St. Paul's School - Review #1

St. Paul's School
5

About the Author:

College Enrolled Davidson College
Home Town, State (Country) Attleboro, MA
Years Attended Boarding School 4
Activities During Boarding School While I was at St. Paul's I participated in many of the club sports (club soccer and club hockey) as well as playing JV Baseball, and JV Football. Additionally, I was the MISH and ECO House Representative for my dorm (Manville). This position required that I provide my peers and house-mates with information about how they could best get involved in the Concord community as well as ensuring that dorm-life was environmentally friendly (shutting lights off, not leaving water running, recycling whenever possible, etc.)

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
St. Paul's was unique in that it was 100% boarding. Attending a school where absolutely all of the students (and the majority of the staff) reside on the same campus for the entire academic year builds a community of trust, love, and unity. That sense of unity shone through with the large student presence at athletic games and events, theatre productions, dance recitals, and orchestral symphonies as well. Another unique aspect about SPS was morning chapel. Morning chapel was four times a week (Mon. Tue. Thur. Fri.) and students and staff would meet before classes to discuss current events, go over weekly announcements, and listen to guest and student speakers. Many Seniors would take this opportunity to reflect on their past four years as a student and how they have changed as a person. Others would take this chance to discuss changes they would like to see made at the institution and ways of implementing that change. Chapel would always wrap up with the students singing hymnals and commonly reciting the school prayer.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I think the best thing that happened to me at SPS was that I was able to challenge myself in different academic fields and truly discover what interested/motivated me scholastically, and career-wise. I think the fact that we can pick and choose from so many different classes aids students in their quest for self, as it certainly led me towards discovering what I truly like and don't like. I learned that science isn't something I'm necessarily interested in, while I am totally down for the Humanities.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would have been more open and outgoing. In college I had a much easier time transitioning and finding myself in the community (probably thanks to all that I had learned and experienced at SPS), but I wish I had truly landed with my feet running at SPS. My advice would be to challenge yourself to try out new things and don't be afraid to put yourself out there; the community is so welcoming, especially to people that they see are willing to make themselves vulnerable and reveal their true personality and spirit, that they'll undoubtedly embrace you with open arms.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I liked everything about St. Paul's, and I wouldn't want to repeat my high school experience at any other school. SPS even sent me on a trip to Athens, Greece, which is an experience I doubt I would have had the chance to have at another school. I think the people, the academics, and the experience that SPS has to offer make it such a special place, and I would recommend it to anyone looking to challenge themselves mentally and scholastically.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Tuck Shop was always amazing! It was the equivalent of a campus café and boasted an impressive menu of chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, and more (I'm sure they had healthy options too, I just wasn't too keen on those as a 14-year-old kid). Definitely check out the chapel, as it is arguably the most beautiful architectural structure on campus and I would even say in Concord, NH.

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Academics at St. Paul's School were unmatched. I know that small class sizes are a bit of a cliche now, as almost all schools offer them... but they really make a difference at SPS. Every class that I was enrolled in made me feel as though the teacher was focused on my individual success, and I'm sure my classmates felt the same kind of attention. SPS also offered unlimited opportunities to meet with teachers during their off-periods, when they were on-duty in the dorms, or even at lunch. Teachers always made their presence felt and offered as much support as possible. With that being said, the classes themselves were always engaging, challenging, and forced students to think beyond the material that they were encountering in class. Even many science or math classes forced students to incorporate real-life scenarios and situations, which created the feeling that the classroom was constantly expanding into the world beyond. SPS boasts an unparalleled, diverse student body. Many of my closest friends and roommates were students from international countries like South Korea, China, Japan, and Spain. This brought a melting pot of different ideas of thought, religions, cultural practices, etc. The LGBTQ+ community also had a strong presence on campus through the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance), which would commonly invite speakers to campus, hold public discussions and film viewings, or throw public dances for the student body.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Students were required to participate in a sport nearly every trimester--however it is important to note that not all sports were as competitive as the Varsity sports. Some of my most meaningful friendships were built on the club hockey rink playing with fellow hockey amateurs who simply wanted to learn how to skate and have some fun on the ice. SPS also offered some sports that I had never heard of being offered at a school, like Alpine and Nordic Skiing. Although a bit intimidating, these sports were hugely competitive at the school and so much fun to watch as a spectator (a blast to participate in as well, I'm assuming).

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
There were few things I liked more than seeing some of my closest friends performing in theatrical productions. The plays were always so well-done and impressive that I consistently considered auditioning a few times (though this never came to fruition). I was big into the arts program at SPS and consistently signed up for all kinds of art classes from Architecture to AP Sculpture. Some of my most rewarding memories are of working in the art studio with friends, finishing projects and having people to converse with at the same time.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
I think the thing that I liked most about the extracurricular activities at SPS was the fact that there were so many. Everything at the school seemed to be student-led, and this created a culture of leadership and initiative. There were countless opportunities for students to apply for leadership positions within different societies and clubs, and I have a hard time remembering nights when I wasn't attending a club meeting, activity, or event (other than nights spent up studying or typing essays, of course). Groups and organizations were made up of sports enthusiasts, politically minded folk, cooks, musicians, environmentalists, ping pong players, volunteer opportunists, and many many more.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life was a remarkable experience. The 100% boarding community was best felt within the dorm walls with your closest friends. I remember countless nights spent watching movies, playing games, or even just having deep conversations with friends until the early morning (sorry, mom!). By living with other people of different beliefs, interests, and cultures, you truly had the opportunity to expand and broaden your horizons.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
My dining experience at SPS was so much better than my college dining experience (and that is not a knock on Davidson's food at all!). I remember waking up early on Saturday mornings to put in my order for an omelet and then circling the abundant buffet tables until my plate was stacked with amazing delicacies. I can't emphasize how good the food was at St. Paul's. Don't even get me started on the Steak and Lobster Luncheon that Seniors are treated to. Yum.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Concord was very homey. Not a bustling city, but I don't really think high-school age kids really need that kind of environment just yet. Shopping plazas and fine dining options were always available and there were even buses that could take you to Boston or NYC for breaks or long weekends. While the community seemed quiet and, perhaps even closed off, I think that was all part of coercing students to soak up everything that was right at their fingertips on campus.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
I think my shyness and awkwardness hindered my social-life in my first couple of years at SPS. Transitioning from going to a private school near my home to a boarding school in a different state was obviously not easy, but as soon as I was able to get over that sense of anxiety over facing a whole new atmosphere, I really blossomed and was able to build many close and meaningful friendships at St. Paul's. I remain close friends with a lot of the students I graduated with and thank SPS for fostering a friendly community where I would feel comfortable talking to nearly every student there.

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • St. Paul's School Alumni #1
    Class of 2012
    5 Stars   12/29/2016
    Davidson College
    St. Paul's was unique in that it was 100% boarding. Attending a school where absolutely all of the students (and the majority of the staff) reside on the same campus for the entire academic. . .
  • St. Paul's School Alumni #2
    Class of 2002
    5 Stars   7/11/2004
    Swarthmore College
    One of the most memorable and unique aspects of SPS is the boarding atmosphere. Everyone lives on campus in school housing, even students who hail from the local town. Teachers live on campus. . .
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