Concord Academy - Review #1
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2016-2019|
|Sports and Activities:||At CA, I was a co-head of poetry club and green club, as well as an environmental co-head on student council. I played JV basketball for one season, and made music in chamber groups, orchestra, and chorus every semester. I was also a Head of House in my senior year.|
|College Enrolled:||Columbia University|
|Home Town, State:||Glover, VT|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
One of my favorite things about CA is the way people learn to work to be kind and open to people who aren't like them. There are people who think and work and act in such different ways, and over my years there I watched myself and my classmates become better and better at asking questions in order to understand each other. We also learned to love people even when we don't understand them. By senior year, I knew everybody in my class not only by face and name, but also by their interests and talents. There wasn't a single person in my grade that I hadn't had some kind of interaction or conversation with by the end of senior year, and I really appreciate that.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I think the best part of CA boarding for me was being surrounded by so many positive, healthy adults who were so invested in my success and happiness. Teachers and house faculty are so kind and were really lovely for me to have as role models during my time there.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I wish I'd been more confident. I had myself convinced that nobody would like me, when in reality they just didn't know who I was. Just talk to as many people as possible as soon as possible.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The people are definitely the best part of CA. When I would go out into the world and see other high school students, I was always amazed at how they didn't smile at me or initiate conversations with me. Apparently that's how most teenagers act, as it turns out. CA kids spoiled me with their kindness!
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
The river is an awesome place to sit and listen to music or write poems or do homework! It's right behind campus, and there are lots of nice spots you can walk to and sit at. Also, the campus dogs are wonderful. Teachers bring them to school and sometimes to class if there are no allergies/fears in the class, and it's super super awesome.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
There's a lot to love in terms of academics at CA! Sophomore English, which all sophomores take, was instrumental in teaching me to read, write, and think deeply. Especially as a new sophomore who had been home schooled previously, that class gave me the tools I needed to succeed in upper level elective English classes. Speaking of which, CA's elective classes are so awesome! For your whole CA career, you get to choose specific history classes that you're interested in, and once you're a junior the same goes for English. I loved this style of humanities curriculum because it meant the people in my classes actually really wanted to be in those specific classes, and people were more engaged because of that. I also really liked that most of my math teachers created their own workbooks for us, because it meant they knew exactly what they were teaching and were very familiar with the homework that we were doing. The CA workload can be pretty challenging at times, but almost all teachers are really kind about extensions and working with you to find a way to help you get your work done. They don't want people to feel overwhelmed by work, so they try very hard to be available and helpful so that students don't break down under pressure.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I was not much of an athletics kid at CA, so I spent a few seasons in "Varsity Walking" (or Hiking, as it's formally known) and a few seasons as team manager or score-boarder for our sports team. CA is awesome for people who don't really want to do super active sports, because there are a lot of options as far as fulfilling your athletic requirements. Underclassmen have to do three full seasons of sports or PE/IM classes, but options like yoga or meditation or theater tech/performance make it easy to fulfill those without sacrificing every afternoon to a varsity sport. On the other hand, I have heard from my friends that the real sports teams are largely fun to play on, and that people are kind across grade divisions within teams. I did play one season of JV basketball, during which I scored one goal and struggled a lot. My coach and team were very patient with me and I had playing time in every game despite my inability to pass or catch or dribble a ball. So I would say that sports at CA are very encouraging and fun, even if we're not the best in the league.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I really loved that art studios and spaces remain open most of the time, even without teachers in them. The school trusts students to respect the spaces and use the supplies for homework and projects, and to return anything we remove. During my junior year, I wanted to do a printmaking project and the printmaking teacher taught me about the studio and supplies and opened it for me even though I wasn't in his class. The photo lab (and teacher) is really big, we have around twelve enlargers and lots of people can work together in the darkroom. I LOVED photo one! I also really enjoyed having practice rooms available to me at any time, many of which had pianos in them.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
CA has so, so many clubs and affinity groups. It's a constant struggle here to choose between three or four clubs that you want to go to that are meeting at the same time. Most of the clubs are a few dedicated co-heads and a list of members who rotate in and out, so it's very relaxed and easy to participate in.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Boarding life at CA is THE BEST. Being part of boarding council has let me see how invested house faculty and administrators are in each individual student. When the freshmen in my house arrived at the beginning of my senior year, they reminded me of myself when I got to CA, shy and scared of each other and nervous about going to events. A few weeks in, I would go to check them in at night and they would all be in one or two rooms talking or working together. The systems in place to help boarders adjust to CA and be comfortable here are really effective, and every boarder has at least three people looking out for them specifically at any given time. We also got fancy new kitchens and common rooms before my senior year, and after that I often found people making cookies in the common room together or watching TV in the new spaces.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The cafeteria at CA is what people complain about the most, but I'm always confused by that. I think the dining hall does a really great job of feeding us – we have panini machines, stir fry machines, toast all the time, avocados most mornings, tons of different drink options, and an awesome salad bar. Also, dinner on Wednesdays is always something fun like breakfast for dinner or taco bar or ice cream sundaes for dessert. In the cafeteria, the seniors have a section to sit in and the freshmen have a section to sit in, and then the sophomores and juniors sit together in one big section. I like this system because when you're a freshman you meet other freshmen, and then when you're a sophomore you're around older kids to look up to, and when you're a junior you get much needed youthful energy from the sophomores, and when you're a senior you get to bond with your grade for a year before you all leave.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Concord is a really cute town and CA is great in that we have an extended campus, meaning that we can essentially go to any of the shops or park areas in Concord without signing out or filling out any forms. People can go to Starbucks or Cumberland Farms or an art store or a cheese shop during free blocks or afternoons. It feels like we are just residents of the town.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
People are so kind! There are always cliques and such, but people are almost always so open to interaction and fun. Also, there is no pressure to go to parties or break rules because we are all nerds and would rather bond over calculus. (However, if you throw parties, people will come to your parties and they will be grateful for the opportunity for fun.)
|8:30 AM||Chapel (not religious, senior gives a talk)|
|9:00 AM||German 3|
|10:30 AM||Free block :)|
|12:30 AM||Humour in British Literature (english)|
|1:00 PM||Free block :)|
|1:30 PM||Violin lesson|
|2:30 PM||Free block :)|
|3:15 PM||Nap time|
|10:30 AM||Wake up|
|11:00 AM||Brunch!! Best part of the week|
|1:00 PM||Leave for Boston|
|3:15 PM||Orchestra rehearsal at NEC|
|8:00 PM||Back at CA|
|9:00 PM||Netflix time|
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