Westtown School - Review #33
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||1998-2002|
|Sports and Activities:||I participated in soccer, basketball and instructional swimming. I also did Service Network which is the community outreach program at Westtown. During my four years I spent two of them as a Service Network Head. I was also the secretary of the Student Union for Multi-Cultural Awareness during my senior year. From sophomore to senior year I was a receptionist in the front office. During my Senior and Junior year I was head receptionist.|
|College Enrolled:||University of Pennsylvania|
|Home Town, State:||Brooklyn, NY|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
I feel that Westtown's faculty and emphasis on community service are two of the things that make Westtown unique from any other boarding school. Westtown's faculty comes from all over the country and the world. They represent a large range of beliefs, religions, backgrounds and experiences that add to their teaching. Some examples of this was when the head of the Spanish department, professor Rick Newton, told his students of the time he spent in the Peace Corps in Latin America. His positive experiences with the program have compelled me to join after college. Another example of this type of integration of life experiences into academic setting was when Melissa Schoerke, a second year Spanish teacher, shared with the community her experiences with Borderlinks. This organization works between Tucson and Nogales Mexico educating students, church members and other groups about the dangers involved with illegal border crossing. Her presentation made me decide to do my Senior Project with Borderlinks. It was an experience that has influenced my course of study at Penn. Westtown's emphasis on community service is apparent in their devotion to the Service Network department. Service Network is part of the backbone of the Westtown community. It helps build character among students that participate as well as help students develop their sense of being not only part of the Westtown community but an external community as well.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best thing that happened to me at boarding school was the opportunity that I was given to study abroad during my junior year for one month. Westtown and its sister school in Celaya Mexico have had a student exchange during the winter for the past 25 years. This student exchange was one of the highlights of my Westtown career. The ability to live with a family and become part of the Celaya community was an experience that I will always carry with me. Westtown also financially supports students who may not have the resources to fund this type of trip.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
One thing I might have done differently was enjoy my time more. I concentrated my time on academics which sometimes severely limited my ability to relax and enjoy the many opportunities available to interact with the members of my community.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
Overall I think that my favorite thing about Westtown was how many different types of people I met and what I learned from them.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Balderston, the freshman girls dorm, is absolutely amazing. I loved working there my senior year with the freshman girls. It was truly an experience that has had a long lasting affect on me.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I really enjoyed all the electives that Westtown offered during junior and senior spring. These classes focused on very specific elements of literature that students would not be exposed to ordinarily. I also felt that my classes were all very challenging and interesting. Teachers were always open to suggestions about how to make classes more exciting as well as whether or not their teaching styles were helpful to students.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The facilities at Westtown are limited, especially for indoor sports. This was a conflict during the winter when multiple teams needed to use the indoor facilities. Mandatory sports at first is something that I found difficult. Growing up in a primarily urban enviornment I never had the opportunity to play soccer, field hockey and lacross. I felt that during the winter there were limited sports options for students (basketball or swimming). I feel that alternate sports possibilities need to be explored in the future. (Westtown is looking to correct the problem of limited space in their Ten Year Plan)
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Westtown has a very strong arts department. During my four years I participated in the ceramics class and the Senior Play. I also was a member of the orchestra my freshman year. What I liked most was the facilities and how accessible it was to students to use during the evening hours.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
One of the extracurricular activities that I was most dedicated to was Service Network. Service Network provided students with an opportunity to get off campus and work with students in the West Chester area and other local areas. The range of opportunities for community service at Westtown was very large. You could work with the elderly, disabled children, SPCA or you could stay on campus and work with members of the Westtown Community in the middle and lower school. One of the most important parts of this program were the friday group meetings were students told the head of the Service Network the problems and concerns that they were having with each site or what they really enjoyed. This was important because it helped students have a voice in their Community Service.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
As a prefect and one of the first proctors of the female dorms I have had lots of experience with the inner workings of Westtown dorm life. Living with almost 70 other girls my freshman year was slightly overwhelming but the support systems availble through, prefects and dorm parents helped ease the transition from home to school. The rooms tend to be on the smaller size for sophomores and some juniors but during senior year you are able to have a skybed which gives you more space in your room. Having limited amounts of space you are forced to keep your space clean and learn how to respect the space of your roommate. Living with someone else gives you the opportunity to make a lifelong friend as well. It is also very rare to have a single. As for late night food access most students have their own small refigerators in their room allowing them the ability to store food and drinks when the dinning facilities are closed.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Creating new and innovative menus is a difficult task when you are serving so many people. That is why one of my favorite things was when student groups were given the opportunity to create the menus and help with the cooking process. This would help students realize first how difficult it is to plan a meal for that many people and the team work involved in making a meal successfully run. Another important aspect about Westtown is work jobs. Each student has a responsbility each semester to participate in a Work Job. Whether they are serving dinner, or washing dishes each student lends a hand. Family style dinning is also a plus because it helps students meet teachers and students outside of a classroom context.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Westtown is fairly isolated from the surrounding area creating an even stronger sense of community.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Social life revolved around dorm life. I have made friends at Westtown that I will keep for the rest of my life. Even during my time in college I have grown closer to students from Westtown who I was not necessarily close with during my four years there. Westtown is such a unique experience that it is difficult to find other students who went to different boarding schools that can understand what type of environment Westtown was. Westtown even after graduation has the ability to bring people together and reflect on their experiences there. The people you meet at Westtown are the people who are going to be your friends for the rest of your life.
|6:45 AM||Wake up get ready for Breakfast. If you are a senior breakfast is not mandatory|
|3:30 PM||Service Network|
|7:30 PM||Two Hour Study Hall|
|11:30 PM||Lights out|
|2:00 AM||Do Work|
|8:00 AM||Movie with Westtown|
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