Two minutes for boarding

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Photo Credit: Open Source

Holden Caulfield’s memory may linger but are boarding schools really the roost of the privileged elite?

Boarding school has long been seen as a dumping ground for the ne’er-do-wells of the world or for rich parents to buy their children an education that they won’t appreciate. In reality, however, these schools offer a diverse education completely unlike any school: public or private.

To shed some light on the matter, I contacted my friend Will Rubin (whom some may remember from Glen Rock Middle School). He visited home about two weeks ago, so I decided to use the time to get a glimpse about the boarding school life.

Will currently attends New Hampton School in New Hampton, New Hampshire and previously attended the Northwood School in in Lake Placid, New York.

He reasons for attending the school are succinct: “Hockey,” he said. This comes as no surprise, as this reporter grew up with Will and attended the same hockey camp in Lake Placid, CAN/AM Hockey Camp.

For the duration of the camp we ate, slept, and spent most of the day at the Northwood School for a week. When Will’s days at CAN/AM were over, it was clear that his days at Northwood weren’t, so it came as no surprise to me when I learned the summer after eighth grade that Will intended to go to the Northwood School — a passion he had always been adamant about following.

At a regular high school, you could spend all four years there and never even talk to a handful of people… at boarding school, you’re kinda forced to.”

— Will Rubin

To Will, the differences between boarding school and public school are quite evident. “You live with the people you go to school with, and it’s a very different experience,” Will said. “At a regular high school, you could spend all four years there and never even talk to a handful of people… at boarding school, you’re kinda forced to.”

The hockey forward added, “[You] can’t get away from people [you] don’t like, but I get a chance to meet people I might not be able to meet otherwise”.

As one would imagine there are also many social differences between the life of a public school student and a student at a boarding school. “We only have, like, 4 or 5 classes a day,” said Will. “After that we mostly hang out in each other’s’ rooms, walk around, eat, and work out since a lot of my friends play hockey.”

They’re not idiots.”

— Will Rubin

The nightlife in the school is minimal.  Will said, “[We] don’t have parties. Those are expressly forbidden.”

Socializing with the opposite gender is trickier, too. “They’re not idiots,” said Will. “Girls’ dorms are in a different building, and sneaking over there can get you suspended. But that doesn’t stop some people”.

Another lesser known facet of boarding schools is the presence of international students. At both of Will’s boarding schools there has been an overabundance of students from places as far-flung as Korea, England, France, Africa, etc.

Concerning some of the stereotypes given to boarding schools as a haven for the rich and troublesome (no thanks to Holden Caulfield) it seems that perhaps it is true, but with a grain of salt.

“Well, there are rich kids. These schools are expensive,” Will said. “As for troublemakers… aren’t they at your school, too?”