Cate School - Review #17

Read more details about Cate School on their 2020 profile page.
Cate School

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School: 1978-1980
Sports and Activities:We had an incredible Math teacher, Sandy Smith, who organized a computer club even though this was way back in the 70s. I was proficient at basic and fortran before ever finishing high school.
College Enrolled:UCSB
Home Town, State: Moss Landing, CA

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
There wasn't a lot of pressure from the teachers and staff to do well, but there was a lot of peer pressure. I remember in Spanish Class, I didn't always have my homework done and one of the other students got really mad at me after class because I was wasting everyone else's time in the class. That had an incredible impact on me and changed my life. I was always a good student after that.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best thing was being allowed to go there. It turned my life around.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
Try to fit in better with the other students. I was too uptight, judgmental, and childish.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The environment
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
You will be happiest if you embrace the school experience and make your studies the top priority.


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
As I said earlier, I liked how serious the students were about the academic program. I came to Cate from public schools where students had to be forced to learn. Cate made it challenging and rewarding. It was a very competitive environment.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I liked the fact that every student was required to participate in a sport each season. If not, I probably wouldn't have participated. Sports, especially the team sports, really helped me grow up. I also liked the fact that the coaches, teachers, and administration didn't think it was do or die when we played another school. I actually made friends with players from other schools, but still played to win. In my senior year, I quit the basketball team. I thought no one would care; but I got called into the Headmaster's office and he really let me know how disappointed he was in me. I didn't rejoin the basketball team, but that still had a huge impact on me and changed my life. It wasn't just about me; it was about the team. A great lesson to learn.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
We didn't have one (that I recall) while I was there. Shortly after graduating, Cate built an incredible Theater that I wish they had when I was there.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Our school motto was all about service. Something I remember well. I used to go help children at the nearby mental health facility. It was an amazing program where everyone got recognized for their efforts.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
We didn't have to do our own laundry!! :-) All we did was put our dirty clothes in a bag and take it to the laundry facility. I also liked that most of us had private rooms. During my time at Cate, I never had to share a room. We had a lot of leeway on how we decorated our rooms. Some students got really creative. I don't recall any other student ever doing anything that disturbed anyone of the students in the dorm. It was a great experience.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
3 meals a day, it was great. Why doesn't this survey let me take a break from this survey and finish it later?

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The beach. :-)
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
School was our social life and I loved it.
Read more details about Cate School on their 2020 profile page.

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • Cate School Alumni #1
    Class of 2019
    5 Stars  
    Colgate University
    Cate is one of the unique places you could ever imagine. High up on a mesa with an ocean view surrounded by hundreds of acres of avocado trees, a utopian little community exists and thrives. . .
  • Cate School Alumni #2
    Class of 2016
    5 Stars  
    Yale University
    On the surface Cate is defined by its dedicated commitment to service (the school motto is "Servons" meaning "to serve"), its more casual and down-to-earth California vibes, and its interest in the outdoors as a. . .
  • Cate School Alumni #3
    Class of 2015
    5 Stars  
    Georgetown University
    The focus on public service makes Cate stand out. Having participated in many of the public service program offerings, I can say that the culture of service toward others was genuine and deeply rooted in. . .
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