The Winchendon School - Review #1
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2013-2017|
|Sports and Activities:||Varsity soccer Varsity basketball Ultimate Frisbee Varsity Lacrosse Service Learning Triathlon Diversity Club (founder) Green Key Ambassador (tour guide) Soccer captain basketball captain service learning leader|
|College Enrolled:||Boston College|
|Home Town, State:||Gardner, MA|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
At the Winchendon School, small class sizes with no more than 8 or so students per class allow students valuable one on one time with teachers and more opportunities for participation during class. No students can slip through the cracks at Winchendon. Each students receives daily and weekly feedback on the fulfillment and quality of their homework and class participation so every student knows where they need improvement. Winchendon also offers a daily conference period during the academic day in which students may go to any teacher for more one on one help.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
My service trips to Haiti and Nicaragua were extremely impactful for me during my time at boarding school. I know I would not have had these opportunities if I didn't attend Winchendon. These trips opened my eyes to different cultures, places in the world and new perspectives. They taught me how to perform meaningful and beneficial service and how to connect and form relationships across cultural barriers. While big moments like trips to other countries were significant during my time at Winchendon, it was also the small , everyday moments that became my most valued memories as well. Eating dinner with my friends in the dining hall, watching movies in Posich, conversations with teachers, and playing sports with my teammates are just a few examples of small moments during high school that shaped me into who I am. It really is the people that makes the Winchendon School the life changing place that it is.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would tell any kid going to boarding school to branch out and take advantage of every opportunity available to you! Boarding schools have resources and opportunities that most schools do not have and even if you think you have no interest in something you should try it! I never thought that service learning would be such an important aspect of my life if I didn't volunteer to be a service learning leader during my sophomore year. You never know what hidden talents or undiscovered passions you have!
4.) What did you like most about your school?
As mentioned before, the fact that The Winchendon School is only made up of 250 students makes it very easy to get to know everyone. Going to college, you really miss the close knit environment of Winchendon and the fact that you knew everyone's names and everyone knows who you are. I also really miss how accessible and approachable the faculty at Winchendon are. In college, it is difficult to get to know or become close with your professors especially in lectures with over 200 kids. The community aspect of The Winchendon School is what I liked most about my high school and is something I definitely took for granted during my time there.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Pasta days in the dining hall (usually Tuesday or Wednesday) are the best food days! The view from the balcony of the main lobby over the golf course is beautiful at sunset. Make announcements at morning meeting (it helps your public speaking tremendously) If you have an idea for a club/group get permission and create it! Go to prom!! (even if you don't dance) You will make some of your best Winchendon memories. Dress for success (dress code is good practice for professional jobs)
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Winchendon's academics are very unique in two big ways. The first is the opportunity to participate in ColLABs twice year. ColLAB is short for "collaborative laboratory" and is a chance for students to explore an area of interest or passion outside of the traditional classroom. Students can travel, do internships, or create their own independent project. Each colLAB period culminates in a school wide symposium in which students can present their projects. ColLABs are a mandatory and exciting part of the school curriculum. Many students do not realize how valuable this opportunity is. You can do anything that interests you! Another important aspect of the Winchendon School curriculum is the Global Dynamics courses. This is an interdisciplinary course unique to Winchendon that combines English, literature, history, geography, and social sciences to study a portion of the world, such as Africa, the Middle East or various places in Europe. There are various levels of Global Dynamics depending on your level of English and your class year. This class is a fascinating way to combine world studies through various lenses.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Athletics or some sort of participation in activities is mandatory each season at the Winchendon School. There are so many sports team to choose from during the Fall, Winter and Spring. In the Fall students can do volleyball, intramural basketball, soccer, cross country, badminton, outdoor activities, hiking, group fitness or tennis. In the Winter many students choose to do hockey, basketball, skiing and snowboarding, group fitness, and swimming. The spring offers triathlon, lacrosse, tennis, group fitness and golf. If students are more inclined towards the arts they can opt to do pottery, painting, or sketching classes as their afternoon activity. many students also choose to participate in the Fall musical or Spring play which counts towards their participation. Hockey is definitely the biggest sport at Winchendon and our team gets better every year. People pack the rink each season to watch us face off against our rival, Cushing, and the school spirit during the winter season skyrockets. It can get a little tedious if you are not a hockey player because other sports are definitely not supported as well as the hockey program is.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
The arts program at Winchendon was definitely small for many year but now it grows every year and there is definitely a solid commitment to expanding the arts. Their is fall musical each year which is also super fun to watch and many students choose to participate in it. There is also a spring play each year that draws a big crowd. Many times a month, coffee houses are hosted in our student center where students can perform for the open mic. Students oftentimes read slam poetry, sing, rap, do improv and have fun performing and cheering on their classmates while enjoying coffee and various pastries. These coffee houses are where some of my fondest Winchendon memories occurred. There is also a jazz band and several a capella groups on campus as well as the Winch Singers who perform at all of the all school dinners, baccalaureate and graduation. I wish I had been more involved in the arts programs during my time at Winchendon!
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
I was a service learning leader during my time at Winchendon and it is an amazing program that I would encourage all students to participate in. As a service learning leader, you can choose any issue (local or global) that you are interested in or passionate about and lead a group of your student peers to develop a sustainable project or program throughout the year. This program is so rewarding and is an amazing opportunity to create real lasting change in your community.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
I was a day student because I only lived about 20 minutes away in the next town over. Day students are placed in different dorms for various events like mountain day so they can feel like they are a part of the community even though they don't live on campus. I spent a lot of time in my friends rooms and they are very nice and accommodating, especially Dockery which is a semi new residence hall for girls. I know many boarders often complained about the wifi turning off fairly early and lights out being too early.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The WInchednon School uses Sage Dining Services. Overall the food is pretty good. There are some days where the meals may not appeal to you or seem strange but it is not a big deal because there are so many other options. The food can sometimes become monotonous especially when you ahem been at Winchendon for several years. There is a salad bar, sandwich bar, cereal bar, gluten free section, dessert section so you can always find something to eat. The best part of the dining services however is definitely the staff that serve food and work in the kitchen. They are just the best people and so friendly. The all school dinners are the best because the dining staff goes all out and the food is amazing. Halloween is also fun because they decorate the cafeteria and make Halloween themed food.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The town of Winchendon is quiet overall and more on the rustic side. The rural surroundings of the school are beautiful but kids often find them boring. I liked being just a train ride into Boston however.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
It is a very small school so everyone knows everyone and this makes it very close knit. Once you get to college and you're surrounded by thousands of students you definitely miss the small environment of Winchendon. It is like one big family and it is very easy to establish yourself at the Winchendon School while leaning on those around you for support. Sports are a big part of Winchendon social life as well. The biggest gathering of students always occurs at Cushing games (our rivals) and are always a ton of fun. Sports bring out all of the students school spirit and bring everyone together. Weekend activities like dances, food eating competitions or volleyball tournaments also draw everyone out of their rooms for the night and make campus all the more social and fun.
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