Boys Who Actually Like—Scratch That, LOVE—Their School
Brotherhood is one of the pillars upon which Avon Old Farms, the New England boarding school for boys, is built. Our strong sense of school spirit fuels the Avon Brotherhood. Now, many people may think that school spirit refers only to athletics, however, it is much more than that at Avon. Our spirit stretches far beyond the athletic arena into the theater, concert hall, art gallery, and classroom. The sense of school spirit at Avon Old Farms contributes greatly to the cultivation of selfless and supportive character.
There is no doubt that support breeds confidence. So, picture being supported by 400 brothers. Whether it is on the stage, in the athletic arena, or anywhere in between our boys know the value of being supported, but also of showing support, too. Many teenage boys just want to avoid embarrassment and want to feel a part of something. When it comes time for a young man to take a calculated risk—perhaps trying out for a team, taking a new art class, joining a new club, or giving a presentation—he will benefit from the encouragement of those around him. With this, the young man taking this leap of faith will gain confidence in himself, even if he makes a mistake or fails because he knows that the boys around him are in his corner rooting for him to succeed.
Here's a small anecdote that perfectly illustrates my point:
The other day I was at our varsity basketball tryout and there was a young man who clearly took a risk in trying out for the varsity team. This young man is not very coordinated and could not keep up with the speed of the game at the varsity level; however, every time he was on the court, the other boys clapped for him and yelled out his name encouraging him to finish through with the drill, even though everyone else finished before him. Then, as he would step off the court for water, the boys all greeted him with high-fives and “nice job, man.” I saw this young man’s reserved nature turn to one where he was comfortable asking questions and speaking to others during the tryout process. There is no question that the support our boys showed this young man during basketball tryouts developed an augmented sense of confidence within himself, and he will probably never forget the support that he felt that week.
Actors get ready for the winter play
The sense of school spirit at Avon Old Farms provides our boys with a platform to develop an empathetic perspective. Teenage boys are not often expected to think outside of themselves. However, being a part of this community and seeing how the upperclassmen value the act of putting others before themselves, the younger boys learn to develop empathy. Now, this comes into play throughout many areas of student life at Avon Old Farms. For instance, every boy attended the theater production this past month. When their brothers entered the scene, the audience gave a huge roar of applause, expressing their appreciation of the time and effort that the actors dedicated to the performance. Then, as the play continued, the boys sat quietly, being a polite audience for their brothers in the theater. The boys at Avon Old Farms, the CT private school, know how much work the actors put into the play, and they show their appreciation with thunderous applause and also with silence when they need to focus.
This empathetic response is most evident when a boy is struggling, though. Whether a boy gets injured in a game or makes a mistake during a presentation, his brothers are always there to help. Our boys realize that things do not always go as planned, and when adversity strikes, they are there for one another as they have all had their own struggles as teenagers, large and small.
Avon boys are enthusiastic about many different things, from the instruments that they play to the book series that they read; but their enthusiasm for Avon Old Farms is one that they all share. Their willing energy is easily noticed when you take a walk around campus. If there are boys walking about—usually between classes—all you need to do is take a look at them: their facial expressions; their body language; and the way that they interact with one another proves they are proud of the school they attend. This short observation can illustrate all that you need to know. Our boys love their school, and one another. When asked, they are quick to share their own personal experiences of triumph and failure with others from off campus. This strong sense of Brotherhood that the boys have for one another is easily displayed during performances, athletic contests, and art shows. The boys truly care about one another and they cherish their many different talents through the passionate support that they provide for their brothers.
The coolest part about school spirit at Avon is that it doesn't just end when the boys graduate. These feelings of support, empathy, and passion continue. The alums remain in support of the school and its mission far beyond their years on campus. The alumni base is fiercely loyal to all Avonians and this rings true when it comes time for our boys to find internships and jobs during their college years. This support and passion is at the forefront of our many alumni events around the world every year and during our alumni weekend each spring. Hundreds of Avonians from all decades return to campus to share their memories and to celebrate a very important place in their lives.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Avon Old Farms Class of 2011