Groton School - Review #18
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||1987-1988|
|Sports and Activities:||Athletics: Captain and All-League cross-country running and cross-country skiing, tennis and track. Community Service: Town of Groton recycling.|
|College Enrolled:||University of Michigan and Oxford University|
|Home Town, State:||Traverse City, MI|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
First, Groton's small size (360 girls and boys) make it unique among the very top tier of boarding schools. Not only does it permit extensive personal attention through small classes averaging 8-10 students per class but it also encourages individual opportunities to succeed whether in the classroom, athletic fields, choir and arts programs. Second, its deep emphasis on giving back first while at the school through community service programs and further through life whether in the form of elected service, community or religious programs.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I firmly believe that Groton helped me build the foundation for success subsequent to leaving the school. The academic skills and work ethic I developed at the school helped prepare me for a very successful experience at the University of Michigan which together helped me get into and excel at Oxford University in its Ph.D (D.Phil) program. Perhaps more importantly it taught me I have an obligation to be a responsible member of society and to constantly give back. That led me to work in Washington in Congress, to volunteer on programs furthering girls education and to teach in a charter school dedicated toward minorities and lower-income students as a substitute teacher.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would have pushed myself further in challenging areas particularly in maths and science, engaged more in local community projects and stuck with Greek! My advice would be to first be sure the school is really the right fit for you not just because you got in. Every school is different and every student's needs and preferences are different. Second, to immerse yourself fully in the life of the school by making friends, engaging in athletics and extra-curricular things and not focus solely on the academics side of boarding life though that is obviously so important. Third not get to absorbed in the 'prep' aspect of focusing solely on getting into college. That will come from a rounded boarding school life.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
First, its small, family-oriented nature. From friends to dorm masters to coaches, Groton provides the setting for a rich, fulfilling experience. Second, its commitment not just to first-class academics but also to a broad experience. Third, its emphasis on giving back to others not just while at the school but through one's life. Fourth, its encouragement of students to take part in religious life of whatever kind.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Take full advantage of the outstanding athletic facilities. Explore the amazing history of the school and former students. Take in the views from the top of the chapel. Give a Chapel Talk at least once! Though daunting it is an incredible experience to speak on whatever topic you choose in front of the whole assembled school. Order often from Groton House of Pizza (GroHo) and be sure to try the shakes and fried clams at Johnsons in town.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Academics at Groton at truly first class. I most liked the small class sizes, the breadth of offerings from languages (Latin/Greek/French/Italian), to STEM and math course ranging from Algebra I to AP Calculus to English from courses akin to 'great books' to creative writing. I especially liked the opportunity in senior spring term students to organize tutorials with one or two other students from an intense Hemingway to sports psychology.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Athletics have from the school's initial beginnings been an important part of the student experience. All students are required to participate each term in an athletic activity of one form or another - from football, basketball and baseball to squash and tennis, lacrosse and field hockey. I especially appreciated how strong the facilities are including two indoor hockey rinks, state-of -the-art squash courts to a pool. I always liked that boys and girls sports are treat and supported equally in every respect including among the student body itself. It was as common to see boys cheering at girls basketball as girls cheering at boys lacrosse.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
The arts in general are a vital part of the Groton experience with excellent facilities for art itself to a new dance hall to the choir program to the exceptional woodworking shop. All students are initially required to take an arts course and most continue to do so in one form or another throughout their time at Groton. I appreciated the breadth of opportunity very much as well as the extremely strong quality of the arts faculty across the board.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Endless extracurricular opportunities exist at Groton. Among those I liked best were the school newspaper, The Circle, the strong emphasis on local community services activities and the debate program. All students are strongly encouraged to participate in one or several and almost all do in one form or another. I liked the view that a full boarding school experience included activities beyond the classroom including athletics and extra-curricular endeavors.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life is one of the seminal aspects of life at Groton with small dorms rarely over 25 students in each. I liked the small size as it fosters life-long friendships. I liked the fact that each dorm head was intimately involved in the daily life of the dorm as were the assistant dorm heads, both providing support, nurture and genuine friendship. I also appreciated greatly the high quality of the dorm facilities themselves! Late night pizza orders after check-in are de rigger at Groton. That students after their first year choose their roommates themselves is also a huge plus.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The Dining Hall is one of the central aspects of life at Groton. Sit-down dinner in the fall and spring was one of my favorite aspects of Groton life. Table sizes are small with eight students at each headed by a member of the faculty. Service is family style and tables rotate every two weeks ensuring exposure to different students and faculty and as they are mixed among all years offer the chance to get to know a vast amount of the whole student body. Breakfast and lunch are free seating; all meals are only one 'shift'. I was always grateful for the high quality and breadth of offerings at all meals. The Hall itself is majestic but very comfortable.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Groton benefits from being a 15 minute walk to the gorgeous town of Groton itself with all the amenities a student needs from an roadside diner with outdoor seating to an iconic pizza restaurant, Groton House of Pizza, to a grocery store, pharmacy and a few banks. I especially liked the pop up farmer's markets. Being only 45 minutes from Boston is also a huge plus with its array of restaurants, art galleries and museums and sports venues - all terrific for parents weekends.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Social life at Groton thrives and all students leave with life long friends. I am particularly grateful for the very dear friends I made at Groton - not just in my year but above and below and stay in touch with many of them 30 years later. Because of its size, students are absorbed into very close friendships among a diverse group. Athletics and extra-curricular activities foster and cement these relationships. Events such as school dances, organized day trips and picnics all enhance the social life at Groton.
|8:00 AM||Morning Chapel|
|8:30 AM||Roll Call (all-school announcements)|
|9:00 AM||First Classes|
|1:00 PM||Afternoon Classes|
|3:00 PM||Athletics (Practice)|
|10:00 PM||Check Into Dorms then study|
|10:00 AM||Chapel / Religious Services|
|1:00 PM||Study / Relax|
|10:00 PM||Check Into Dorms|
Alumni Reviews Review School
- Review Description
- Stanford University I think the most influential part of Groton is it’s emphasis on community. As an effect of the small size and commitment to inclusion, Groton skillfully combines the independence that comes with attending a boarding. . .
- University of Virginia Groton is unique in its campus set-up. It is centered around the "Circle" a large expanse of grass that is used as a soccer field in the fall and for lawn games in the spring. . .
- Stanford University Groton is a small school in the countryside with immense resources and an extremely demanding academic atmosphere; the first word most students associate with the School is "intense." The School's long history and honored traditions. . .
Learn about an initially reluctant parent's perspective on boarding school.
Visiting schools on your short list is very important. During your visit observe and ask questions.
Thinking about sending your tween to boarding school? The personal attention and comprehensive programs which junior boarding schools offer are worth a serious review.