Stuart Hall School - Review #10

Read more details about Stuart Hall School on their 2019-20 profile page.
Stuart Hall School
5

About the Author:

College EnrolledVirginia Tech & Syracuse University
Home Town, State Washington, DC, DC
Years Attended Boarding School3
Activities During Boarding SchoolParticipation in numerous activities was promoted - particularly in the arts and literature - for instance school newspaper and literary magazine; there was a significant budget for the printing but we were allowed and encouraged to raise more money if we wanted to produce graphically more interesting publications. I was an editor of both publications, was a member of the church choir and Senior sextet choral group. Rather than have a prom we had a junior/senior banquet during which the junior class put on a play at the banquet for the seniors. The art studio was always open, so artistic endeavors could be pursued outside of class time.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Classes were small and intensive - one did not come to class unprepared or without assignments being complete - excellence was expected and required. Service was encouraged - I did volunteer work at Western State Mental Hospital and Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind as a student, and this was supported by the school. The Religious affiliation with the Episcopalian Church gave us an almost daily grounding in ethics and philosophy - in religion class as well as in brief weekday morning services and Sunday morning and sometimes evening services. Liberal/progressive values and spirituality was implicit, but was not pushed upon us.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I feel I was given a very valuable "leg up" for academic achievement by having attended Stuart Hall. I was considerably ahead of most of the students who started at Virginia Tech when I did, and as noted above, I completed my BA in 3 years, my MA in 5 years. I was teaching at the university level by the time I was 23 and although I did not refine my teaching skills until later I feel like I worked from the basis of having had very good instruction during high school and my teaching methods were informed by my high school instruction.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I don't think I could have been or done any differently than what I did or was at that time in my life - I was not particularly outgoing, but it was easier to be more forthcoming in class since classes were so small. My largest class was 20 students; the smallest classes were 3 - 5 students.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
There was a quiet moral sensibility and cultural tranquility, with an emphasis on service and academic achievement that I think are hallmarks of quality education. I think I owe much of my manner and orientation to the grounding I received at Stuart Hall. I have recently come back into contact with a classmate and our paths of service and dedication are very similar - more so than i would have expected. I am guessing it was because of the "upbringing' we had during our high school days.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Things have changed a lot - when I was there it was primarily a boarding school for girls and now it is a co-ed K - 12 school, so I don't think I could recommend anything in particular.

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Learning thoroughly was stressed; writing skills were honed. Our instructors were committed to our individual learning and seemed honestly enthusiastic about learning themselves. An example of a particularly fine instructor was a Religion instructor who was on sabbatical from Wellesley College one year who introduced us to contemporary philosophical literature. We were able to attend some academic offerings at Mary Baldwin College. The workload didn't seem excessive, but it was in depth enough that I completed my undergraduate degree in 3 years. My high school education fostered an enthusiasm for learning that led me to obtain two masters degrees in addition to my undergraduate education, and I have remained an avid lifetime learner even since receiving my degrees.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Gym was required each term and we were offered a variety of options - basketball, synchronized swimming, tennis, track and field, field hockey. Participation was mandatory and although I was not much into athletics at the time at least there were options I enjoyed.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I received individual instruction in piano, and we had a good choir director. As mentioned above, the art studio was open for our use outside of class times, which was important for me, as was the encouragement I received from my visual art teacher. We were able to attend cultural offerings at Mary Baldwin College from time to time.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
I liked the option of volunteering with mentally ill patients and hearing impaired children off campus.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
The dorm rooms were in old houses and the rooms were not standard, but were interesting and homey, many cozy. We did not have late night food access, but I'd say that was a positive thing. I had the opportunity to take a leadership role in dorm life as the Senior in a houseful of Sophomores - it was a good leadership role for me.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
We dined family style and took turns for about two weeks out of every 8 weeks being the server for our assigned table. Table assignments were changed so we were forced to get to know other students we might not have sought out to get to know, and thus the formation of cliques was short-circuited and it made for a friendlier and more civil atmosphere among the girls. The food was pretty good. We had periods of time when we would be seated at headmistress's tables and were held accountable for good manners - might not have liked it at the time, but it was a good thing in retrospect.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The two local military academies. We weren't allowed to spend much time in town or have an social interactions when we were in town, nor could we ride in cars. I did like the freedom to walk to my volunteer activities and have interactions with much different people than I would have known otherwise.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Being an only child, living in a dorm with lots of other girls was a congenial atmosphere for me, and I formed some good friendships.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
8:00 AMbreakfast
9:00 AMassembly
9:30 AMmorning class 1
11:00 AMmorning class 2
12:30 AMlunch
1:30 AMafternoon class 1
3:00 PMafternoon class 2
6:00 PMdinner
8:00 PMstudy hall
11:00 PMlights out
Weekend
9:00 AMbreakfast
10:00 AMfree time
12:00 AMlunch
1:00 PMfree time
6:00 PMdinner
Read more details about Stuart Hall School on their 2019-20 profile page.

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • Stuart Hall School Alumni #1
    Class of 2017
    5 Stars  
    None (gap year)
    Unlike most boarding schools in the United States which tend to have large campuses in rather rural or otherwise secluded areas, Stuart Hall School has a rather small campus located inside a small town and. . .
  • Stuart Hall School Alumni #2
    Class of 2016
    5 Stars  
    Washington University
    The close-knitted environment is unique to Stuart Hall. All teachers, faculty, and students hang out in the arcade, discuss inside and outside of classrooms, participate in school's activities (red/white tradition...). The teachers are all very. . .
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    Stuart Hall's diverse community and the sense of family are two of the many very important aspects that make the school unique. Small class sizes provide the opportunity for all types of students to. . .
  • Show more reviews (7 reviews)
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