Westtown School - Review #12
About the Author:
|College Enrolled||Bard College|
|Home Town, State||Newtown Square, PA|
|Years Attended Boarding School||4|
|Activities During Boarding School||Westtown provided a variety of activities and clubs, and I chose to focus my energy on Amicus, also known as the yearbook. I participated in yearbook club all four years of high school, and was chief editor my senior year.|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
I considered Westtown School to be a home away from home for fourteen years. Part of what made my experience so special was the Quaker values that the education was based off of. Time for reflection, whether that was through meeting for worship, in class reflection time, or a moment of silence before a meal, is something I feel I could not have gotten elsewhere. Another core Quaker value is community, and Westtown emphasized the importance of community whenever possible, particularly stewardship to the community. I was given opportunities to be involved and have a voice in the Westtown community, the local community, and the international community.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best thing that happened to me at boarding school was finding a sense of independence. Though Westtown was very structured in its schedule and requirements, I found room to make decisions for myself and figured out how to deal with situations on my own in a responsible way. I also love the friends I made, and know that I will be close to them forever because I spent such an important time in life living under the same roof as them.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would advise incoming students to take advantage of all the opportunities you have to spend with your classmates, even the ones you are not close to. Taking the time to get to know them just makes your experience that much better.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I liked the sense of community. I always felt comfortable with the people around me.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Spend as much time on south lawn as you can! Whether that is playing volleyball or doing homework or hanging out with friends after lunch on a sunny day, south lawn is the place to be.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The academics at Westtown were rigorous but rewarding. My favorite part about my classes was that they were discussion based. Classrooms are set up so that there are tables instead of desks- everyone faces each other and this makes it easy to facilitate discussions. The teachers play an important role in leading the class and planning the lesson, but they know when to let the students take a hold of a conversation as well. There is a great balance between student led discussion and teacher led discussion.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I played soccer and lacrosse at the JV level during high school but never considered myself a talented athlete. Even so, the athletics program at Westtown was still an important part of my experience. I, and I'm sure many of my classmates would say the same, tried to make it to as many games as possible. Athletic events were community based.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I am currently majoring in Studio Arts at college, and Westtown's visual arts program gave me the opportunity to explore a wider variety of mediums than most schools, as well as prepare me for the rigorous studio work in college. Classes were focused and directed, with a lot of emphasis on technical skills when necessary, but I found that I also had ample time for self-directed work. I can't speak for the theatre and music departments, but the visual arts department and the teachers in it are phenomenal.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Westtown offered a lot of clubs, and many students were involved in them. There are also checkout periods after class, when students can participate in a checkout of their choosing. These include sports and other activities, such as gardening.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
The dorm life at Westtown was one of my favorite things about the school. Students are required to board junior and senior year, though many choose to board freshman and sophomore year as well. I only boarded my last two years, and would say those two years were the best I had at Westtown. I was always surrounded by my classmates, and made friends with people I would not normally have talked to. The community was much more tight knit on dorm, and the dorm heads were always fun to have around and helpful when there were issues between roommates or other problems on dorm.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
There is one dining hall on campus in the center of the main building, but the belfry also serves snacks. The dining room is set up family style, and students, faculty, and other visitors all eat together. People often stay in the dining hall past meal times just to talk, and if you are ever wondering where people are, it is a good place to check first.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
There is a marketplace within walking distance that students sometimes go to when the weather is warm. Pete's Produce farm is also on Westtown's campus, so students walk to Pete's to get a quick snack. Westtown is also about a five to ten minute drive from the center of West Chester.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Since Westtown is relatively small for a high school, most people know each other. It was nice to know just about everyone I passed in the hallway on a first name basis. One thing that I didn't like about the social life at Westtown was the divide between day students and boarding students. Everyone was friendly, and I definitely had friends who were boarding when I was a day student, but I still ended up eating meals and hanging out with other day students. When I started boarding this wasn't an issue and I became closer with students who had boarded all four years.
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