2.01.2007

Big Time Boarding School A (BTBSA).

So today I took the day off from work so A could interview at BTBSA. I woke up at 4 a.m. to make our 6:23 a.m. train from Grand Central to the little town in which BTBSA is located (although this morning, all references to this location were "I can't believe I ##$$!!!ing agreed to 9 a.m. Am I nuts? I can't believe I ##$$!!!ing agreed to 9 a.m. Am I nuts?...).

Once we were on the Metro-North, it took us two hours to get there.

We arrived at the BTBSA lobby with 10 minutes to spare. A bust of John F. Kennedy awaited us. And an oil painting of JFK. And a few quotes of JFK's were displayed on plaques around the lobby fireplaces. We guessed that this was some sort of veiled attempt to let us know that JFK was a student at BTBSA.

The Admissions Greeter met us and offered coffee, tea, or chocolate? Coffee, thanks, I said.
"So, er, you are here with your brother?"
Erm, no. This is A, my son.
Get out!
No, I am XX years old. And A is XX years old. Really.
GET OUT!
[Being told to Get out! twice, when we were actually considering attending this school was perhaps not such a good sign, so I said...]
May I use your bathroom?

I waited for The Admissions Greeter to deliver my third Get out! but she instead showed me the ladies' room.

Tour first, interview last.

A brainiacal East Indian-American student led us around the vast campus (I would call it Bucolic Boarding Campus, but something restrains me from bestowing that label on BTBSA). We visited the facilities designed by I.M. Pei. The dorms. The swimming pool. The tennis courts. The squash courts. The gym. The theater. The arts wing. The library. The dining hall. The wood paneling and moosehead in the dining hall. When we were done, we returned to the main lobby again, where A was whisked away to his interview, and Flamboyantly Gay Student Who Exudes Sweetness (FGSWES) came and spoke to me and another parent. The whole affair was unbelievably well-orchestrated.

When all was said and done, I made a mental note on how I felt about this school. The students are openly competitive. And then, there's the money factor. The Prince of Bhutan was a student here. Ivanka Trump. And of course, JFK. How would my A fit in?

I decided whatever our acceptances, I would want to hold out for Public High School/Early College and Bucolic Campus School in NYC.

As we shook hands with our Admissions Greeter and said goodbye, A quietly placed this gem in my ear: "I have to go here. What do I need to do to go here?"

5 comments:

Becky said...

My reading lately seems full of boarding schools. First Doris Kearns Goodwin's "The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys", all about JFK and Joe Jr. at Choate, and then rereading John McPhee's lovely "The Headmaster", about Frank Boyden of Deerfield.

When my friends and I graduated from the now defunct Fleming School, which went only up to 8th grade, some went off to boarding schools, including Choate. Most of their parents seemed content to leave the kids there, bringing them home only for holidays; summer they were sent off to camp, etc. Which seemed odd considering how close the schools were, especially since most of those families had country homes, too.

Ivankica, eh?

la Maitresse said...

Did your Choate friends grow up to be normal? (I am praying this doesn't make it on anyone's Google Alerts)

la Maitresse said...

...also, by normal I mean not bratty, elitist, snobby...you know.

Manda said...

When I was a kid, I didn't even know boarding schools existed in the U.S. I thought they were some wildly romantic European thing. Well, we poor folk of the hardscrabble south don't know much. . .

Becky said...

As normal as anyone else lol. There were some fairly wild goings on at my expensive private (day) high school. Such as the offspring of the well-known head of a drug rehab program, who was one of the biggest, erm, indulgers in the school.

Again, I think it comes down to the parents. Whether the child is at public or private day or boarding school, do the parents think that you drop the kid off on the first day of kindergarten and pick them up on graduation day, in order to drop them off again at college? And you don't have concerns in that department. You and A are close and talk, he's had a terrific foundation, and you're certainly going to see a lot of each other through the school year.

If A isn't bratty, elitist, or snobby studying science at MIT or fencing from an Olympian, boarding school won't do it to him either lol.

Just one thought -- are the bs teachers as hands off as they now seem to be in day schools? Or is there some mentoring and leadership? Might be nice on a day to day basis, especially if the student gets to choose and it's not assigned.