but I think the most rewarding aspect of life and learning at St. Andrew's is the focus on community and the cultivation of St. Andrean spirit. The way in which St. Andrew's teaches students to value one another, while at the same time encouraging each student's excellence, nurtures a caring and supportive environment committed to making the most of individual potential.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
My recommendation would be to take advantage of as many of the incredible facilities St. Andrew's has to offer. The new field house had not been built when I attended, so I would definitely encourage students to make the most of that space!On a more long-lasting level, I would recommend that students make as many relationships as possible with teachers and other students. Though a student taking Latin would have no reason to talk with the Spanish teacher, it is really worth the time to get to know all of the teachers.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The academics were always engaging. I never had to learn through rote memorization; classes made me to think deeply, starting from the very beginning of Freshman year. In all courses, from math to history, St. Andrew's focuses on getting students to think about relationships, backgrounds, and processes, in addition to central facts. It was admittedly difficult, but academically I grew so much more when my teachers challenged my points and pushed me to explain myself. Despite the difficulty, however, academics always have a lively atmosphere, and teachers are eager to provide help when needed. Students work together (when it is allowed; both students and faculty take academic integrity very seriously), and they don't brag about grades or try to "beat" one another. St. Andrew's also has a unique focus on writing, which was invaluable in my transition to college academics. Few other schools expect the same level of depth and polish from students' written work.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Because there is not a physical education class in the academic day, all students participate in a sport for at least one season every year (many participate for three seasons, but everyone must have some sort of afternoon activity). Sports, therefore, always feel very inclusive, and I would have been comfortable playing on any team. Students are never cut from JV teams, and additional teams are formed if necessary. I was never very interested in athletics, but I still had a really enjoyable experience. At the same time, St. Andrew's is also competitive in a pretty wide range of sports, so students looking for a more rigorous athletic experience can definitely find that as well. They also just opened a new field house, which has a new weight room and multiple basketball courts and squash courts, among other facilities.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
The level of instruction in the visual arts programs was incredible. Of course, some of the students were naturally talented, but my teachers always managed to approach the notoriously slippery subject of art in a way that made sense and helped me to improve. There are multiple gallery openings of student work every year, and a large portion of the school participates in the visual art program, despite the fact that only one year of art is required. Similarly, the orchestra and jazz band programs are surprisingly large given the school's size. The program is home to a diverse range of skill levels; I was certainly not the best cellist in the orchestra, but I was able to participate in a fun and dedicated group of musicians. Students have the option of joining the choral scholars, an a cappella group, or participating in open mic night. Private music lessons, for instruments and for voice, are also available. The theatre program hosts a wide variety of productions, including contemporary plays, classic plays, and musicals. As with athletics, all students are welcome in any production.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
A lot students at St. Andrew's participate in extra-curricular community service, though it is not mandatory. There are a number of different service opportunities, including tutoring, mentoring, and swimming with students from Middletown with disabilities. Clubs are very flexible, and students can form them and join them as they please.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life was always a lot of fun. All seniors live on underclassman dorms, so everyone develops a close bond with the older students; RLs (residential leaders) and other seniors are responsible for getting underclassmen to brush their teeth and get into bed, as well as for monitoring nightly study halls (with teacher supervision). The seniors always feel like a really important part of dorm life, which is fun for both older and younger students. Dorm life gets increasingly relaxed as students get older and they become more responsible for making good decisions regarding their time; younger students are urged more to go to bed, whereas older students have more freedom to make their own schedules.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Family-style lunches, with one family-style dinner every week, were a great way to meet new people. This included both students in other classes, as well as faculty with whom students would probably otherwise never interact. There are always plenty of healthy options with a full salad bar and vegetarian alternatives.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Middletown, DE is very small, and St. Andrew's is somewhat removed from the town center. It has, however, grown a lot in the past few years, and it offers anything a student would reasonably need.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Everyone at St. Andrew's feels like they belong; there is no social exclusion, and almost all students come to social events like Prom or major sports games. The atmosphere of community extends to all situations, and this includes the way students approach social life. Cliques and bullying are never an issue.
|7:30 AM||Check in for breakfast|
|8:15 AM||Classes begin, normally with one or two free periods in a day|
|12:15 AM||Sit-down lunch starts, after 5 class periods|
|1:15 PM||Classes resume|
|3:15 PM||Classes end after 8 periods (normally, unless a double-period lab is scheduled)|
|4:00 PM||Afternoon activity (sports practice, play practice, etc.)|
|5:30 PM||Cafeteria-style dinner begins|
|8:00 PM||Study hall|
|10:00 PM||On-dorm time|
|10:30 PM||Lights out for Freshmen (later for older students)|
|7:30 AM||Check in for breakfast|
|8:15 AM||Classes begin|
|11:15 AM||Cafeteria-style brunch|
|1:00 PM||Afternoon activity (sports practice, play practice, etc.)|
|3:00 PM||Downtime (trips into town, hanging out on the lawn)|
|5:30 PM||Cafeteria-style dinner|
|8:00 PM||Dances, bonfires, trips to the movies|
|10:30 PM||Check in time on dorm|
|11:00 PM||In-room time|
|11:30 PM||Lights out|
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