Blair Academy - Review #6
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||1996-2000|
|Sports and Activities:||Prefect (dormitory counselor), yearbook editor, formal dinner table foot, society of skeptics, Students Helping Others Prepare for college, four years field hockey, 2 years crew, 2 years lacrosse, 1 year ski team, 1 year ski instructor|
|College Enrolled:||University of Pennsylvania|
|Home Town, State:||Reading, PA|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Blair is an extroardinarily close community of students, faculty and staff. My political science teacher was my hockey coach and my dorm parent. My college counselor still looks me up when he visits my campus, and my European history teacher devoted a week to taking my friends and me through Ireland while we were studying European history. The entire school gathers together three times a week during the academic day and each evening for dinner. Each term, the faculty comes together to collectively review every student's well-being. Blair's community is full of caring people who serve as superb role models for their students. When most high school students feel a pressure to perform for colleges today, this type of intra-school support makes personal growth and striving for excellence a community theme rather than one student's struggle.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Blair challenged and nurtured me, so when I graduated I had the confidence to do whatever I set out to do. This became a significant advantage when I would become a campus leader in college. Last May, I was awarded Penn's highest award for leadership and dedication to the school, and I don't think there is any chance this would have happened without the values and growth I was given by Blair.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
1) Get to know your professors as well as you can. 2) Take advantage of the opportunities set out for you...At Blair, the Society of Skeptics brings speakers to campus each week ranging from Dith Pran, a Cambodian refugee whose war time story was portrayed in the movie, The Killing Field to television news anchor Consuelo Mack. Even when you are bogged down with work, don't waste these one time opportunities. 3) Don't ever be afraid to ask for help with anything. 4) Be friendly, and you will find friends quickly. 5) Call your parents.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I loved the community of people. The teachers were caring role models, and the students made me a very proud member of my class.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Try to come on a Friday to sit in on a school meeting. This will give you a great sense for the school. If that doesn't work, try to catch a Skeptics (used to be on Tuesday nights) or a non-denominational chapel (wednesdays).
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Looking back, I wonder how I did so much in terms of paper writing, studying, sports and activities. My time at Blair was rigorous but never competitive or pressure-ridden. The 6.0 grading scale Blair initiated in my freshman year was a great motivator and indicator of remarkable performance. ALL of my professors invested themselves in my writing, and they never allowed me to settle with something that was good when it had the potential to be stellar. They helped me to this end, and their investment in me was a great motivator. Because of this, my time at Blair was my period of greatest academic growth, even greater than my college career at Penn or my graduate studies at Harvard.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I've heard the Dean of one of my universities refer to Blair as an athletics powerhouse. On a different note, my mother chose to send me to Blair when she compared the sportsmanship at Blair to the spirit of my school at the time. Blair requires all students to perform in sports, but it offers such an array of team, individual sports and activities that range from kayaking to mountain biking to its world renowned basketball and wrestling programs. There is something for everyone, and the instruction is wonderful. Blair Athletics rounds out one's education in a very unique and enriching way.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I loved Blair's resources in terms of visual arts classes. I studied jewelery design and photography. I also enjoyed attending art shows in the Romano Gallery, performances by the Ahn Trio, Blair's fall and spring musicals and faculty performances. Blair's commitment to the arts grew almost to the commitment it showed to sports while I was there, and as a student who would not normally be artistically inclined, I was able to appreciate the frequent performances on campus and fine facilities.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
For a small community, Blair always had ample opportunities to get involved and invest yourself in an activity that interested you. I was very involved at Blair, and I think this made an enormous difference when I attended college. The time management and public speaking I learned through my activities gave me the confidence and capability to become class president at Penn and a student leader in many other facets as well.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
I enjoyed the flavor faculty families brought to our dormitories. When a baby was born, it was exciting for the entire dorm, and you always felt welcome in your dorm parents' suites and lives. I also loved the pride each dormitory had in dorm competitions and dressing up for halloween.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Dinners were assigned seating, so you became well acquainted with people with whom you would not automatically dine. On weekends, we'd have picnics when weather permitted, and you got the sense that the people in dining cared about the students as much as the faculty members cared. There was a great sense of community within Blair's dining.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Picturesque. Blair is set in the hills of northwestern New Jersey. It is probably the most rural area of the state, and the Main Street right off campus is 'quaint'. There isn't much entertainment outside of Blair, but there is an enormous national park, the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area, bordering the school. I loved the beauty, seclusion and nature of Blair's campus and of Blairstown, and then I moved on to college in Philadelphia. Going from rural to urban was a great exercise for me, and I enjoyed each for the time of my life that I spent at them.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Friendly and engaging. You can't escape becoming a close member of this community. My favorite aspect was getting to know many of Blair's international students. I had to look far in my college search to find a school with such a strong international feel to it.
|7:00 AM||grab breakfast at the dining hall|
|8:00 AM||school meeting|
|8:45 AM||begin classes|
|3:00 PM||finish classes, change for practice|
|5:30 PM||finish practice, shower for dinner|
|6:15 PM||formal dinner|
|7:00 PM||free time|
|8:00 PM||study hall|
|10:00 PM||study hall ends, go to the campus center or spend time with people outside|
|10:30 AM||sign in to dorms|
|11:00 AM||lights out unless you have late lights to study more|
|11:30 AM||finish class, lunch|
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