The Thacher School - Review #7
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2011-2015|
|Sports and Activities:||I participated in a lot of clubs at Thacher. I played soccer, rock climbing, tennis, and football. I also was able to pursue my own projects such as making a movie or directing a musical. I was a head tour guide and a freshman prefect.|
|Home Town, State:||Tokyo, CA|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
The most obviously unique aspect of Thacher are the horses. Every freshman is assigned a horse for the year. The freshman must then care for the horse as well as spending most days after school riding. It really builds a sense of responsibility, and the bond you create with the horse is nothing to be scoffed at. It's definitely a once in a lifetime experience, and one that I cherish. But perhaps the really unique thing about Thacher is the environment. Ojai is a beautiful city, if a little small. There's something about being in an isolated environment like that gives you the chance to get really close the community.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Thacher is an incredible community. I honestly believe there's nowhere else like it. I know I grew so much as a person during my time there. Through the outdoor program and rock climbing and horseback riding, I gained a deep appreciation for the outdoors. Through my teachers, I became a more thoughtful person. And most importantly, I gained a set of friends that I would easily trust with my life.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
Boarding school is scary. It's a big change, and there's some aspects that are really hard when you once move there. As a freshman prefect, I saw a lot of kids go through stages of homesickness. That being said, Thacher is very good at making you feel welcome. The guys you live with quickly become family, and a lot of the freshman gets assimilated very quickly. My advice- jump into it. Explore, take risks, and see Thacher as the wacky, crazy place as it is. It makes it a lot easier.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The community. There's something about that school that makes me feel like I'm home. It's beautiful, the people are interesting and nice, and the friends I made there are lifelong. That paired with a good academic preparation for college is a pretty good combination. Thacher isn't perfect, far from it, but I don't regret a second for going.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
The outdoor chapel is absolutely beautiful- especially at sunset. Explore Ojai, because it holds a couple of hidden gems. There's a couple secret rooms you can find, but that's for you to discover. Food gets better in the dining hall when alumni or parents come. Buy a nice blanket.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
With such a small school, you can really get to know the teachers. I still message my teachers for advice, and some of them will probably be life-long mentors for me. That type of connection with your educator is something I think is really special.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Our athletic program is small because we're a small school. I really did like that kids could try out pretty much any of the sports. I went in freshman year without knowing anything about American Football but I was still welcomed into the freshman team. My primary sport was rock climbing, where I formed my favorite memories in high school.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Our arts program have grown into a pretty extensive and impressive program. Same as sports, I like that most students can pursue their interests regardless of their experience. I directed a musical my senior year, which gave me a really good insight into the community, and it was one of the most valuable experiences of my life. In general, we have a jazz band, a string ensemble, a chamber choir, and the school puts on one play, one musical, and one student-produced production every year.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
We have a lot of extra-curriculars. Having an after-school activity was mandatory, which made people explore a lot of different options. My senior year, I volunteered at the nearby preschool to entertain the kids who's parents are busy til hours after school ends. I was also granted an Independent Project in documentary filmmaking, and other people have got projects in anything you can think of. There's also clubs such as the Robotics Club, Pack Saddles and Track, along with a high concentration on camping and other outdoor activities.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life is pretty fun. The Dorms are split with genders and grade level, and the people you live with ends up forming an incredible bond with you. The dorms are recently renovated and all pretty nice. All underclassmen are assigned a prefect, who holds "munchouts" where they give you advice and food.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Our dining hall is fairly small. We had formal dinners four times a week, where people would get dressed up. The quality of food ranged from below-average to pretty good, but it was always adequate. The best part was probably the soft-serve machine along with the 24/7 access to fresh fruit.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Ojai, the town around Thacher, is tiny. It's a little constricting at times, but it's honestly a pretty charming town. It's a getaway spot for a lot of hollywood stars so there's a lot of delicious and charming restaurants, along with a couple good coffee shops for working. The school also provided buses 1-3 times a term that let us spend a night out in Santa Barbra.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The social life at our school was pretty good. So removed and isolated, the prevalence of drugs and alcohol is honestly incredibly low. This leads to a lot of good genuine friendships. The weekends can be boring at times, but the school does a good job in hosting entertaining activities.
Alumni Reviews Review School
- Review Description
- Pitzer College The tight knit community is a really rare quality at high schools in general but especially boarding schools. The relationships with teachers and students is so close and the fact that there is very few. . .
- University of Montana The horse department at Thacher is both unique and outstanding. Unique because the school strives to keep the cowboy culture alive with over 100 horses and a fully outfitted western riding center. It is outstanding. . .
- Yale I loved Thacher because of the deep, respectful, and genuine connections in the community. Students, faculty, and staff were all so supportive to ensure I was the happiest and most challenged I could be. During. . .
Several things make boarding school special. The learning, the community, the sports. All these and more.
A private school in its infancy is quite different from the mature community it becomes over time. I wonder what the founders of these five schools would think about them today. I bet they would be very proud of their creations.
Sending our children off to boarding school in the fall of 2020 raises questions about their safety and other corona virus issues. We address some of your concerns here.