Virginia Episcopal School - Review #4
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2009-2013|
|Sports and Activities:||I ran cross country, wrestled, played baseball, ran track, and was on the cycling team. I sang in the musical for 1 year and worked the lights for the other 2 years, I played the saxophone for 2 years in the musical ensemble, was on the school robotics team, the Quiz Bowl team, and student council. I was also captain of the cross country team and on the school honor committee and counselor body.|
|College Enrolled:||University of Virginia|
|Home Town, State:||Bedford, VA|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Virginia Episcopal School (VES) does an excellent job of fusing the roles of teachers into mentors, advisers, and friends. Any given teacher I had would approach me outside of class to ask about homework, how I was doing, how my sports or extracurriculars were going, etc. I don't think many other schools offer this close relationship between teachers and students. Some of the best times of my high school experience was hanging out with the school's Chaplin on Thursday night discussing everything from God to 1950's automobiles. The teachers were also literally always available. While studying for AP Chem, my Chemistry teacher made himself available to me every week and weekend night leading up to the exam, even if that meant dropping by his house after school hours. I feel like VES put a strong emphasis on developing you as a person more so than grades or getting into college. By requiring me to do sports and extracurriculars, I got well outside of my comfort zone and tried a lot of different things, most of which I wouldn't be doing if it wasn't for VES. I feel like that emphasis is really important as you're growing older and while there are certain things I didn't like or didn't agree with all the time at VES, the teachers and coaches were constantly pushing me and challenging me outside the classroom which I appreciate a lot now.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best thing VES did for me was make me a well rounded person. It's not an immediately recognizable trait in someone or a specific skill but thanks to VES I'm now just as comfortable on the sports field as in the classroom. I'm not afraid of speaking up or taking a leadership role but am also fine deferring to authority. That's because VES allowed me and gave me the opportunities to excel in things I was best at and experiment with new things. I have new found respect for people of all walks of life with all kinds of skills just because I was exposed to them or tried them out while in high school. It allowed me to go into college with a better focus on the kind of person I wanted to be, what I wanted to carry through to the rest of my life, and what to study. All thanks to VES exposing me to a whole bunch of different things in a huge variety of fields.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
Don't stick to what you know. High school is a great time to do a whole variety of different things simply because you can. At every other point in time in your life getting involved is going to be a long and competitive process so take advantage of the fact that you're at a boarding school that will let you pursue your passions and your interests without judgement.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The people, both teachers and students. They've had a hugely meaningful impact on my life and I still stay in touch with a good portion of my teachers and high school classmates which I don't think many other people do.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Explore the school. There's cool nooks and crannies all over the place.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Academics were challenging enough to be interesting but certainly not so over the top that you had time for nothing else. Teachers knew a typical VES student is involved in a lot of things so they were very accommodating about deadlines and workloads. While I did pull a few late nights, I never felt like I was being pushed to a breaking point. The teachers were generally realistic about what they expected from you and made class enjoyable with lots of participation and group work especially in the higher AP classes and freshman classes. I was also able to pursue an independent study class where I could choose a topic of my choice and study it in depth for a semester or 2 and then present it to the faculty and students. This helped tremendously in transferring to a college atmosphere where all of your work is pretty much independent study. I feel like the transition in how classes are taught over the course of 4 years prepared me well for college. It began with regular assignments that got checked weekly and then slowly tapered into larger assignments due less regularly -- much like a college class would be.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Athletics were not my thing in high school. I didn't come into VES being a great athlete or passionate about any sport in particular. However, the coaches know that you are putting yourself out of your comfort zone by signing up for sports and so they are more than accommodating. My freshman year cross country coach helped me a lot in getting used to working out regularly and getting in shape. My favorite thing was definitely the open attitude coaches had as to who could sign up for their team. I signed up for baseball my senior year (having never played before) and the coach was ecstatic. He was incredibly enthusiastic about me being there so long as I worked hard and didn't screw around.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
The Visual Arts program is very much up and coming. We have a terrific Glee Club and Musical Ensemble led by an incredibly talented singer and the plays are always a lot of fun. VES offers AP Music Theory and often has impromptu jam sessions outside after class and on weekends. I didn't take many art classes but I've heard good things about our programs as a whole.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
VES gives you the opportunity to be involved in practically anything. I was able to join an incredibly diverse range of clubs/leadership opportunities with the teachers support me along the way. Plus, if you want to start a club, you can almost always find a faculty member to back you up or sponsor it in some way. There's extracurriculars for practically anything and lots of leadership roles within those activities as well. Being a Counselor and on the Honor Committee are perhaps the two most "prestigious" positions where you are literally the figureheads of the school in dorm life and in upholding our honor system.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
I didn't live on dorm but I always found the environment to be a good balance of fun and work/study. There's a mandatory study hall in the evenings when the dorms are kept generally quiet which gives everybody time to get their homework done without distractions. Even if you don't have homework or schoolwork of any kind you can find something quiet to do and occupy your time which is a nice respite after a long day. After study hall most people come out of their rooms to socialize and hang out which is always fun and where most of the "boarding school stories" come from.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Lynchburg is a pretty small/quiet town but there's plenty to do especially if you like being outdoors. Lots of really great hiking, fishing, and trails less than 10 minutes from VES. There's also a pretty good movie theater, mall, shopping, etc. about 20 minutes (if that) away. It's obviously not New York or anything but there are plenty of opportunities to have fun and hang out with people.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
I liked most the way everybody hung out together. There were definite groups of people that stuck together but in general nobody had a problem hanging out with anybody else. It created a very open culture where you weren't afraid to do something because your "type" of person didn't do it. The athletes were in the plays, the robotics team was on the wrestling squad, that sort of thing. The small size meant you have to like most everybody or at least respect them. Most people felt this way so they were pretty open to being friends with everybody even if that meant looking stereo-typically weird or uncool.
|8:00 AM||1st Period|
|9:45 AM||Second Period|
|10:45 AM||Third Period|
|12:00 AM||Afternoon classes|
|8:00 PM||Study Hall|
|8:00 AM||Sporting event or school activity|
|3:00 PM||Hanging out with friends|
|5:00 PM||Dinner out, movie, mall, etc.|
|7:00 PM||School sponsored night event/sports/something else|
Alumni Reviews Review School
- Review Description
- Sewanee The University of the South The relationship formed between faculty and students is one that nobody who doesn't go to VES will understand. I feel more than comfortable to go to faculty with my struggles and get advice, and in. . .
- Wake Forest University The faculty/student interactions are like no other. I would regularly "hang out" with my teachers, go to dinner with them, etc. They are much more than teachers and fully devote themselves to the students. I. . .
- University of California, Santa Barbara What I valued most about VES was the small community that was formed between students and faculty. Our teachers became our friends, and I don't think this type of community can be found anywhere else. . .
Do you like large schools or small schools? Are you most comfortable in a city, small town or countryside? Are you interested in attending a school that has a religious or military orientation? Would you like to attend a school that is only for boys or girls? These are some questions you must ask yourself before you begin your search for the right U.S. boarding school for you.
Here then are a dozen boarding schools which charge approximately $20,000 per year or less for tuition, room and board.
A boarding school is a business. Is your business on brand?