Hill School - Review #1
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2014-2016|
|Sports and Activities:||I was a co captain of the wrestling team, a prefect in a junior and senior boys dorm, as well as the most advanced woodworking student by the time of my graduation. I took Jazz band for a couple months. I dropped the class not because it was awful, it simply wasn't a good fit for me.|
|College Enrolled:||Colorado Mesa University|
|Home Town, State:||Ridgway, CO|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
A smaller number of students attend the Hill School than most other boarding schools that I know of. This allows a more personal approach to be taken by the teachers and dorm parents, the Headmaster knows everyone by name. It's nickname is The Family Boarding School for a reason.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I grew in maturity. Not just in terms of being away from my parents, but being responsible for a hall of students and a team of athletes who looked to me for the example changed the way I look considered things and behaved. I am very proud that under the tutelage of the wrestling coaches I became good enough to take 3rd at state (the first and second placers weren't just nationally ranked wrestlers they were from nationally ranked teams). I am proud that with the help of my teachers I got enough AP credit to get me 23 college credits. I am proud that I was able to build an electric guitar from scratch. I am proud that I had an influence upon the woodworking program, inspiring students to join when they saw what I, and they by extension, are capable of. I am proud because I think that I had a positive influence on other students, and have been told that some of them have copied my style of perfecting. I think I became a much more confident person physically and mentally thanks to the Hill. It is truly a place of self improvement in so many ways. If you are willing to put in the work, the coaches and teachers are ready to guide you until you are astonished at what you can achieve.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
My advice is to go in without expectation, and to be friendly even if you're homesick. It's easy to make friends at Hill. I simply made an awful first impression, as I was sullen because of some personal events. My dad had also biased my opinion against the 'elite' kids that weren't on scholarship, and I had a shaved head and looked like a thug. It wasn't until my senior year, when most people had a chance to know me that I found out that many of them had initially thought I was a neo nazi or something of the sort.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
If you are willing to work hard, fantastic things will happen. The coaches and facilities are great. If you have an idea for a program, an event, a project, or a trip, you can go to a teacher and they will try to make it work. When I asked Mr Arthurs to help me make a guitar he hadn't made one either, but he said that he would help me if I did a few simpler projects first to acquire skills. It was refreshing to be in a place where people didn't just dream, they worked for their dreams.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Come out of your shell. Try new things, don't be afraid to talk to people. My years at Hill were truly some of the greatest of my life, and I matured from a boy to a man in a way I don't think I could've anywhere else. There are a lot of rules, but there are also a lot of loopholes to the rules, and thankfully the dorm parents and teachers in general enforce the meaning of the rule rather than the letter. I would recommend trying to contact your roommate before attending. Wendell and US Dorms are fairly central if you're an Upper Classmen. If you're a freshman, try for Dutch Village. Sophomore, Foster for boys and Rolfe for Girls.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
A great many options were available, you could pursue your interests. In general, the quality of the teachers was excellent especially in the more advanced classes. Additionally, all of the teachers live on campus and are available for extra help at least twice a week. If a student is struggling, it is very easy for him or her to get extra help. Additionally, the intellectual quality of the students attending is fantastic. I went to public school for three years before attending Hill, and one of the biggest differences was that the students at Hill are genuinely interested and engaged in the classes. It is simply a superior learning environment overall.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I thought it was excellent. I wouldn't have been able to attend without it, I essentially received a wrestling scholarship. Hill is competitive in a number of sports. Last year, four wrestlers placed at nationals from Hill, and our team placed 13th nationally. Our girls swimming team won Easterns. We are also competitive in many other sports like soccer, hockey, water polo, cross country, and track. This is especially impressive when you consider that we have less students, therefore a smaller talent pool to pour into the many many sports offered. I chalk it up to excellent coaching, and competitive dedication among the student body. Facilities are all top notch.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I had 0 experience as a woodworker before entering my senior year. By graduation, I built two electric guitars, a Gibson Les Paul style and a Gibson Explorer style. I cannot praise Mr. Arthurs or that program well enough. He can help you learn to make anything if you're willing to put in the time to acquire the skills. The jazz band was surprisingly good and well equipped, as was the standard orchestra. They were actually excellent bands, they just weren't my thing. I never personally had anything to do with choir, but they sang beautifully and one of my best friends and the other wrestling co captain led the mens half of the choir and loved the experience. The Theatre productions were incredibly well put together, I really wanted to take part in them but I couldn't because I was wrestling and spending every spare moment in the woodshop. They were truly a pleasure to watch. I never took a standard art class, but I was very impressed by the students paintings that were displayed.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
We had to take extracurricular activities, which was annoying to some, but many were over in an hour or less. I appreciated the level of diversity in the choices. For the serious athletes, there's weightlifting programs in the off season. For the musically inclined there are guided study. There is an excellent debate team, an excellent woodshed, a fantastic theatre crew, and I suspect there are extracurriculars offered for more conventional art like painting. There are work studies, if you have an idea that you wish to pursue not addressed by an existing program. For example, I nearly took a work study for the purpose of weaving the Ulster Cycle of Gaelic Mythology into a single narrative in the vein of the Illiad, but chose not to because I disliked the professor I would've had to answer to. If you have an idea, or would like to do something not offered already, Hill is very flexible.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
I loved the dorm life, because I was lucky enough to get great roommates. In large part its quality will depend on that, but after the first year you get to pick your roommate fixing that problem. I became really close with my dorm, and we managed to keep a good balance between fun and work. I disliked the lights out policy as an under former, but it isn't enforced vicariously thankfully. You can't have mini fridges in your room unless you are a prefect or are rooming with a prefect but there are fridges in the common rooms that you can use. You aren't supposed to have TVs in your room, but we got a projector and hooked it up to computers and they let it slide. The dorm parents I lived with were fantastic people.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
There are seated meals with assigned seats, but they are only for lunch (except for dinners on Tuesday nights). Otherwise you can sit where you want. There is always a wide variety of food available, with special meals made for vegetarians and those with dietary problems such as lactose intolerance. I thought the food was fantastic in general.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
There are several restaurants across the street from campus and during certain hours you could walk out to them, or order a delivery. In the town immediately adjacent to the school, there wasn't too much else to do. There were trips to a nearby movie theater, a Playhouse, The King of Prussia Mall (I think it's the second biggest mall in America), skeet shooting trips, trips to concerts (though they prevented me from seeing Judas Priest in Allentown because it was a school night). Students can start trips, if there is something nearby they would like to do, a teacher can generally make it happen. There are also Ubers available.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The diversity. Aside from the obvious benefits of having people from different backgrounds and countries it ensured that there wasn't really anyone there without a friend. Being a sports scholarship kid from a poor background it was hard to relate to some of the other students' lives of luxury. They weren't snobs or mean or anything like that, I just didn't have a lot in common with most of them. But there were other scholarship kids that I count among my best friends in the world. It is a very accepting environment, I was friendly with most people I knew. I just had too different values to become truly close with most of my peers. Additionally, there are definitely cliques. I didn't enter Hill until junior year, and they were already formed. The people I really became close with were other students that showed up late to the party so to speak. I'd recommend starting as a freshman at Hill to avoid this.
|10:45 AM||open hour (did a lot of homework here)|
|3:30 PM||free time|
|4:15 PM||Wrestling or Lifting|
|9:00 AM||Homework/Free Time|
|10:00 AM||Wake up/Breakfast|
|11:00 AM||Hang out with friends, playing xbox or throwing frisbees|
|2:00 PM||Wrestling or Lifting|
|7:00 PM||Homework/Write Music/hang out with friends|
|8:00 PM||trip to movie theater or KOP Mall or skeet shooting|
|11:00 AM||Hang out and watch movies with roommate til we sleep|
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