Westtown School - Review #27
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2007-2011|
|Sports and Activities:||Varsity Soccer (3 years), Varsity Swimming (3 years), Track and Field (2 years), Varsity Lacrosse (2 years), Lacrosse Captain in 2011, Orchestra (3 years), Jazz Band (1 year), Business Club (2 years), Student Leader (2 years)|
|College Enrolled:||Wheaton College (MA)|
|Home Town, State:||Philadelphia, PA|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
What I feel separates Westtown from other schools is the community. Regardless of ethnicity, religion, or socioeconomic class, people love and accept you for who you are. It's near impossible to not fit in immediately, and by the end of your time at Westtown you quickly realize that, students and teachers alike, have become your friends and second family. Another aspect that really stands out is how the school embraces Quaker values and upholds them to the highest regard. Initially, I was afraid of having another religion imposed on me. As I continued to attend the school, however, I soon understood that it wasn't the religion itself that was being ingrained into each student but rather the values of honesty, integrity, and community. With each passing year I continue to find applicable situations in my life in which each of the three values fits in. My outlook on life has been changed for the better as a result.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
There was no specific thing that I can single out for being the best thing to happen to me, rather, attending Westtown was the best thing that's happened to me. As cliche as it is, the school changed my life. I entered 9th grade a shy, lazy, and lackluster kid. I never worked up to my full potential and did not care for sports as much as I did for computer games. Fast forward to when I was a senior and the changes were incredible. I became a student leader, captain of my sports team, and a social extrovert. Everything task I take on is done at 110% and there is no challenge I deem too big.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
The one thing I wish I had done differently was to be myself. I tried so hard to be the person I thought people wanted me to be that it affected how I behaved. I couldn't be the naturally extroverted and happy person I was because I was always trying to hard to impress all these new people. My advice is to just be yourself. If you're afraid of being "weird", don't. Everybody is a little "weird" in their own ways. That's what makes Westtown so unique; the different characters and personalities. People will love you for who you are.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
Once again, I can't really pick one thing out in particular, but if I had to choose one I am leaning towards it would have to be the people and community as a whole. There are so many intangible life lessons I learned from simply meeting different people, and I was able to find my true self because everyone accepted me for me.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Come in with an open mind. The campus is beautiful and the people are incredibly friendly. Don't be intimidated that it's a boarding school or that it's so isolated. There's always some small thing going on that brings life to the place. Check out the new science center with it's 3D printer or head over to the greenwood and walk down the beautiful natural auditorium; a walk that could take place in your shoes.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The academic structure puts a lot of emphasis on critical thinking and the implementation of all subjects as a collective group. Each class is small enough in size to the point where class discussions and debates are a regular event. Teachers teach fewer lectures as they let students discuss their most recent assignments and try to delve into the deeper meaning of things. The most important thing for me about the academics at Westtown was the individual relationships I was able to create with teachers. If I ever struggled in a class I was never afraid to ask for help. The individual attention I was able to receive really helped me set my feet in a strong academic foundation that then allowed me to rise to my fullest potential both in high school and college.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The primary focus of athletics at Westtown is to help students expand their boundaries and create strong bonds with their teammates as well as showing exemplary sportsmanship. While sports is mandatory during a student's time at Westtown, the competitiveness of each sport at every level is noteworthy. Several coaches are teachers as well, but that has not stopped several teams from seeing frequent success each year.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Westtown offers a band, jazz band, orchestra, and choir. Each season the music groups perform a concert whilst students interested in the theatre program are able to showcase their love and talent for acting by putting on plays and musicals. Students can take private music lessons and take classes in pottery, studio art, or photography. My favorite aspect of the arts at Westtown was the ability of each teacher to create a course schedule for the year that allowed students of various skill levels to learn and develop as well as be challenged.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
At Westtown each student is required to fulfil 40 hours of service work in order to graduate. While this seems like a lot to do, the school provides students with many opportunities to help around campus or in neighboring communities in order to fulfill these requirements. A student may even choose to do service as their afternoon extracurricular rather than partaking in sports. As far as student organizations go, clubs are a large part of the makeup of the school. There are a variety of different student organizations ranging from student leaders to religious groups and students taking initiative against bullying. There is an extra-curricular activity for everyone.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Living on dorm is a surreal experience. At first it can be somewhat intimidating but being in one place with all of your peers helps you acclimate much faster to living at school. The part about being on dorm that I loved most was the bond I created with the rest of the guys in my class. Truthfully, I didn't know to many of the guys who were day students through 9th and 10th grade. I never even really wanted to get to know them. Being on dorm with them changed everything. I realized how well we all got along regardless of where we came from. By the time graduation rolled around these guys I lived with became my brothers.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Westtown's dining arrangements are definitely unique. There's no assigned seating, but because the school is so small and the community is so close knit people change tables and sit with different people on a daily basis. Each day the food selection is different and at times the international students will cook food from their home countries. My favorite part about going to meals was the atmosphere of the dining hall. When meals were in full swing the place came alive; there were conversations, laughter, and smiles everywhere you looked.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The area around Westtown is absolutely perfect for the school. The thing you notice immediately is how isolated the school is. With over 600 acres of land and family-friendly towns, Westtown is perfect for nurturing budding students. Philadelphia is also very close by so students who enjoy the city can go out on weekends and have fun as well. For me, the seemingly endless woods and large fields of grass were what I fell in love with. Having been born and raised in the city it was nice to be able to go for long walks and enjoy nature. The serenity of the surroundings is impeccable and almost feels like a place out of a movie.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The nice thing about living at school was being able to be with my friends 24/7. Granted, at times I would need a break from them, I could hang out and have fun when I wanted and I could have somebody hear me out and be a shoulder to lean on if I needed it. There were always things for me to do, and having so much land made it possible for me to go out and lay on the grass under the sun or play soccer with my friends. I couldn't put my finger on one thing about the social life I enjoyed most because every aspect of Westtown's social atmosphere was amazing and provided me with opportunities to create life long friendships.
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