Avon Old Farms School - Review #3
About the Author:
|College Enrolled||Middlebury College|
|Home Town, State||Chicago, IL|
|Years Attended Boarding School||4|
|Activities During Boarding School||Theater, Avon Record (Editor in Chief), GSA (Founder), Society of St Brendan (Student rep), Riddlers, Sing-ed Beavers (co-founder), occasional community service|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
The physical campus is probably the most unique thing about it. There is nowhere that looks or feels like Avon and it instills the community with a sense of togetherness in ways that are often overlooked. The faculty, staff and students all grow and change with time, but TPR's architecture gives a feeling of solidity that I think helps people stay grounded in the day-to-day.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
It's hard to look back and make those kinds of judgments with any real certainty. I definitely pushed myself very hard when I was at Avon and I'm happy that I had some success in several different areas while I was there. Growing up on campus, the school has shaped who I am from an early age, so I'm not sure I can really pinpoint how from inside the bubble.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
Wouldn't change much that's applicable to a survey like this; my advice is to jump in wholeheartedly from the start regardless of how nervous or uncomfortable you feel. You get out what you put in and if you try to seclude yourself or reject the boarding school lifestyle, you'll only make matters worse. You'll be surrounded by good people who genuinely care, so try to accept them. The more time you spend with these people, the more comfortable you'll get.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
Community really is a rare thing. I went to a relatively small liberal arts school expecting the same sort of camaraderie you find at Avon and it just wasn't there. Being part of a group of people all pushing hard to reach their goals is special and I think that's what a lot of Avon alumni come to realize as time passes. There just aren't many places like it; the "brotherhood" is real.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
From my time on the faculty, I'd promote Diogenes as a good dorm. Mr. Rice is a fantastic dorm head with a great balance of compassion and discipline. As I said above, my advice would be to get involved. Join a couple clubs early on even if you're not sure whether you're interested in them. Go to varsity games. Don't lock yourself in your room playing video games 1st semester. You'll have plenty of time to play games later if you want to, but for now throw yourself into the community and see what you stick to.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I had a lot of great teachers and again, I think the architecture really helped set the mood in a way I didn't appreciate as a kid. The dark wood, the stone, the smell of the Quad classrooms really put you in a certain state of mind that I think re-enforced the value of learning. When I think about why I became an English major in college (which was not really my intent going in), a large part of it must be the string of great English teachers I had at Avon that instilled the value of thinking about stories and being able to articulate thoughts efficiently and uniquely.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I mostly did theater so I don't have much to add here, but a lot of my favorite moments come from varsity football, soccer and hockey games when virtually the whole school got together to create a fanbase that inevitably blew our rival's out of the water. Charging out of the woods together in tattered clothes like a bunch of madmen was an incredible experience.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Loved the people I worked with. Both are gone, but Robert Palmer and Gayle Robinson both pushed me harder than anyone else has and got performances out of me that I couldn't have imagined beforehand. The music facilities are certainly top-notch. Both the theater guys and the Riddlers provided really tight-knit sub-brotherhoods that are what Avon is all about.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
It's gone by the wayside, but Society of St Brendan with Mr. Beneski was an incredible thing and if I'd stuck around longer as faculty, I would've tried to bring it back. Thursday nights we'd go to the chapel with a pre-appointed topic (things like love, forgiveness, pride...semi-philosophical stuff or holidays if they were approaching) that someone would do a short presentation on and then we'd all just talk about it. It was the calm moment amidst the storm of Avon life and it was instrumental in me getting everything done without freaking out.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Porter's girls within 10 minutes was nice.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
It wasn't too cliche-y. There were groups of guys who gravitated toward each other and hung out a lot, but there was never any sort of real animosity between the various groups with different interests. Hockey players, singers, artists, and math studs all got along pretty seamlessly.
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