The Thacher School - Review #5
Reflections and Advice:
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
You cannot mention Thacher without talking about the horse program; each freshman is required to take care of and ride a horse for the first year of high school. I rode all four years and absolutely loved the experience. The horse is an equalizer for every freshman, as most have never ridden or cleaned a stall before. The horse does not care who you are or where you come from, only that you work with them and respect them. This teaches patience, perseverance and humility, traits that are difficult to teach, but invaluable in life. Another special quality of Thacher is the trust that the faculty and administration puts in the students, also known as the Honor Code. The Honor Code allows juniors and seniors to take tests unproctored, wander the campus late at night and cultivates respect between the faculty and students. The students do not feel limited by the school and the students respect the adults at the school for giving them responsibility.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I think the best thing about boarding school is the connections made with your classmates there. I've made some wonderful friends and some wonderful acquaintances. Even if I didn't know all of my classmates super well, I still feel comfortable reaching out and asking how they are after I've graduated. I also feel that Thacher cultivated my interests and I was able to do really great and fun things in the subjects I am interested in. For example, I was able to spend three months in a veterinary internship learning about animal medicine. Lastly, Thacher really taught me to make connections with all sorts of people, from adults to children and even with horses. I think this ability to have genuine friendships is going to serve me well in life.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would be less shy about getting to know upperclassmen. Many of the upperclassmen really like talking to freshmen, mostly because they find them cute, but also because there isn't anything wrong with being friends with people from all sorts of grades. Also, it is really nice having people to look up to and who can give you advice on anything Thacher related. Getting to know all sorts of people, and not worrying about what they think of you is something that I only did senior year. I would recommend doing that for all of your time at Thacher!
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The community. Thacher is an exceptional school because of its academics, its horse program and its environment, but the community stands above everything. If I was able to return to Thacher without the classes and the stress, I would do so in a heartbeat. The fact that everyone knows you and greets you and is comfortable around each other is truly amazing. As an introvert, I still felt comfortable hanging out with people who had way more friends than me and even had different friends. The community will be something I will definitely miss.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Definitely drive to the barns Gymkhana field after your tour, wander around and look at the view. The field is huge and it is easy to visualize 60 freshman riding around and hanging out in the shade. Also, the observatory is really cool and also has a nice view, but you'll have to ask for directions, its hidden behind The Hill dorm.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Academics are very rigorous at Thacher. However, you can choose your classes starting sophomore year and as the years progress, you have more choice over what you take. This allows students who wish to challenge themselves to do so, or students who wish to have a lighter workload to choose the appropriate classes. The teachers at Thacher stand out in the arena of academics, they are excellent and care very much about their students. Most of them will allow students to come to their homes late at night and review with them for a test the next day, or even just the day's lesson. Every moment I spent at Thacher I appreciated the teacher's devotion to the school.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I did not spend a lot of time in the athletics program at Thacher, choosing to spend most of it horseback riding. However, one thing I did notice about it was the camaraderie. Being on a team was an excellent way to make friends. Your teammates would care about you and always help if you were struggling. Also, the fact that everyone was required to play a sport allowed even those who did not enjoy sports to find those who shared their trepidation. In addition, the students at Thacher are very supportive of their teams. Everyone would come to the varsity basketball games, both boys and girls, to support their friends.
Art, Music, and Theatre:
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
The students at Thacher are very artistic and the Art program at Thacher does everything it can to nourish that. Some students who are extremely devoted to art can do art instead of a sport for a trimester or two. The art teachers are some of the nicest people on campus and very devoted to the Arts program. At every production, about a quarter of the student body is involved and the rest of the students come to support their friends, whether it be a play, a musical or a performance, the whole school shows up to watch.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
The extra-curriculars at Thacher are pretty small and the activity level of each club depends upon the seniors in charge of it that year. As head of two clubs on campus, I enjoyed organizing events and cultivating a community in the clubs, but it was a lot of extra work for a senior to do alone, so sometimes the seniors get overwhelmed and can't lead the clubs very well. However, Thacher does have a wide variety of clubs, and most of them are open to anyone who wants to join, so everyone can attend meetings and outings.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life is awesome at Thacher, the dorms are organized by class and gender, so you get to know your classmates really well. Most rooms are singles, and you probably won't be forced to room if you don't want to. The rooms and dorms are huge and really nice, furniture is included and upperclassmen will often sell their furniture very cheaply to freshman and sophomores. The rooms are so large that many people have room for sofas, chairs and even coffee tables. In addition, all the underclassmen dorms have seniors living there as prefects, or mentors for the underclassmen, they provide late night food chats, called munchouts, and much needed support for the drama of high school.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
There is only one dining hall, and mostly the students sit by grade level, but the food is really good and the cafeteria is open early in the morning and late at night, which is really nice for those who are hungry. We do have formal dinner four nights a week, which is annoying, but you get used to it, and it can be nice to have some time set aside where you can eat slowly and calmly, instead of racing to finish your food. Also, once a week, a faculty member chooses their favorite meal for the dining hall to serve and usually its pretty good.
Social and Town Life:
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Ojai is really small, but its cute and has food. It takes 15 minutes to get into town by bus, which leaves on Wednesdays, Sundays and Saturdays every half hour in the afternoon. There are some really good restaurants and a grocery store nearby if you want to stock up on snacks.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The social life is pretty low key. There are no drugs and alcohol and most of the events are done by the school itself. I thought it was really fun because it was more low key and centered around making connections with other people over partying. Also, there is a lot of camaraderie between the students and everyone is willing to hang out in the same space and hang out with each other. However, the absolute best thing about the social life at Thacher is Open House. Open House is when the headmaster opens his home to the students and we all can come in and play games, dance, watch a movie, play ping pong or just eat food from the plethora of food in the kitchen. There's popcorn, popsicles, nachos, watermelon and Ms. Mulligan bakes cookies all night long. Open House is every Friday or Saturday night for two hours and is the most fun thing to do on campus. The house is usually full of students and is very lively all night.
Wake Up and Muck Stall
Classes (with a free period somewhere)
Sports Period Starts
Sports Period Ends
Wake up and Muck Stall
Ride Until Noon
Maybe go to town
Open House or other activity
Alumni Reviews Review School
The Thacher School Alumni #1
Class of 2017
Class of 2017
The tight knit community is a really rare quality at high schools in general but especially boarding schools. The relationships with teachers and students is so close and the fact that there is very few. . .
The Thacher School Alumni #2
Class of 2017
University of Montana
Class of 2017
University of Montana
The horse department at Thacher is both unique and outstanding. Unique because the school strives to keep the cowboy culture alive with over 100 horses and a fully outfitted western riding center. It is outstanding. . .
The Thacher School Alumni #3
Class of 2017
Class of 2017
Thacher's community on campus is unlike any other, connections at the school go beyond merely knowing every student's name but having had interacted closely with everyone whether on a camping trip, in the dining hall. . .
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