Westtown School - Review #32
Reflections and Advice:
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Westtown is a place that strives to bring out the unique qualities of each individual and then allows them to be comfortable with those qualities. Students coming into Westtown may never have played soccer before in their life and then they graduate from the school a Varsity athlete with league and regional honors. Westtown guides students to find the subject or sport they are truly passionate about. One of the most unique aspects of Westtown is the presence of Quakerism on the campus. The spiritual atmosphere is the foundation of the community. I am not a deeply religious person nor was I raised in a religious household, but I found a real understanding and acceptance of spirituality through weekly Meeting for Worship and religion class. In class we discussed Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism...even voodoo. With the diversity of the student body, most of these religions are represented on campus and our class discussions were led by these students. Students are always encouraged to speak up and share their culture and stories. The tight-knit community at Westtown is sparked especially by the 2-year boarding requirement for all juniors and seniors. Because of this, ALL juniors and seniors are on campus which allows for class unity.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I think Westtown has made me into a much more aware and respectful person. It has given me skills I will take with me for the rest of my life.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would advise students to take advantage of the diversity of students and cultures that boarding schools, especially Westtown, have to offer. Listen to their stories and make friends from all over the world. After coming back from a year in college I have realized that most people do not have the opportunity to receive such a global education.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
Westtown is not only my school; it is my home. It is the foundation that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I know that I can always come back to campus and walk down Main Hall and remember that I am part of a much larger family. This respect and love is so uniquely Westtownian.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Visitors to Westtown should check out the lake and boathouse. There is a very nice walking trail around the perimeter of the lake. There are also brand new beautiful stadium tennis courts.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
My largest class at Westtown was 18 students and my smallest class was only 2 students. Because of the small classes, the teachers constantly encourage class discussion. Instead of simply copying notes from the board, all of my classes involved discussion and input from students. One of the most amazing things about Westtown is the accessibility of the teachers. They constantly go out of their way to help students- for both academic and emotional support. Another nice aspect of the academics at Westtown is the flexibility of the classes. This year I took Spanish 6 (AP), Calc BC (AP), Biology II (AP), Holocaust History (Adv) and English 12. Students who are more interested in the math and sciences can focus in those areas during their senior year if they wish. The teachers at Westtown are willing to take you as far as you wish to go- in all subjects. The academic environment at Westtown is healthy and reflects the strong sense of community on campus. We study in groups and work together on projects. It is competitive but certainly not cut-throat.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Although Westtown is not known for its jock culture or huge sports atmosphere, Westtown students really support their teams- in their own unique way. Last year my Girls Lacrosse team was undefeated in the league. We hosted the finals at Westtown on a Saturday morning and the sidelines were packed. Students flocked to the fields painted in brown and white, with drums and pots and pans to bang. There were even boys in Westtown kilts to show their support. At Westtown, students aren't afraid to have fun and be themselves. Sports at the varsity and JV level are taken seriously at Westtown. We play to win. There are lots of levels for students who are not as into sports. There are tons of beautiful playing fields on campus, although, the gym needs some work. I've heard that there will be renovations to the gym, a new wrestling room, dance studio and indoor track.
Art, Music, and Theatre:
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Although I was not as involved in the arts program at Westtown, I had many friends who excelled on the stage and in the studio. I always felt like my arts classes were some of the most difficult at Westtown, because the teachers expect a lot from their students. During my photography class I spent hours and hours in the dark room, slaving over my prints. The arts curriculum ranges from introductory painting classes to serious studio classes for the adept artists. One most popular arts classes at Westtown is the Clay class. The teacher instructs much more than how to use the wheel, she sees clay as the tool for students to mold themselves.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There are so many clubs at Westtown you might get lost trying to decide which one to join. And, if you don't see one that you’re interested in, you can make your own! All you need is a faculty mentor and a student head. Westtown sets aside time once a week during the school day for club meetings. Some clubs are very serious and dedicated while others just get together to have a good time. Some examples of Westtown clubs are Amnesty, Model UN, Chess Club, International Student Organization, Skateboarding, Knitting Club, Robotics Club.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Anytime you put together 80 high school girls or boys on one hallway it's going to be a good time! The dorm life at Westtown is particularly unique because it takes place all in one building- the Main Building. While freshman boys and girls live in their own houses, the rest of the boarding community lives on either the second or third floor of the main building. English and History classrooms line the first floor of the building along with the main dining room. The building is split in the middle making a girl's end and a boy's end. Students cannot access the dorms of the opposite sex except during the rare open dorm evenings from 9:30-10:00 after study hall. All of the dorm rooms are doubles and most have "sky-beds" which are suspended on the ceiling and accessed by a ladder to create more space. The rooms are selected through a lottery system. The dorm is run by six or seven student prefects along with faculty members who live on the hall. Many families with small children live in Main Hall as well and they are embraced as siblings in the community. Almost every hall has a lounge with computers/Internet and couches.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Westtown's dining room is located on the Main hallway. All meals are served on table clothed 8-person tables and there is even a famous N.C. Wyeth original "The Giant" painting hanging at the head of the room. Breakfast (required for freshman, sophomores and juniors) starts at 6:45 and lasts until 8:00. Lunch is either 11:00 or 1:00 depending on your class schedule. Dinner begins at 6:00. There is a wide variety of food in the dining room. The main course is served to each table and then there is additional food on the hot bar and salad bar. Fresh fruit and peanut butter and jelly are always available. Westtown has worked to integrate healthy, organic food into the diet of its students and there are always vegetarian and vegan options on the menu. Another special perk is the Westtown baker who makes warm muffins and breads every day for a mid-day snack.
Social and Town Life:
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
There are a number of ways students can get off campus at Westtown. School vans are always taking students into West Chester on the weekends to different restaurants and into Philadelphia for plays and concerts. West Chester is a cute town with shops and is only a 10 minute ride. Philadelphia is about 45 minutes away. The Westtown shopping center is within walking distance and students frequently visit there for the grocery store, hair cuttery and Burger King.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
One of the best parts about Westtown is the lack of social barriers. Students of all races and ethnicities are friends and become like brothers and sisters by graduation. Some of my best friends from Westtown are from places ranging from inner city Newark to Korea to California. Everyone feels welcome and is embraced in the community. The evening social hour is from 9:30-10:30 after study hall. Students flock to main hall to relax and hang out. In the spring time students take advantage of the beautiful campus and play frisbee on the South Lawn. Westtown students learn to make any situation fun.
Get up, breakfast in the dining room, maybe a work job cleaning in the kitchen
Girls Collection- sports announcements, news, etc.
History of the Holocaust, English
Snack break- bakery goods from the baker
Calculus BC (AP)
Biology (AP)/Free period
Meeting for Worship (Sundays)
Trip to South Street in Philly/Mall/Camping-canoeing
Hang out on Main hall with friends
Dorm meetings run by prefects and dorm faculty
In rooms, lights out depends on the grade of the student
Alumni Reviews Review School
Westtown School Alumni #1
Class of 2018
Class of 2018
Small Quaker school, tight group, not so much focused on strong academics as much as creating good individuals in society.. . .
Westtown School Alumni #2
Class of 2018
Class of 2018
Westtown has a beautiful campus. It was beautiful and especially safe to walk around any time of day. Also the style of teaching is very hands on and has small classes, usually with. . .
Westtown School Alumni #3
Class of 2016
Class of 2016
Two aspects of Westtown that stand out in particular are its sense of community, and the education driven towards social change. Its sense of community is in part due to the fact that Westtown is. . .
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