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Groton 20 QUESTIONS 19 ANSWERS

Groton School

282 Farmers Row • P.O. Box 991 • Groton, MA 01450 978-448-7510 • www.groton.org


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How Do I Apply? The Groton application is available online. Begin the application process by completing our inquiry form at

www.groton.org/inquiry. We look forward to learning about you, and to showing you what makes Groton special.


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What Is Groton School? Founded in 1884, Groton School is a coeducational boarding school for students in grades eight through twelve, located in a picturesque New England town 45 miles northwest of Boston, Massachusetts. Groton is a community where everyone matters. The school is blessed with enormous resources and a heritage of producing graduates who have made substantial contributions to the United States and the world. The school’s founder, Endicott Peabody, continued to be an influence on Groton’s most prominent alumnus, Franklin Roosevelt, throughout FDR’s presidency.


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What Are the Students Like? Kind, thoughtful, curious, and eager to learn! Part of the reason Groton graduates are so successful is because we look for people who will treat each other well and who will bring out that instinct in others. Inclusion is a core value and a vital ingredient in Groton’s formula for success. Including talented students from a wide variety of backgrounds broadens our perspectives and insights, enlivens our community, and better prepares our graduates for the opportunities and challenges ahead. Groton students come from many different regions, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds. They are bonded by striking similarities: they are excited by learning from each other, they challenge themselves and persevere, and they value the community that they build together. Most graduates remember Groton as the place where they made their closest friends in life.

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What Is It Like to Live at Groton? Groton is not a school you “grow into” over the course of years. It fits from the start. You will feel that it is neither too big when you are young, nor too familiar when you are older. At Groton you “grow into” new and appropriate challenges and opportunities every year. This is true throughout the school, but it is particularly evident in residential life. As a younger student, you live in dormitories with students from your grade or, as we say, your form. In Second and Third Forms (grades eight and nine), your days are highly structured with uniform bedtimes and required study halls that build good habits for the years ahead. The structure loosens each year, and in your final year, you will play a role in running the school. Every senior at Groton serves as a “prefect.” At the end of every night, members of each dormitory gather for “check-in.” When you see how dormmates tell stories and joke around, you’ll know why we think of Groton as a family. Students treat their dormmates as they would treat brothers and sisters. They know each other and understand each other. The dorm is a warm, relaxed atmosphere. It’s a home.

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Will I Get to Know Older Students? You may get to know older students through clubs, athletics, arts programs, and perhaps some classes, but you definitely will get to know them in the dorm. All Sixth Formers (seniors) serve as “prefects� and help resident faculty members run dormitories. Young students look up to their prefects as they would older siblings. These Sixth Formers are role models for the leader each student will become. When you serve as a prefect during your final year at Groton, you will have the chance to learn about your own leadership style. The prefect system creates a healthy cycle of student life in which Sixth Formers aspire to help younger students as well as their own prefects helped them. You can expect to develop lasting friendships with older students at Groton School.

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Why Do You Call the Campus “the Circle”? Frederick Law Olmsted, the renowned landscape architect who designed Groton, chose to place the school’s buildings around a circle, on a plateau overlooking fields and woodlands that stretch to the Nashua River. Today, we refer to our campus as “the Circle,” in part because of the vast expanse of lawn at its center but also because the shape has become an apt metaphor for the Groton experience.

A Circle is whole. Groton students are well rounded, not specialists. Students learn to engage, to debate, to confront some of the toughest questions facing our society. Groton students are thinkers, but they are far more. They work closely with faculty to develop personal interests. Many develop exceptional talents in arts and athletics. Groton students leave the Circle confident, well informed, and equipped to make a difference.

A Circle is inclusive. The Groton Circle is open literally (toward the northwest) and figuratively—to a varied population, from all kinds of backgrounds. At Groton, diversity is not enough. Groton is inclusive—everyone belongs. People with very different backgrounds and interests become the closest of friends at Groton.

A Circle is continuous. Lessons learned here stay with you. Alumni return to the Circle and speak of the power of their Groton education, as well as the doors that other Groton graduates help them open. Groton’s Circle is the ideal place to start your journey.

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Who Leads Groton School? Temba Maqubela began his tenure as the eighth headmaster of Groton School in 2013. A native of South Africa, Mr. Maqubela is an accomplished and honored educator who still finds time to teach organic chemistry at Groton. A school leader who truly knows everyone on campus, Mr. Maqubela stresses the importance of making a Groton education accessible to anyone who is qualified to attend. He and his wife, English teacher Vuyelwa Maqubela, open their home to Groton students every Thursday night. You will know them, and they will know you.

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What Is Groton’s Greatest Strength? How much it feels like a real home. The innovative programs at top schools like Groton are impressive, but Groton also remembers that a residential school’s most important function is to be a home away from home, a place that nurtures students as much as it challenges them. Groton’s founder believed that the best model for a school is the family. Acquiring knowledge is critical and satisfying at any age. But when you’re a teenager, it is equally important that you learn how to work well with others and how to identify and develop your own personal talents and interests. At Groton, you cannot avoid interacting with mentors who are committed to helping you discover your best self. And you will develop close friendships with interesting people who come from a wide variety of backgrounds. The family spirit of the school is the hidden “value-added” of Groton. Its effect is transformative.

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Do Groton Students Have Fun? Does a zebra have stripes? Fun is part of the routine at Groton through scheduled events such as Spring Fling, St. Mark’s Day, and Parlor at the Headmaster’s House. But it is also spontaneous. Once a term, the famous “green jacket” announces Surprise Holiday, classes are suspended for the day, and students climb aboard buses for a day in Cambridge or Boston. There’s more—hikes up Mt. Monadnock, formals, desserts at Dory’s, laser tag, costume competitions during Spirit Week, Red Sox games, dorm feeds, skiing and sledding, even studying Latin with Dr. Reyes! Fun is essential to life at Groton.

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What Are the Teachers Like? Inspiring. Skilled. Engaging and engaged. Just ask our graduates—they stay in touch with their teachers and even seek their advice for years after they leave Groton. Not only do Groton’s teachers know their material and craft, they also know their students. You will know our faculty members in multiple roles—as teacher, dormitory head, coach, director, and advisor. One of the great advantages of a school our size is that you will learn from, and develop friendships with, so many teachers—even those you do not have in class! Many Groton teachers could pursue careers in higher education, but they are committed to working with people your age.

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How Is Groton Different from a Public School? There are many great public schools, but few can offer classes with only twelve students. Few can offer the access to teachers that you will find at Groton. Few can offer the opportunities you’ll find at Groton. Groton’s atmosphere is charged by students who are eager to learn. Students are talented in many ways, and the smaller size of our school allows every student to participate in athletics, service, theater, music, and clubs. Finally, at a school that attracts students from around the world and can afford to finance the education of those in need, it is likely that you will meet a much more diverse group of friends than you would in many public high schools.

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How Is Groton Different from Other Top Boarding Schools? Groton offers the best of both worlds—the intimacy of a small school and the resources and programs of a much larger institution. The small school offers the opportunity to know more people well and to be an active participant in more facets of school life. You will not only know your headmaster, you will visit his home frequently! Through knowing more people well, you have a better chance of understanding yourself. Our expansive resources and programs help too. For example, Groton’s Global Education program gives students the chance to study and travel abroad. If you have an academic interest that you cannot pursue through the established curriculum, you can develop a one-to-one tutorial course with a teacher. The prefect year, the chance to study two languages, and opportunities created through the Groton alumni network are also distinguishing features of a Groton education.

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If I’m Not Religious, Will I Fit In at a School with Chapel Services? Does Groton require chapel? Yes. Is it what you think it is? Probably not. Four mornings a week, Groton School—a school founded in the Episcopal tradition—starts the day in St. John’s Chapel. The chaplain opens with a blessing, followed by a brief religious reading—it might be Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, or from any other spiritual tradition. The main event follows: a chapel talk, usually delivered by a Sixth Former, but sometimes by a visitor, teacher, or another member of the community. Chapel talks can be profound or fun, revealing or entertaining; through them, we realize just how individual our stories are. Listening to a chapel talk gives us all a chance to slow down and reflect together as a community. In thinking back to their time on the Circle, graduates often mention how much they miss the traditional start to the day at Groton.

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Does Groton Have Special Traditions? Yes . . . daily. You won’t be walking around in robes at Groton, but in some sense you might feel like you are living at Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. The daily tradition of the whole community listening to a chapel talk enriches each morning. Roll Call, the morning meeting run by the Sixth Form, follows chapel and is always good for a laugh or two. Mid-morning, the school takes a break and teachers—yes, the scholars of our classrooms— hand out apples and milk and cookies to students. Open mic nights regularly display the school’s talents. The school’s birthday is celebrated every October with birthday cake and a rousing rendition of “Blue Bottles.” Students show their zebra spirit during the week leading up to games against our longtime rival, St. Mark’s. Handshaking is a huge tradition: every night ends with dormitories gathering for check-in and handshaking, and the school year ends with graduates shaking hands and bidding farewell to every student and teacher at the school. Groton students love their traditions!

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At Groton, Can I Continue to Develop a Talent on Which I’ve Already Focused for a Long Time? Groton has always been full of students whose talents make you stop and gasp. Today, many students with advanced talents—particularly athletes—participate in programs that are philosophically at odds with residential schools that encourage well-rounded development. Groton recognizes the value of such outside programs, such as club teams, and at the same time asks students to engage as fully as possible in the life of the school. Groton students with special talents develop their skills both on campus and in outside programs, but they also make the extra effort to fulfill their commitment to the community. Groton helps students with this balancing act.

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Can My Family Afford Groton? Yes, thanks to the GRoton Affordability and INclusion initiative, known as GRAIN. GRAIN is a commitment by Headmaster Temba Maqubela and the board of trustees to welcome students of all income brackets to Groton and to ensure that the school never turns away a candidate for financial reasons. In addition, thanks to GRAIN, Groton’s tuition is frozen for three years, through the 2017-18 school year. What does GRAIN mean to you? It means that you should not assume you will not qualify for financial aid. Groton understands that families are saving for college and may have more than one child in an independent school. It also recognizes that many professionals and others who could afford Groton a few decades ago may find full tuition prohibitive today. Ask about aid. Groton’s financial aid grants typically are more generous and reach a wider range of incomes than the grants colleges offer. Sustaining and, in fact, increasing Groton’s affordability is the school’s most important strategic initiative.

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What’s New—and What’s Next—at Groton? Our commitment to GRAIN (GRoton Affordability and INclusion), which capped tuition through the 2017-18 year and is raising substantial sums to increase financial aid, has taken firm root as the school’s prime objective in the years ahead. Also exciting and brand new is the expansion of our 19th-century Schoolhouse, completed in the summer of 2015. It significantly improved facilities for the STEM subjects, transported the library across campus, and created flexible spaces that will further inspire learning, creativity, and collaboration. We are still learning how to take full advantage of this magnificent addition!

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Will Groton Change Me? You will still be you, but we will help you strengthen your habits, deepen and broaden your interests, and sharpen your skills. You will learn about your style of leadership and determine the areas on which you want to work in the years ahead. Groton strives to provide an unparalleled boarding school experience. We do that by meeting the particular needs of each student. We want you to be true to who you really are.

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What Is the Measure of Success at Groton? At Prize Day (what Groton calls its graduation), we hope you can answer “yes� to most of these questions . . . Are you confident that you can meet the challenges ahead of you? Are you resilient in the face of setbacks? Have you developed good work habits, perseverance, and the initiative to turn ideas into action? Do you believe in the importance of kindness? Do you value serving the needs of others? If so, Groton has served you well.

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Is Groton Right for Me? We can’t answer that one—but you can. Come visit the Circle soon—talk to our students, teachers, and coaches. Our publications and website provide a sense of life at Groton, but your best sense of our school will come through a visit to campus. Plus, we want to meet you!

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How Do I Apply? The Groton application is available online. Begin the application process by completing our inquiry form at

www.groton.org/inquiry. We look forward to learning about you, and to showing you what makes Groton special.


Groton 20 QUESTIONS 19 ANSWERS

Groton School

282 Farmers Row • P.O. Box 991 • Groton, MA 01450 978-448-7510 • www.groton.org

Profile for Groton School

20 Questions, 19 Answers  

20 Questions, 19 Answers