Greg was in 10th grade at a large, public, urban high school. An endearing, articulate, straightforward young man, by the middle of 10th grade, Greg felt lost at his high school and was losing motivation. Greg didn’t know how to study, he didn’t know how to “try”, even though he sought extra help and tried to make connections with teachers. He was looking for “a sense of place” where he could explore his eclectic interests which included sports, theater, cars, painting and drawing.
An individual evaluation revealed “clear strengths in verbal and auditory learning and marked difficulties in attention and concentration, meeting criteria for an ADD diagnosis.” By the time we met with him, he was failing Physics, and had B’s and C’s in his other subjects, a pretty demoralizing picture for this able boy whose conceptual abilities fall in the superior range. Greg impressed us with his sincerity and flexibility, and with an undaunted sense of humor and perspective. Despite his frustration about school, Greg was open to exploring boarding schools, and he wrote a splendid application, in which he included the following statement: “One thing I may have forgotten to mention in my response to the extracurricular activities question is that I do take pride in my observational skills. This does not necessarily mean that I take good notes in class or that I would make a good detective. This means that I spend much time studying human life and the world around me. This observance is very closely tied to my thoughtfulness.” And thoughtful he was! Greg and his family explored several small and supportive boarding schools. He was admitted to all of them.
That was two years ago. A recent letter from Greg’s father reads as follows:
“Thank you so much for all your help to our family. I can’t thank you enough for sending us their way now more than two years ago. There are schools with more impressive facilities, but this school has an outsized impact on character and outlook. They have made a real virtue of their size and constraints. You can see it in the level of constructive intimacy among students and faculty, and likewise in the degree of creativity and can-do attitude. Thank you again.”