The Leelanau School - Review #4

The Leelanau School

About the Author:

College Enrolled Oakland Community College
Home Town, State (Country) Bainbridge Island, WA
Years Attended Boarding School 2
Activities During Boarding School Sports! Ugh! I never had the desire to participate in sports but at boarding school you have no choice. I will admit I had fun! Tennis, cheerleading, aerobics (hey, it was the 80's) and an abundance of ski time! Two hours every day was spent in a sport. A great opportunity that Leelanau provided was culture. You had to get culture credits. There was always a list of different events you could go to; plays, musicals, symphony, Chinese acrobats. Trips to Interlochen School of Arts. Wish public schools had this kind of requirement.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Students come to boarding schools for all different reasons. College prep, life experience, broken homes, etc. I was failing in the public school system. I was just a number. Boarding school was not my choice but I made the best of my time there. I always say if I could go back to any time in my life, I would go back to my Leelanau days. This school saved me. I felt loved and appreciated. I have no experience with other boarding schools but Leelanau gave me the structure I needed. Class sizes were smaller so I was able to receive more attention from my teachers. Every day after school we had 20 mins of "school clean up" time. Straitening up the class rooms, vacuuming the halls, raking leaves around the school grounds, etc. We took pride in our school and wanted the place to look nice for prospective students. Every evening all the students were in study hall. You never had to worry what your friends were doing while you were studying because they were also studying. We had a wonderful campus with the Crystal River and Lake Michigan in our backyard. The environment was our classroom! A marine biology field trip to Bonaire (Dutch Antillies)! Boarding school provided so many opportunities! I loved my time at Leelanau!
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I met my future husband at Leelanau. We are about to celebrate 23 years of marriage. The most important thing I took away from Leelanau was the relationships. My teachers wanted me to succeed in life and they invested in me as well as the other students. I am still in contact with a few teachers, a dorm mom and the head master. Leelanau helped me to grow up.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
Embrace the time away from your family and invest in your future. No matter the reason for being there, take what you can to help you succeed.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
Overall, I loved the teachers, the sense of community and the lasting friendships I made.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
High school are the last years to be a kid. Do well in school but still enjoy yourself. Be kind to one another. Build solid relationships with other kids and just have fun!


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I went from a failing public school kid to an honor roll student. I liked the small class sizes and every day after school, the teachers were available in their class rooms for 30 minutes. Have a question about a math problem or an English assignment? Your teacher is waiting to help you. Teachers were also around during study hall time. Teachers expected a lot from you but they also gave their all to make sure you didn't fail.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Everyone had to participate in a sport. Leelanau had most all sports to chose from except football. I played tennis, was a cheerleader, did my aerobics wearing my leg warmers and my nose was always cold from all my time on the ski slopes.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I don't really remember much of a Visual Arts program. We must have had a Theatre Program because I remember seeing school plays. I wasn't very artistic so my focus was not on music or art.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
I don't remember student organizations that I might have been involved in but I do remember our forced volunteer/community service. We would meet with a park ranger to go do random service. I recall shoveling sand that had eroded through a fence, picking apples in an orchard, raking the grounds of a resort. We worked hard but had fun as we were with our friends.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life can be hard if your roommate is not much of a match. At least every quarter we got to change rooms. We had fun in the dorms though. Playing pranks on each other, making cookies in the kitchen, having spontaneous dance parties, etc. After call to dorms, we spent 20 mins cleaning the dorm common areas and the bathrooms. I made some real friends in my dorm. Girls I'm still in touch with 28 years later.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Dining arrangements were fine at Leelanau. Meals were the same time each day. Food was good. Sundays you had to wear your blue blazer for dinner. We did not have assigned seating so you could sit with your friends. The cooks became our friends. Food was good and on Sundays our Dean would make omelets to order. Yum!

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Leelanau school lucked out with the area around the school. Crystal River allowed us to canoe to town. So much fun! Lake Michigan was always an adventure and so beautiful throughout all the seasons. Glen Arbor was a cute little place to visit! The town is so different now but still beautiful.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
I liked how small the student body was. (80 coed students) You knew everyone. Students really got a chance to know their teachers. We were invited into their homes. We all became a big family!

Daily Schedule:

1:00 AMstudies
4:00 PMsports
7:00 PMstudy hall
8:00 AMcommunity service
9:00 AMchurch
12:00 AMfree time
7:00 PMevening activity

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • The Leelanau School Alumni #1
    Class of 2002
    5 Stars   2/21/2005
    Western Michigan University
    The setting of this school is absolutely amazing, sitting between the sleeping bear dunes with the crystal river running through campus. The small class sizes and small school size is a plus. . .
  • The Leelanau School Alumni #2
    Class of 2000
    5 Stars   10/5/2012
    Wayne State University
    I believe there are many different aspects of this school that make it unique. The small class size, the location, the access to teachers, and the hands-on approach to education and the variety of. . .
  • The Leelanau School Alumni #3
    Class of 1999
    5 Stars   10/5/2012
    Leelanau is a small school situated in the woodlands of Northern Michigan. It has an intimate atmosphere and very peaceful setting. . .
  • The Leelanau School Alumni #4
    Class of 1984
    5 Stars   10/5/2012
    Oakland Community College
    Students come to boarding schools for all different reasons. College prep, life experience, broken homes, etc. I was failing in the public school system. I was just a number. Boarding school was not my choice. . .
  • The Leelanau School Alumni #5
    Class of 1981
    5 Stars   10/5/2012
    Olivet College
    There is no doubt Leelanau located in the Sleeping Bear National Dunes is an incredible place to learn and be lucky enough to go to school. The school is amazing and do not take. . .
  • Show more reviews (2 reviews)
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