Chatham Hall - Review #1
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||1999-2003|
|Sports and Activities:||I competed on the riding team on a national level, going to horse shows throughout the country...Chatham Hall enabled me to compete enough to be nationally ranked (in the top 20% in the country) in my respective division. I was active in many clubs including the computer guild, FOCUS, St. Mary's Chapel altar guild, etc.|
|College Enrolled:||Hollins University|
|Home Town, State:||Camden, SC|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Chatham Hall can be summed up perfectly in the Graduation speech I gave on May 31st, 2003:I always thought magic was something reserved strictly for Walt Disney movies and the Harry Potter novels that my roommate sophomore year used to read aloud to me. Never did I believe in my wildest dreams that magic could actually exist, nor that it would become a large part of my life. Chatham Hall is the most magical place I have ever been. I have always loved Chatham Hall—but I haven’t always experienced the magic that it had to offer. So I ask you to go back in time with me 2 years. It's late spring and there has been a tremendous thunderstorm—my roommate looks over at me from her desk chair, smiles a coy smile and says, “Lydia it has just stormed cats and dogs”…her smile slowly turns into a huge grin that consumes her entire face as she says, “Would you like to go jump in puddles?” This may sound quite childish, but jumping in puddles that night would forever change my life…as that night I discovered for the first time that magic is real if you simply believe. And, so out into the warm night we went. We ran, we danced, and best of all we jumped in the biggest puddles Chatham Hall had to offer. I don’t really know the reason why my soaking wet roommate and I knocked on the door of the rectory that spring evening, but what we found there touched a part of me like nothing else ever has. Little did we know that it was not a relaxing casual evening that night…instead, it was a semi-formal reception being held for the class of 1951. Rather than sending us away into the night, Mrs. Shaw offered us great hospitality and invited us to stay. As we walked into the living room our drenched tennis shoes sloshed on the pristine carpets. We clearly did not fit in, but yet we found ourselves sitting on the floor for hours listening to the stories of the Class of 1951. Though perhaps the fashions have changed since 1951, and some of the stresses we have in our day-to-day lives are slightly different, I was amazed at how I was able to relate to almost every single story that was told that evening. As a horseback rider, I recall clearly one story in particular that the former bit-n-spur president told that evening. Immediately after she had been inducted in bit-n-spur her family found that they could no longer afford her hobby of riding. To her, riding was her reason for living. So her devastation was completely understandable. She told of how she cried for days, and then one day out of the blue the rector at the time called her into his office. He said that he had overlooked a scholarship that Chatham Hall had for one rider, and that they had decided that she would be the perfect candidate. No such scholarship really existed at the time, and deep down, this girl knew that what was being presented to her wasn’t money from an endowment: it was Chatham Hall reaching out its arms and embracing her, and supporting her in pursuing her passion in life.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Boarding school prepared me for college academically and socially. The friends I made at Chatham will be the friends I have for the rest of my life. When I see myself getting married 10 years down the road, It is my "Chatham Girls" that will be my bridesmaids-- not my college friends.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would've stayed in touch with friends from home better, and tried a variety of things my freshman year.
4.) What would you never want to change about your school?
the single sex enviornment
5.) What things could be improved about your school?
A more open mind about students discussing controversial issues on a personal basis. Controversial issues could publically be discussed in speeches and debates, but it was looked down on if a person used a personal example in their life of an issue to support the topic in a public speech.
6.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Bring quarters and lamps...and don't skip chapel.
1.) What did you like best about your schools academics?
The small class sizes. Teachers were on an individual basis with students, and gladly gave private tutoring. Chatham Hall's science department is unique and offered specialized courses such as veterinary science. Vet sci. allowed small groups (no more than 2 people per group) to dissect cats, witness an equine embriotic transfer, learn hands on how to control animals, etc. The class was a perfect introduction to what one would find at the college level, and was more individualized than most vet science classes that a first or second year student would be able to take.
2.) What did you like least about the academics in your school?
1.) What did you like best about your schools athletics?
They were designed to allow athletes to fulfill their individual goals no matter what the level of the goal was.
2.) What did you like least about the athletics in your school?
It is required that students play a "teamsport" for at least 2 days a week at least one trimester a year. This took away from my intense riding training. But, it gave me the opportunity for the first time in my life to play a team sport (I played lacrosse).
1.) What did you like best about your schools art program?
Individualized instruction, and use of very nice art resources in and out of classes.
2.) What did you like least about your schools art program?
The dance program is focused on modern and ballet, I would have enjoyed being able to pursue my tap, clogging, lyrical, and jazz dancing.
1.) What did you like most about the extracurricular activities offered at your school?
There were tons of opportunities for students to do ANYTHING that they wanted outside of the classroom.
2.) What did you like least about the extracurricular activities offered at your school?
Some activities were required, and took away from personal interests.
1.) What was the best thing about dorm life in your school?
The dorms are BEAUTIFUL-- complete with rooms with hardwood floors. The community on the dorms is very close-knit and girls learn how to get along in a group setting while maintaining a sense of community (which colleges tend to lack).
2.) What did you like least about dorm life?
That roommates had to be in your grade.
1.) What was the best thing about your dining arrangements?
There was always a variety and they took requests seriously. I requested blood oranges, and we had blood oranges available a few times a year. A friend requested a roast and each individual table had their own roast at the annual Christmas dinner.
2.) What did you like least about your dining arrangements?
A lot of the meals were carb-oriented.
1.) How welcome did you feel by the other students when you first arrived at the school
I was very welcomed when I first arrived, and I felt I fit in very well.
2.) Describe the level of diversity and integration of students in your school:
The school is mostly white, with a few african-americans and a few asian students. Students from various backgrounds (racial, class, geographical, etc) all tended to be integrated in various social groups. Social groups were not cliques. But, students tended to "hang out" with students who shared some similar interests and values.
3.) Describe typical fun activities you did on a weekend:
I usually went to horse shows throughout the country on weekends. Or went into Danville, stayed on campus and painted, watched DVDs with friends, etc. Weekends at Chatham are like a giant slumber party.My boyfriend used to come take me out to lunch or dinner or to see a movie on weekends, or I would leave for the weekend.
4.) What was the town like?
Yes, the town was a VERY tiny town. Students were allowed to walk to town in groups of two or more after the academic day and had to return by dark. There were a few small shops and a few places to get a variety of foods (pizza, ice cream, a diner, and mexican). There was a smaller shopping center within 7 minutes that faculty often drove students to. It had a grocery store, drug store, fast food, a video rental store, etc. Within 30 minutes was Danville. Faculty tended to take students into Danville on weekends to see movies, eat dinner, go bowling, play putt-putt, go to the mall, etc.
Alumni Reviews Review School
- Review Description
- Yale University The most important facet of life at Chatham Hall is the strong sense of community. At atmosphere of care, trust, and kindness is the foundation upon which our school is built. This makes. . .
- Texas Christian University Chatham Hall's advisor program is something really unique that has been so helpful to me - one of the best parts about my experience here actually. Students select an advisor and the groups meet twice. . .
- University of Richmond I feel like our school's Honor Code is stronger than any other school I came across when I was researching schools to possibly attend. It makes for a more trusting and tight knit community. I was. . .
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