Top 5 Reasons Why An All-Boys School Is The Way To Go
As someone who works in admissions at an all-boys school, I often ask prospective students, “So, what do you think of attending an all-boys school?” The boys usually respond by describing how there will be fewer distractions or how they would be more comfortable being themselves. However, there are always a few boys each year who are truly unsure of this all-boys concept. Well, for those who are unsure, listen up. Here are five reasons why the all-boys community at Avon Old Farms is advantageous for teenage boys around the world.
1. Camaraderie—Or, As We Say, "Brotherhood"
The camaraderie within the student body is palpable from the moment that you step on the Avon Old Farms campus. The school’s founder, Theodate Pope Riddle, famously said that “the ways in which we differ are far more important than the way in which we are alike.” With 408 boys on campus from 24 different countries and 28 different states, the students truly value just how they are each different individually. It is our students’ differences that fuel the strong sense of support and community at Avon Old Farms.
Our boys forge brotherly relationships with one another as they live every aspect of their lives at Avon, together. It is commonplace to find the boys rallying around someone who is having a tough day, or celebrating one who has done a commendable deed. The camaraderie on campus is catalyzed by the strong sense of brotherhood that the boys share for one another. There is nothing else like it.
2. Stigmatized Labels→ Gone
At co-educational high schools, stigmatized labels may be prevalent. These labels have been made commonplace by popular culture spanning many generations. We have all heard them: “Theater-kid,” “Geek,” “Jock,” “Artsy,” and so on. In an all-boys environment, these labels are actually embraced. The more “labels” that an individual can pride himself on, the more well-rounded he becomes. Many boys schools strive to create comfortable environments where the students are free to discover their hidden talents in otherwise denigrated areas of high school life.
At Avon, our faculty and our experienced students will encourage the younger boys to take several leaps of faith and try new things. Why? Because you never know when you may discover something that you are passionate about. Our supportive, low stakes/high reward environment makes it just a bit more comfortable for the boys to stretch themselves in pursuit of discovering their true character.
3. Tailored Curriculum And Teaching Ideology
Being an all-boys school we only teach, you guessed it ...boys. This allows our faculty to tailor their teaching styles to the boys in general, but also individually due to our small classes. Every classroom is an ‘active classroom,’ meaning that our students are constantly engaged through various methods employed by their teachers.
With 90% of our faculty in residence, our teachers are coaches, advisors and dorm parents. They understand that their lives are dedicated to doing what is best for our boys. Therefore, our boys—being relational learners—cultivate strong relationships built upon trust and respect for their teachers. The result is a higher level of achievement in the classroom.
4. Friendly Competition/Collaboration
Generally speaking, boys are competitive in nature: we strive to utilize their ambitious spirits during the academic day. Whether the boys are in small groups competing in a Jeopardy review session for Spanish or competing in a head-to-head (prop) sword fight during a walkthrough of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in English, we prepare our boys to bring out the best in one another.
Now, with competition must come collaboration, and there is an abundance of synergy in the classroom. In every class, boys will be tasked with working together—perhaps as a class or in small groupings on a variety of projects spanning the academic disciplines. Throughout this process, the boys learn how to work with different people and which roles that they can best adopt when working in group settings. We intend for our boys to find their voices within these small groups and during in-class presentations. Upon gaining this self-confidence we present our boys with various leadership opportunities spanning the many disciplines of life at Avon Old Farms.
5. Empathy→ Crushing Common Perceptions of Manhood
At Avon Old Farms, the best New England boarding school for boys, we often fall back to the proverb, “Where boys grow into men.” However, we understand that it is incredibly critical to effectively educate our boys on what it means to be a man, and how we interpret “manhood” in our world today. We stress that a man is not someone who is tough and shows no emotions. However, we believe manhood to be constructed around empathy, one’s ability to understand and share feelings with another human being. We show the boys that it is okay to cry, it is okay to be frustrated, it is okay to ask for assistance. By educating our students about what it means to “be a man,” we provide them with an empathetic foundation upon which they can construct a promising future for themselves and others in the world.
Now, some boys may be wondering, "Do we even get to see girls?" The short answer is yes. Balance is important in life, and the tenet to live in harmony is no different at Avon Old Farms. As a CT college preparatory school, our job is to prepare the boys for life at a co-ed college or university, therefore we provide our boys with ample opportunities to socialize with the all-girls schools nearby.
Our school is situated directly in the middle of two all-girls schools, Miss Porter’s School (5 miles away) and the Ethel Walker School (4 miles away). Our private high school has a robust weekend activities schedule, which includes both on and off campus events with the surrounding girl's schools. During the week, Avon is all-boys, all the time; however, weekends are just as busy in order to strike a social balance in the boys’ lives.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Avon Old Farms Class of 2011