Keystone Magazine - Page 40

Interview Q: How will Keystone’s boarding program sufficiently prepare students for college and adult life? A: One of the major benefits that parents will see from their children is that they will become independent not just in time management, and managing their room and their work, but they also become much more interesting kids. Parents often say that when their children go away to boarding, When you see your child on a daily basis sometimes you are talking in very short sound bites about life in general. “How was your day?” “Oh, it was fine,” the child will say. But when a child is in boarding school and life is so full of different opportunities, parents will often say, “I talked with my child for the first time” – particularly boys’ parents – “and my child had so much to talk about. He was telling me about what he was doing in science class, and then he was talking about his roommate, and a trip that he took with his advisor.” Kids will have so many different experiences and have so much more to talk about. This is one way that students benefit from boarding and how it prepares them for life. Students will feel different in their own skin in terms of being connected to other people. Their circle expands in a boarding program. They feel more comfortable with other people, with lots of different types of people. By living at home that time is reduced with just the family members. Academically, kids will really develop a voice. I look forward to the day when kids ask, “Why do we do this that way?” “Is this the best way that we can run this program or could we consider trying something different?” My response back would be, “Why do you think that would work?” And get kids engaged and really thinking about how they can improve life on campus. The other piece is that kids feel ownership of their community and of our school. Our students will be ready to face the world wherever they end up, whether it is here in China or anywhere else in the world. They will have a strong foundation and strong legs to stand on because they have had to be independent. They have matured. They have had to take risks. They have been greatly challenged, not just academically, but in their thinking and their actions. Q: What is the value of friendship formed in this critical stage of life? What are the implications for the students during their time at Keystone and after? A: The connections that students will make with teachers at Keystone are very deep, because teachers see them in so 38 The Keystone Magazine many different realms. I have seen this at a number of different schools. It is not like you walk into a Math class, for example, that has 50 students. These are classes where it is you, your teacher and 14 other students. You cannot hide in these settings. “Is your homework done,” the teacher will say. “No,” says the student. “Oh, that’s a problem,” the teacher will say. In contrast to being one of many where the teacher might not ever know, these teachers will know. Teachers will know their students and what they are interested in. You will see teachers go to plays and games because students that live on your hallway or that you advise or students who are in your class are participating and we are family, we are connected. So the bond with teachers will be very different than what students are used to. There will not be any middle person in the classroom who talks to the teachers on behalf of the students. Students will have direct access to their teachers for extra help, conversation, mentoring and guidance. “What we want to do in leadership development is to play to the strengths of each student and not have a preconceived notion of what leadership has to be.” This is what boarding school teachers do. Particularly in the first year when we have 300 students and just 50 boarders, we will know everyone. Imagine the attention that students are going to receive from teachers, administrators and everyone else. It will be a small and intimate group. Roommates become friends for life. Proximity really matters. We have students from past schools