Portsmouth Abbey School - Review #2

Portsmouth Abbey School
5

About the Author:

College Enrolled Bowdoin College
Home Town, State (Country) Lawrenceville, GA
Years Attended Boarding School 4
Activities During Boarding School Football Ice Hockey Prefect Editor-In-Chief of the School Newspaper Red Key Head (Student Tour guide)

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
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, house prayers every night in the dorms, and a mandatory religion class every year. It might seem like a lot, but many students are not Catholic and still thrive. Most students end up bonding with one member of the Monastic Community during their time at the Abbey.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best part about the Abbey for my development was all the opportunities I had for leadership. I was never just a figure head, getting some extra things to put on my college application. I had to do a lot. One thing in particular the Abbey does is "Church Talks." They are speeches given by selected seniors, and they can pretty much talk about whatever they want. Most people talk about difficult moments in their life. That's what I did, and it honestly helped me work through those moments, and gain a new perspective on them.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
Some advice, go to teachers for conference period, even when you don't have any questions. One time, I stopped by my old physic teachers room, just on a whim to say hi. He always had these really old computers, and I asked him why he kept them around. He told me that they are the only computers that could run this old program that he had to help explain relativity to his advance topic physics(post AP physics) students, and he gladly showed me the program. The teachers are really exceptional, so get to know them.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The best part was the sense of community and the friendships that you make. I really feel like I made lifelong friendships. I still talk with a lot of them regularly. I go to college very far from my home, and I didn't have time to go back for Thanksgiving break. My friend from the Abbey invited me to stay with him so I wouldn't have to stay at Bowdoin alone. You really grow up with your friends at the Abbey, and that really brings you incredibly close.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
You can get haircuts with Mrs. Morrissey, it is way easier than going off campus for one.

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The Academics were absolutely amazing. The teachers really want the students to succeed, and are always willing to help. For starters, we have conference period, 45 minutes everyday in between classes that the teachers have to be in their classrooms to provide extra help, but normally teachers make themselves even more available. For example, my houseparent last year at least once a week worked with one of his struggling students during study hall. I felt really well prepared for college. I took two years of Chemistry at the Abbey, and my first year of College Chemistry was all review. At the Abbey you just do a lot of college level work. For example, some of my friends at Bowdoin are in a first year seminar with one of the gov departments most famous professors. In that class they read Plato, Locke, St. Thomas More, and Marx; I read those books Sophomore year in Humanities class. Its crazy how well read you are after graduating from the Abbey. The students to were always really supportive. I never felt like their was any competition between students. We were all each others cheerleaders, and that made getting through the challenging academics way easier.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
At the Abbey everyone has to do an after school activity every season, most people choose to participate in a sport. We are a small school but our sports teams still do for the most part pretty decent. My favorite part about the sports at Abbey is that everyone has an opportunity to play and improve. My Freshman year I joined the J.V. football team never having played before. I struggled with the sport for a while but with the help of the coaches I really improved. By my senior year I was starting and we actually had a winning record. The crazy thing is that stories like mine our normal at the Abbey, since everybody has to try something new and the coaches all really care about our improvement.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I never participated in the arts, but I always really appreciated them. I always enjoyed the plays and performances as my classmates were quite talented.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
For a school our size we had a lot of opportunities, and if you wanted to start a club there was plenty of resources to do so. I worked on the school newspaper, and we were able to publish 4-5 times a year. The faculty adviser was fantastic. He always let us publish articles even if they were controversial. We attended a conference at the Harvard Crimson every year, which was a great opportunity as a student interested in journalism. The format of the school newspaper has changed since I left, so I cannot really talk about what it would be like to join today. I

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
The dorms are divided by gender. St. Hugh's, St. Leonard's, St. Alred's, and St. Martin's are the boy's dorms, and St. Mary's, Manor House, St. Benet's, and St. Brigid's are the girl's dorms. I really appreciate that all the freshman are put into one dorm. It makes grades a lot closer. My freshman year everyone played cards together, pretty much all the time in the common room. This pretty much prevented any real "cliques" from forming, and made us close as a grade. I worked as a prefect of the Freshman dorm my Senior year and got to see it from a different perspective. Being 14-15 is pretty tumultuous as it is, but living with 30 other boys your same age is pretty wild. But somehow by sharing that experience so closely they all come out much more mature, and ready for whatever the rest of high school has to throw their way.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The food was not good, but most of the time it was palatable.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
We are about a 10 minute walk from a RIPTA stop, that can get you to Newport or Providence pretty quickly. Both are nice towns with fun stuff to do. But within walking distance there is very little.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
My social life mostly revolved around my dorm. Its a small school so everybody knows everybody for the most part. There is a dance around once a month, and other fun activities most weekends. The moments I will remember best though are those spent just in someone's dorm room, messing around. You spend literally 24 hours a day with your closest friends, its guaranteed to be an enjoyable experience.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
7:00 AMWake up
8:15 AM1st Class
11:00 AMConference Period
3:30 PMAfternoon activities begin
8:00 PMStudy Hall begins
10:00 PMStudy Hall ends
12:00 AMWhen most upperclassmen finish work and get to bed.
Weekend
8:30 AMwake up
9:30 AMmass
8:00 PMStudy hall
10:00 PMEnd of study hall

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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