Portsmouth Abbey School - Review #3

Portsmouth Abbey School
5

About the Author:

College Enrolled Tufts University
Home Town, State (Country) Newport, RI
Years Attended Boarding School 4
Activities During Boarding School I played varsity girls squash for Portsmouth Abbey for four years and was captain of the team for my junior and senior years. I ran cross country, played tennis, managed the varsity football team, and did community service for two terms. I was also a head of the Red Key tour guide society my senior year and was chosen as one of two Valedictorians for the class of 2016.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Portsmouth Abbey is located right alongside Narragansett Bay. The location sets it apart from any other schools because of all the unique opportunities of a bayside campus. On any given warm spring or fall day you can be sure to see students swimming or going on nature walks in Biology and Marine/Environmental Science. Another unique aspect of Portsmouth Abbey is the community; it has hands down one of the most kind and welcoming environments for high school.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best thing that happened to me in high school was not necessarily something overt. I really grew as a person and the culmination of that growth was really giving the commencement address to my peers on graduation day. When I started I was a shy fourteen year old with no real ambitions in life. Yet, by graduation day I was comfortably standing in front of hundreds of people and I had a clear understanding as to what I want to do and who I want to be.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
If I could do anything differently, it would be to really take full advantage of everything the school has to offer. There's a lot of things I didn't do or try until my senior year (such as free skate in the hockey rink, or jumping off the dock at the bay) that I wish I had done earlier. As Andy Bernard and the class of 2015 like to say, "I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you've actually left them."
4.) What did you like most about your school?
My favorite part about boarding school was meeting people from all over the world. For example, there was a girl on the squash team my freshmen year from Beijing, China. We became good friends and she invited me to come to Beijing over March break. So, I went and got to explore a foreign city with a close friend. There are so many stories like this and even now after having graduated there's hardly anywhere I can travel to without knowing someone from my time at the Abbey.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Maureen who works in the dining hall is a gem, I would get to know her. Every half day she would make me the "Claire special" of grilled flatbread cut into these little triangles to dip in hummus. But really, I would recommend stepping outside of your comfort zone and talking to new people, it's rarely disappointing at the Abbey.

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The academics at Portsmouth Abbey were both rigorous and rewarding. I was often shocked with my own abilities when teachers asked a lot of me and I was able to deliver. The Abbey boast it's rigorous academics but I think it's also important to note that the teachers are willing to go out of their way to help you in any way possible. For example, I can't even remember how many times teachers of mine held review sessions in their houses on campus while they made snacks or cooked a meal. Looking back, I attribute so much personal growth to the teachers at Portsmouth Abbey for their unwavering support and belief in me as a student.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The athletics at Portsmouth Abbey are really what you make of them. If you are very good at a particular sport, there are competitive varsity teams. If you're not into sports but looking to start something new, there's JV and JVB teams for instructional purposes. My freshmen year at the Abbey I ran cross country after never having run more than a mile or two in my whole life. The team was awesome, and I met a bunch a people who went on to be my friends all throughout school. Whereas, I also played squash competitively and started my freshmen year on the Abbey varsity squash team and that too was great.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Although I never got to participate in any of the theatre productions, the school dresses up and goes to the plays every term. They are incredible. One of my favorite Abbey memories was sitting in the audience of the winter musical watching in awe one of my best friends belt out lyrics to Shrek.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
For two terms at the Abbey I participated in an independent community service project called Rhody Squash. The abbey supported me while I went to volunteer coach/tutor at an urban squash program. There are also many other ways to get involved on campus and off. As for clubs and other extracurricular opportunities, there are so many to chose from. There's anything from the ping pong club to the culinary club and I'm pretty sure there was even a "jorts" (jean-shorts) club at one point. The point is, if you're interested in something there's probably a club for it, and if not you can start one very easily.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
I was a day student and I always felt included in the dorm life. Each day student is assigned to a specific dorm every year where there is a day student room with lockers. The Abbey does a great job integrating day and boarding students and I never once thought I was missing out on anything by going home at the end of the day.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining hall had many options and my favorite times were the themed days. For example, we had a stir fry bar one day and of course the International Student dinner.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The Abbey is right alongside Narragansett Bay. The campus is absolutely beautiful and boasts water access and many facilities. It's also about 20 minutes from Newport, Rhode Island, one of the hottest vacation destinations in the world.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The social life was inclusive. I chose Portsmouth Abbey because when I toured I noticed that everyone was genuinely nice and outgoing. The social life is the same, everyone is just nice. There were many social activities such as Tuck dances and movie nights. My favorite social event was a dorm vs. dorm dodgeball tournament where we all dressed up in dorm colors and played for glory (my team won).

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
8:15 AMClasses begin
10:30 AMconference period begins
12:00 AMTwo lunch periods, both around midday
3:00 PMClasses end on a normal day (not half day)
3:30 PMsports/extracurricular activities
6:00 PMDinner
8:00 PMstudy hall begins
10:00 PMstudy hall ends
Weekend

Alumni Reviews
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  • Review Description
  • Arcadia University
    At Portsmouth Abbey School, the community is so engrained with basic Benedictine values that are so evident in the vibe of the campus. When yo was around everyone says hi to each other and is. . .
  • Bowdoin College
    One thing that makes us unique from other schools is our religious aspect. We were founded by a Benedictine Catholic monastery that still is active, and it influences campus life. We have mass every Sunday. . .
  • Tufts University
    Portsmouth Abbey is located right alongside Narragansett Bay. The location sets it apart from any other schools because of all the unique opportunities of a bayside campus. On any given warm spring or fall day. . .
  • Ohio State University
    Portsmouth Abbey, located on the gorgeous Rhode Island coast overlooking Narragansett Bay is alone in its communal culture. While other boarding schools offer the same aspects of community, I maintain that Portsmouth Abbey creates a. . .
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