Page 1

The Roxbury Latin School

the

roxbury

latin

school

1


We care most of all what kind of person a boy is.


The Roxbury Latin School An independent boys’ school founded in 1645 by John Eliot

Who we are, what we do, and why


Roxbury Latin is committed to the ethical formation and rigorous academic training of each boy entrusted to us.


The Roxbury Latin School seeks bright boys who have already demonstrated intellectual curiosity, self-motivation, and a capacity for hard work. A boys’ school by conviction, Roxbury Latin is committed to the ethical formation and rigorous academic training of each boy entrusted to us—through our small size; our passionate, talented, and dedicated faculty; and our mission to instill in students a desire to live intentional lives of purpose, characterized by concern for others. Since 1645, The Roxbury Latin School has offered able and aspiring boys of Greater Boston a distinctive education. We are looking for the boy who wants to do something meaningful—even great—with his life. the

roxbury

latin

school

1


who we are

F

ounded in 1645, The Roxbury Latin School is the oldest school in continuous existence in North America. We are a small independent boys’ school by tradition and by conviction. The Reverend John Eliot, known as the “Apostle to the Indians” for his life-long work with the native Algonquians, founded the School “to fit [students] for public service in Church

and Commonwealth.” Today Roxbury Latin would look and feel quite strange to the ten boys enrolled in John Eliot’s sparely furnished one-room, one-master school, but it remains true to the original mission set forth by its Founder—to prepare students intellectually, morally, and spiritu-

ally for service in the world.

An Independent School In defining a distinctive mission and designing a vital program, Roxbury Latin asserts its independence—remaining alert to what is best and most effective in educating boys, but daring to define what is in the best interest of our boys, even if at times that is countercultural. Although Roxbury Latin has no formal religious affiliation, the motive of John Eliot and his fellow founders was religious; they founded the School “out of their religious care of posterity.” Eliot entrusted the School to seven “feoffees.” These trustees defined the Schoolmaster’s duties as follows: “To use his best skill and endeavors, both by precept and example, to instruct students in all scholastical, moral, and theological discipline.” The School was conceived primarily, said Thomas Weld, one of the School’s original feoffees, “for the glory of God.” The religious beliefs of applicants have never been a factor in admission, but members of the School community have always been expected to respect the School’s Judeo-Christian heritage, including certain spiritual exercises in all-School assemblies. We believe these modest exercises help students to consider and address the question of the meaning of their existence. Boys are thereby exposed to a worldview articulating that each of their 2

the

roxbury

latin

school


The RL Boy Boys new to Roxbury Latin begin their orientation in late August at the School’s front circle where they are met by R.L. students who greet them warmly and escort them through the initial events of their first day of School. Almost any boy on the threshold of a new career wrestles with feelings of excitement and apprehension. But any uncertainty generally passes quickly, replaced by a sense of excitement and curiosity— and the thrilling newness of life at a new school.

the

roxbury

latin

school

3


The RL Boy

Parents, too, are both excited and anxious: Will my son be happy at Roxbury Latin? Will he prosper? Will he fit in? Will he be liked by other Roxbury Latin boys? Is he like other Roxbury Latin boys? The answer to this last question is both decidedly yes and no. The 60 or so boys admitted to the School each year are chosen more for their differentness than for what they have in common. We admit boys for their promise and potential, certainly, and because we are convinced that with the proper encouragement and support they will prosper at the School. But we also look for remarkable qualities in boys—unusual talents, differing perspectives, varied backgrounds—that will enrich and strengthen the community as they broaden it. One parent told us recently, as his boy was nearing the completion of his first year at the School, “My son is comfortable at R.L. because he is free to be who he is. His old school was dominated by the ‘jock crowd.’ My son is a decent athlete, but he doesn’t want to be defined by that alone. At Roxbury Latin, no one group sets the agenda for the others.” 4

the

roxbury

latin

school


R.L. boys are exposed to a worldview articulating that life has meaning—and that each of their individual lives has purpose and significance. individual lives has purpose and significance. When they rise for prayers they are reminded that their lives are short, that they are called to a higher purpose, that life has meaning and is worth living. Members of the School are free to accept this perspective or not, but all agree to respect that it underlies the School’s program and values. Parents have told us that they send their children here because the School values religious faith, and because it recognizes the spiritual dimension of life. We seek to help our students identify and address life’s deepest questions. We seek to help them find out who they are and what they hope to do with their lives. The faculty believes that in helping our students find the meaning and purpose of their existence, we are fulfilling our core mission: to form men of integrity who want to develop and use their talents to the fullest. We want our boys to become men of character: knowing right from wrong, having the courage to stand— alone if necessary—for what they believe is right, and willing to use their influence for the good of others. We expect our boys to aspire to this goal, and we advance it vigorously. Character education has remained our central mission since the School’s founding. We remind our students frequently that earning good grades is not an aim in and of itself, that glittering accomplishments in a moral vacuum are hollow and do not impress us. Concern for character is our highest commitment. Every boy in the School knows that we care most of all what kind of person he is. It is our principal tenet, and we recall it regularly as the marker by which everything else at School is measured. Our overarching goal is to infuse our students with a commitment to a life characterized by honesty, simplicity, respect, and concern for others. We insist that those who choose to come here own the School’s ideals and standards and live by its rules. To a remarkable degree, our students do live by the School’s values. Here are a few examples:

the

roxbury

latin

school

5


There are many ways to be a boy at Roxbury Latin. We cherish our boys for their individuality, and we encourage them to develop their fullest selves with confidence. n R.L. boys almost always take the time to be courteous and are willing to inconvenience themselves to be kind. Visitors to the School regularly tell us how impressed they are that our boys stopped to greet them as they entered the School and then directed them to where they were going, often veering from their own paths to lead them there. During admission season, Roxbury Latin boys serve as tour guides to prospective students and their parents, and they see it as an honor to so do. Tour guides are intentionally unscripted; we ask them simply to be themselves and to explain the School as they know it. Parents of applicants tell us time and again that the best advertisement for Roxbury Latin is the boys themselves. n R.L. boys understand that the School community operates on trust. Visitors frequently notice that student book bags are scattered throughout the hallways and comment on it. Students expect that when they come back—after a class or sports—they will find their bags where they left them, undisturbed. Calculators, books, and personal possessions are left out, and the expectation is that they will remain there untouched. We realize, of course, that such openness makes us vulnerable—that such a fragile environment could be easily disrupted by someone who is either unable, or unwilling, to live by its values. We have found, however, that boys value the atmosphere of mutual respect that permeates the School, and they wish to preserve it. Theft and vandalism are not a problem, because students educate each other as to “what goes and what doesn’t” as effectively as the adults do—or even better. Boys routinely turn in money or stray belongings to the lost-and-found if they come upon them. Anyone involved in accidentally damaging School property is expected to report whatever he has done. n R.L. boys understand that honesty is expected in all dealings. Lying is regarded as the cardinal sin of School life. Cheating and plagiarism (and attendant forms of dishonesty) are not tolerated. Boys involved in rare instances of academic dishonesty are dealt with by a discipline committee comprised of students elected by each of the six classes and a few key members of the faculty 6

the

roxbury

latin

school


The RL Boy

We believe that Roxbury Latin’s distinctiveness emanates from the diversity of its students— socioeconomic diversity, certainly, but also (and perhaps even more so) in the refreshing variety of their talents and interests. There are many ways to be a boy at Roxbury Latin. We cherish our boys for their individuality—including their idiosyncrasies—and we encourage them to develop their fullest selves with confidence. As different as they are from one another, Roxbury Latin boys do, however, have certain abiding characteristics in common, essential

It is not enough to be smart at Roxbury Latin. the

roxbury

latin

school

7


The RL Boy

qualities that distinguish them and that serve them well as they grow and develop during their time at the School: l Roxbury Latin boys are bright and broadly talented. Our students are indeed intelligent, and although some exhibit truly exceptional ability in a particular subject, the talents of most of our boys span the curriculum. We see them as gifted generalists, and we prod them to explore and develop their interests across academic disciplines. We discourage specialization. Parents and boys express their relief—especially those who had previously attended schools where “it was not cool to be smart”—that at Roxbury Latin it is OK to study hard, and even to want to. Academically talented boys thrive in the company of their like-minded classmates, fellow students who, like them, enjoy learning unashamedly. Alumni tell us that the rigor and depth that characterize our academic program are among the things we should never change. l Roxbury Latin boys work hard and play hard. Our energetic faculty and students set

8

the

roxbury

latin

school


Because Roxbury Latin has well-established structures and clearly articulated rules, both students and faculty can relax. (including the boy’s faculty advisor). After careful deliberation, student “DC Reps” tend to favor stringent penalties, including suspension, for a boy who violates community trust in this way. It has been our experience that a firm but fair response to an infraction leads to healthy reflection and growth as the boy strives to learn from his mistake. Boys who do make a mistake are forgiven and, as appropriate, welcomed back wholeheartedly into the community. n R.L. boys are expected to respect—and even to embrace—each other’s differences, and we can count on them to do so. Students know that derogatory terms that denigrate another’s race, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation are inappropriate and will not be tolerated, nor is any form of hazing. Our Student Handbook emphatically reminds boys that self-justifications like “I was only kidding,” “He doesn’t mind,” or “Everybody says that,” are never acceptable excuses for inappropriate action or comments made to or about others. We realize that societal messages to the contrary are pervasive. But we expect our students to live by a higher standard and even to exert leadership in this regard—and to do so consistently both in and out of School. Relationships among Roxbury Latin faculty and students are strong and deep. The student peer culture at Roxbury Latin is not at odds with the adult culture. Boys understand that the faculty love them and want to help them achieve worthy goals. Because Roxbury Latin has well-established structures and clearly articulated rules, both students and faculty can relax. Appropriate informality and intimacy characterize faculty-student relationships. The closeness among teachers and boys, and the satisfaction derived from the easy interactions that result, may be the principal reason why there is so little turnover on the faculty or in the student body. The School’s advisor system fosters these strong, healthy relationships and faculty see their role as advisors as the most essential. Early in the year each boy selects and is paired with a member of the faculty to serve as his advisor. An advisor and each advisee usually meet weekly, sometimes for a specific the

roxbury

latin

school

9


purpose such as to review grades at the end of the marking period, but more likely to discuss, informally, whatever is on either’s mind. Advisors regard themselves as the boys’ advocates; for their part, advisees understand that advocacy is not synonymous with indulgence. Boys expect, accept, and even appreciate constructive criticism from their advisors (and teachers and coaches) because they understand that it is delivered lovingly and with their best interest at heart. Advisors also serve as the primary point of contact between parents and the School. If there is a problem at home that may be affecting their son’s well being, parents typically call the advisor to share their concerns. Twice each year advisors communicate formally with the parents of their advisees: through scheduled parent-teacher conferences in early November, and in a written letter in May reflecting on each boy’s progress throughout the year. Of course, we welcome parent feedback and input at any time; it is understood, however, that our common goal must be to work together to help the boy himself to overcome or solve his difficulty—to support him and to advise him as he tackles the problem, but not to fix it for him. Our parents avoid the temptation to intervene inappropriately in their son’s life at School, because they recognize that by holding back they actually help him to develop the skills necessary to take charge of his life as he grows toward the independence of adulthood. A prominent author on schools and school life put it this way as he noted the subtle sociological shift in recent years concerning parents’ attitudes and expectations: “In the past,” he said, “parents understood that a school’s job was ‘to prepare the child for the path’; more and more, in modern society,” he added, “parents are demanding that schools ‘prepare the path for the child,’ however unrealistic and even damaging that can be.” We are pleased and gratified that Roxbury Latin parents are eager allies as we work together to help their sons to meet squarely, and confidently, the challenges facing them. Our collective goal is to help boys to develop the skills to manage and direct their own lives, and to seek whatever counsel and help will enable them to do so.

10

the

roxbury

latin

school


heart. Our boys thrive on broad engagement in the life of the School. They move from classes to afternoon athletic practices and games to evening activities—play rehearsals, Model United Nation meetings, layout sessions for the newspaper, literary magazine, or yearbook—without missing a beat. Some outside the R.L. community who do not know us exaggerate the School’s rigor, and describe it as a joylessly demanding place. By contrast, visitors to the School are struck by what they find: laughter and fun abound—from

the

roxbury

latin

school

11

The RL Boy

and maintain a pace that is not for the faint of


The RL Boy

the classroom to the athletic fields, from lunch conversations to idle chit-chat during free periods. R.L. boys are upbeat, enthusiastic, and even mischievous at times. They throw themselves into everything they do, and they push themselves to succeed at whatever they attempt. They are imbued with a taste for hard work and a capacity to delay gratification, but this does not prevent them from enjoying themselves as they make their way through their busy day. Because we do not have formal study halls, boys may use their free time as they wish. Many gather to study in the Library or Study Center, working individually or in small groups. Some choose to relax, alone or with friends, on couches in the Student Center. Others engage in impromptu games—playing pickup basketball, or touch football, or “tennis court soccer.” Boys enjoy being up and about, and we encourage them to let off steam in physical activity whenever they have some time to spare. R.L. boys relish the satisfaction derived from pushing forward toward a goal, and they take

12

the

roxbury

latin

school


We promise prospective parents only one thing: that at Roxbury Latin their son will be known and loved. We are keenly aware of our duty to serve as role models to our boys. We strive to live the values that we espouse—to set a good example as mature adults. But we do not claim to be perfect, nor do we expect our boys to be. An effective teacher remembers what it is to be a kid. We expect our boys to behave with maturity and good judgment, and we respond decisively and firmly when they don’t. But we are also aware of our own imperfections and, as such, we are inclined to forgive a boy’s past shortcomings as a way of helping him learn from his mistakes and move forward. We try to be both rigorous and sympathetic in the hope that the boys will themselves develop the strength and confidence to be both tough and tender.

A Small School

T

here are clear advantages to being a school that is larger than we are, but we are united in feeling that our particular goals can best be fulfilled in a small community of about 300 boys. Here faculty and students know one another intimately and interact frequently on formal and informal levels.

We promise prospective parents only one thing: that at Roxbury Latin their son will be known and loved—by his teachers and by his advisors and coaches, certainly, but just as surely by his schoolmates, as well. There are formal structures (such as the advisor system) that guarantee that a boy will not “fall through the cracks.” At Roxbury Latin, boys discover that some of the deepest, most enriching friendships are made rather than found. This can be elusive to some boys at the outset, especially to boys who came to Roxbury Latin from larger schools where students may not be compelled to venture beyond like-minded cliques. Inevitably, however, as they begin to settle in, even these boys find themselves forming bonds with dissimilar people. Learning to befriend someone with whom one may seem at first to have little or nothing in common is a valuable life skill.

the

roxbury

latin

school

13


R.L. boys commit their time and talents generously, and with little or no need for prodding from us. Another great advantage of a small school is that students are rarely able to confine themselves to one or two extracurricular specialties. Roxbury Latin encourages its students to immerse themselves in a range of activities beyond the classroom, and boys see this to be not only an expectation but also an opportunity. With ten varsity teams and a host of non-athletic extracurriculars, we depend upon boys to assume both high profile leadership positions and also less prominent, but just as consequential, supporting roles. We want them to be accomplished generalists. We believe that in order for young men to reach their full potential as broadly educated adults, they must be willing—even eager—to try new things, to participate in new activities, along with those in which they have already achieved some level of accomplishment and success. We count on boys to play sports in two or even three seasons a year (and the vast majority do), and we also count on them to engage in multiple extracurricular activities, often concurrently with athletics. R.L. boys commit their time and talents generously, and with little or no need for prodding from us. If anything, they are inclined to overextend themselves. For example, boys take pride in being members of “the 18-season club,” a distinction reserved for those who have played on a team every season that they’ve been at the School. Without exception, however, those same 18-season athletes have also sung in the Glee Club, or written for the School newspaper, or attended a Model U.N. Conference, or taken a role in a play or musical during their R.L. years. Roxbury Latin boys— including those who had previously thought of themselves as athletes first and foremost—are eager to get involved wherever and whenever they can. The younger boys take their cues from their elders, both faculty and student, and they quickly embrace a tradition of broad and deep involvement through which, over the years, so many R.L. boys have prospered and excelled. Almost all of our teams are coached by members of the teaching faculty. The greatest benefit of this model is expressed in the reflection of one R.L. teacher-coach, “You never know when you 14

the

roxbury

latin

school


determination to get the job done. Nearly everyone who gets to know us comes to the same conclusion: our students are happy because they like to keep busy, because they enjoy being challenged, and because they sense that what they are doing is worthwhile. l Roxbury Latin boys love to compete. Despite our small size, we do very well in athletics, fielding 33 teams in ten sports. Athletes and coaches from competing schools comment on our success. As one put it, “Not only are your teams well-coached, but your players don’t

the

roxbury

latin

school

15

The RL Boy

pride in their inner toughness—their grit and


The RL Boy

fade. They’re tough. They always go out there determined to win, and they hang in until the final buzzer.” R.L. boys routinely fare well as they determine to give it their all and to represent their team and School with pride. l Roxbury Latin boys are appropriately ambitious, but they are not presumptuous or entitled. Emblazoned on the end wall of the School’s dining room is the Biblical dictum: “From those to whom much has been given, much will be expected.” Every boy sees it daily and hears it repeated regularly. By these words,

16

the

roxbury

latin

school


You never know when you can have a positive impact in the life of a boy, but if you teach him and coach him, there is a much better chance you will be in the right place at the right time. can have a positive impact in the life of a boy, but if you teach him and coach him, there is a much better chance you will be in the right place at the right time.” All of us are on the lookout for the teachable moment. Our teacher-coaches see the big picture; they understand and accommodate the sometimes conflicting demands placed upon boys when, almost literally, they must be in two places at once. As boys explore the limits of their talents, as they push beyond the comfortable and familiar, they learn to manage complicated schedules as a matter of course. We do our best to help them. By and large, Roxbury Latin boys deal well with the pressures of their busy lives. Not infrequently, in fact, they come back after graduation and tell us that juggling a number of urgent commitments at Roxbury Latin prepared them well for college and life thereafter.

A Boys’ School

I

t is our conviction that a boys’ school has many advantages. It is the nature of the adolescent male to fulfill stereotypical male roles when adolescent females are present. Boys in a boys’ school are freer to develop the full spectrum of their personalities, to be nurturing, gentle, empathetic, and sensitive with one another. We note these qualities particularly in the relationships between our

older and younger boys. Sixies look up to the seniors and seniors look after the sixies. We also sense a relaxedness—a secure calm, a collected focus—amid all the noise, a counterintuitive quiet that springs from being a boys’ school. One dimension of competition (not to mention distraction) is removed, leaving more energy for student-faculty and student-student relationships. In a single-sex environment boys (and also girls) are much more likely to take healthy academic and personal risks, to advance alternative perspectives, to express themselves unselfconsciously in class, and to assume roles that they might be reluctant to chance in a coeducational environment—such as editing the literary magazine, joining the chess team or jazz band, or even singing and dancing in

the

roxbury

latin

school

17


Boys in a boys’ school are given time to grow up at their own pace, intellectually, certainly, but socially even more so. the spring musical. It is often observed that in coed schools leadership positions go to those students who are more “successful” with the opposite sex. Such is not the case in a boys’ school. Boys in a boys’ school are given time to grow up at their own pace, intellectually, certainly, but socially even more so. The pressure to impress girls is completely removed from everyday school life. Dating and social interaction may proceed at a pace comfortable to each individual and boys can come to terms with their sexuality comparatively free of stereotypical assumptions and social pressures in school. Our boys tend to offer friendship freely, unguardedly, and broadly. Strengths may also be weaknesses, however, and one could argue that since our boys are in a singlesex school they are deprived of the female point of view. But our boys are far from oblivious to the changes that have occurred in the role and place of women in society. They have been influenced positively by strong women at home and at School. In the single-sex environment our teachers of history or literature are more apt to explore gender differences in class as boys read aloud all the roles, empathizing with and understanding better a broader range of human feelings and concerns. We are aware of boys’ desire to meet girls and of their need to interact with them in a healthy manner. There are varied and regular opportunities to do so in School activities (at Model United Nation conferences and debates, in plays and joint concerts, and at dances, to name a few examples) and also outside of School. Is there a difference in the adjustment to college made by students from coed and single-sex schools? Our graduates tell us that they had no problem making the adjustment to the coed environment of college. Every year we hold a panel discussion between members of the senior class and a cross section of visiting alumni. Invariably the boys are asked by an alumnus to name something about Roxbury Latin that should never change. Invariably—and unprompted—a senior will answer emphatically, “We should always be a boys’ school.” 18

the

roxbury

latin

school


have and what they have been given is a gift— and with that gift comes responsibility. Every boy comes to understand that this charge is at the very heart of the School’s mission, and that it applies to each of them in specific and personal terms. Roxbury Latin boys embrace this responsibility enthusiastically—during their time at the School and later as productive men of character, asserting themselves in creative ways for the betterment of society. Around School, we invariably find them eager to help out and to pitch in whenever they are needed. It

the

roxbury

latin

school

19

The RL Boy

boys are reminded to recognize that what they


The RL Boy

is not unusual that during the formative stages of his life, a boy may not yet have a full or clear picture of where his talents may eventually lead him, but we do expect him to pursue that fundamental question energetically and with appropriate self-reflection—and always with a consideration for others and a commitment to service as a priority. l Roxbury Latin boys are optimistic and enthusiastic. The popular view of adolescents, often by those who do not know or understand them, is that they are inclined to be cynical. By

20

the

roxbury

latin

school


A Democratically Gathered School

B

ecause we are located in one of the most richly diverse regions of the country and are easily accessible from virtually all corners of greater Boston, Roxbury Latin is able to draw from an applicant pool that reflects the ethnic and socioeconomic texture that characterizes the metropolitan area. Although our expansive campus has a pastoral quality, Roxbury Latin

has always been a city school with a firm connection with and commitment to Boston and its residents. Our 117-acre campus lies within the city limits, and a third of our students live in Boston neighborhoods as varied and different as Dorchester and Beacon Hill, Mattapan and West Roxbury—as do a significant number of faculty and staff. Our School community is greatly enriched—and in many ways defined—by our broadly diverse student body, by the collective backgrounds and experiences of those who comprise it. Likewise, the gathered community influences and enriches each member of that community. The faculty is keenly aware of this healthy dynamic, and seeks ways to foster it. Long before “multicultural diversity” became a widely valued educational goal, Roxbury Latin had identified itself as an intentionally diverse community. The earliest trustees made provision for boys whose parents could not pay tuition to attend the School at little or no cost. The trustees today maintain a need-blind admission and enrollment policy, enabling us to choose students who bring a broad array of backgrounds and talents to the School, independent of their families’ ability to pay. The School does not consider a family’s financial circumstances when making admission decisions and it meets the full, demonstrated need of all admitted students. Similarly, aid is available for all School-sponsored activities and trips, guaranteeing that all boys have the opportunity to participate in the Roxbury Latin experience to the fullest extent. In conjunction with tuition that is approximately 65 percent of that of other Boston independent schools, our financial aid policy ensures a student body that is broadly representative of Boston’s socioeconomic diversity. the

roxbury

latin

school

21


The School’s commitment to need-blind admission and enrollment allows us to attract a student body drawn from different social, economic, racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. John Eliot’s principal interest was not the School (much as he loved it); it was the plight of the Indians. He went far and wide preaching to them; he translated the entire Bible into the language of the Algonquians; and he worked tirelessly for their welfare amid the cataclysmic changes the European invasion brought to their way of life. When African slaves were first brought to Boston and when Indian slavery was proposed, Eliot eloquently denounced the idea. Eliot’s hope was that Blacks, Whites, and Indians would be educated together. Unfortunately, Eliot’s dream was not to be fulfilled during his lifetime. In fact, it was not until the 1970s that the School finally realized his hopes for full racial inclusivity. In terms of religious and ethnic diversity, Roxbury Latin has virtually always been in advance of the times. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the School welcomed Eastern European Jews, Irish and German immigrants; over the past several decades, it has embraced Soviet Jews, Asian refugees, and Latin American immigrants. As Roxbury Latin became a selective Latin school in the 19th century, it remained true to its English grammar school roots: boys were admitted on merit and not on the basis of social class or affluence. Our commitment to need-blind admission and enrollment today allows us to attract an able and hardworking student body drawn from a wide range of social, economic, racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. The School also seeks a student body with richly diverse personal interests. In keeping with our generalist philosophy, we look for outstanding musicians, actors, athletes, writers, artists, distinctive individuals, and “characters,” and we expect them to share their talents generously with the School community. Roxbury Latin is intentionally a “gathered” community. Our desire to see many different individuals—with richly 22

the

roxbury

latin

school


idealistic. Their healthy skepticism—their general unwillingness to accept “obvious” truths without appropriate, sometimes pointed, questioning—is neither scornful nor mistrusting. Rather, they look for answers that are both illuminating and reassuring as they struggle to make sense of the world and their place within it. This makes them interesting and stimulating “sparring partners” in the classroom and in conversation. But they are also eager to hear and to embrace advice that serves to clarify and refine their thinking. R.L. boys are grateful for the support of the

the

roxbury

latin

school

23

The RL Boy

contrast, we find our boys to be fundamentally


The RL Boy

adults in their lives—their parents, teachers, and coaches—who stand by them unconditionally. Relationships among Roxbury Latin faculty and students are strong: warm, trusting, mutually supportive, and respectful. We encourage boys constantly, and we praise them lavishly when such praise is justified. But neither do we withhold censure when it is warranted. It is our experience that boys accept criticism when it is delivered constructively and lovingly. A boy may or may not agree with our assessment of him at a particular moment, but he accepts that a candid

24

the

roxbury

latin

school


varied personal backgrounds and interests—cohere as one community echoes our nation’s motto, e pluribus unum. The School is most recognizably the School when it gathers in Rousmaniere Hall. Here the entire community comes together once or twice a week to hear presentations on ethical and spiritual issues, world and national affairs, the arts, and athletics—by students, teachers, and visiting speakers. On the great formal occasions throughout the year—on Founder’s Day, Exelauno Day, Cum Laude Day, at the opening and closing of the terms, on Prize Day, and at the Closing Exercises—the School community prays together in Latin, hears Holy Scripture (sometimes in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek), sings hymns, exchanges the peace, and hears exhortations on meaning and morals. Roxbury Latin boys have observed these customs and practices since our founding. Such rituals, in a profound and mysterious way, not only give a student the sense that he has a place in the universe, but they also enhance and

R.L. Vocabulary The unum of a true community expresses itself in odd and subtle ways, and one of those ways at Roxbury Latin is a distinctive common language. All-School gatherings have since time immemorial been called “Halls.” The School’s electronic message board is the “hotline,” the cafeteria is the “refectory,” seventh graders are “sixies,” and they play their sports on a field

express the oneness and continuity of the School.

called the “flea patch.” The seniors

Community activities also enhance this sense of oneness, and there are many

visiting teams after weekend ath-

such service projects in which everybody participates: Maru a Pula Day (a dressdown day that raises scholarship money for our brother school in Botswana),

are the “First Class.” Receptions for letic events are called “teas.”

brownie sales to support our student-founded Habitat for Humanity chapter, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to fund various School-wide community service initiatives, including Medicines for Humanity (founded and headed by an R.L. alumnus). Each of the six classes sponsors its own service project(s), as well—preparing and serving breakfast at the Pine Street Inn homeless shelter in Dudley Square and serving as graveside pallbearers at the funerals of Boston homeless and indigent men and women (Class I); preparing weekly dinners at the Epiphany School (Class II); preparing and serving meals at Haley House in the South End the

roxbury

latin

school

25


(Class III); performing music recitals, doing poetry readings, or simply visiting with the elderly residents of the Deutsches Altenheim, our neighbor in West Roxbury (Class IV); preparing meals at the Norwood Food Pantry (Class V); and tutoring and helping students at St. Theresa School down the street from us (Class VI). We also have within the School an extensive, largely informal, in-house tutoring program, through which older boys work with younger boys (and even with boys at their own grade level), giving academic help in a range of subjects during their free periods or after school. Additionally, many of our boys tutor local senior citizens weekly in the uses of computers and mobile devices. All of these initiatives are consistent with the School’s emphasis on giving back to the community and on encouraging our students to begin now, even in the early stages of their development, to look for ways to use their talents for the benefit of others. At Roxbury Latin there is a complete absence of affinity groups—that is, narrowly defined special interest groups. We discourage the formation of such organizations (and realize that by taking this position we are at odds with prevailing trends) because we believe that they would be divisive of the unity of our small community. Outside School our boys are involved—often deeply involved—in cultural, ethnic, and religious organizations. That delights us. And we hope they will bring their very different perspectives to School. But when we are here we want them to recognize what they have in common. We want our students to be strong, idiosyncratic individuals, but we want them to learn to get along with, enjoy, and respect boys who are different from themselves. While boys are asked to greet each other and their teachers by name, we hope that they will go beyond civility to kindness and understanding, and we press them to do so. We want them to acquire and practice the skill— and to discover the joy—of knowing and understanding others whose backgrounds, outlooks, and interests are different from their own. This process of integration would be profoundly more difficult if the community were divided into racial, ethnic, religious, and political groups.

26

the

roxbury

latin

school


est at heart and with no ulterior motive. l Roxbury Latin boys like and support each other. They are affectionate and loyal, and they look out for each other. Before they came to R.L., some were academically under-challenged and many were “at the top of the heap� at their previous schools. Boys new to Roxbury Latin are sometimes shocked to discover that their classmates are every bit as smart as they are (or even smarter). This realization humbles them, but it also inspires them to be their best selves. They quickly come to see their peers as friends and

the

roxbury

latin

school

27

The RL Boy

critique is intended lovingly, with his best inter-


The RL Boy

colleagues, and not as rivals. At Roxbury Latin, bright, aspiring boys find kindred spirits. One of the advantages of a small school is the intimacy of a tightly knit community. Boys spend abundant time together over the course of their R.L. careers—in the same classes, on the same teams, in the same clubs and activities. They literally grow up together, a “band of brothers” drawn closer by their shared experiences as schoolboys. Countless alumni tell us that “my

28

the

roxbury

latin

school


what we do

R

oxbury Latin’s educational program is designed to fulfill the multiple, interwoven objectives of the School’s mission—to develop the intellectual, moral, and spiritual dimensions of each boy; to teach skills and attitudes essential to rich intellectual and moral lives; and to “fit students,” in the broadest, most contemporary version of John Eliot’s intention, “for

service in both Church and Commonwealth.” Our traditional, focused, rigorous liberal arts curricu-

lum emphasizes a defined core of courses early in a boy’s career followed by a wide range of elective options as he gets older. It seeks to deepen the intellectual curiosity possessed by virtually all our entering students, training them in the analytical skills and modes of communication that underlie advanced academic work and an examined life beyond school. During the School’s first 200 years, the curriculum was confined to reading, writing, Latin, and mathematics. Extracurricular activities (including sports) had no place in the School’s life. Today our program includes not only a much-broadened academic curriculum, but a large selection of activities and sports, as well. Students are required to take Latin and either French or Spanish, and we are one of only a handful of schools in the country to offer three years of Homeric Greek. We teach numerous Advanced Placement courses across the academic spectrum—in economics, history, Spanish and French, Latin, music theory, politics, calculus, and statistics, to name a few. We expect a great deal from our students. The faculty encourages boys to strive for excellence, and we stand ready to help them in any way that we can, as allies, not as adversaries. Academic standards are high. (Many courses in the upper grades use college-level textbooks.) Carrying a fivecourse load on top of myriad extracurricular pursuits is a challenge, even for our brightest students. Roxbury Latin boys are willing to work hard. We take pride in being known as a rigorous academic institution, and we regard as centrally important the classroom and all that happens there. But we also recognize and value the lessons that the

roxbury

latin

school

29


One of our most valuable resources is the stream of distinguished speakers who come to the School to share their real-world experiences in Hall. can be learned beyond classes and textbooks. One of our most valuable resources is the stream of distinguished speakers who come to the School to share their real-world experiences in Hall (our term for all-school assemblies). In the best classical tradition, Halls—and the exchange of ideas they inspire—virtually always conclude with a Q&A involving the student audience, inspiring ongoing conversation that continues well after the bell has rung for the start of classes. Hall speakers and performances tap the rich talent of Boston and beyond, including our own distinguished alumni. To name a few: Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates enlightened us with insights on the chess game that is international politics; creative writing professor Amaud Johnson read from his recent book of poetry; pianist Michael Kanan ’81 performed as a visiting artist with acclaimed jazz singer Jane Monheit; and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker delivered the keynote address during our Founder’s Day celebration last fall. Regularly we invite an authority in a particular field to join us for a semester as a Smith Scholar. Professor Michael Neiberg of the U.S. Army War College, with us for a term, gave captivating lectures to the whole School and taught compelling master classes in our World War I history elective. Last fall, four climate science researchers and scholars—including former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy—delivered a series of lectures connected to our environmental science curriculum. Every year a host of public servants and elected officials lead discussions as a feature of the Class V Civics course. Perhaps no Hall is more impressive and more representative than the annual Exelauno Day declamations in which a boy from each Latin and Greek class interprets and delivers—from memory and in the original language—a dramatic or humorous passage from a classical work. A current member of the English Department faculty, who happened to visit the School on Exelauno Day when interviewing for his position, recalled his impressions of the scene: “I remember sitting in those unforgiving, straight-backed chairs and listening as the chairman of the Classics 30

the

roxbury

latin

school


even years beyond our graduation.” Parents of applicants tell us that they are drawn to Roxbury Latin because they have heard from the parents of current R.L. students that they can count on liking their son’s Roxbury Latin classmates—a source of great comfort to them. Every year at graduation a senior parent will remark somewhat wistfully, “I know that my son is going to miss Roxbury Latin, but I’m going to miss it, too, and the community we have enjoyed here.”

the

roxbury

latin

school

31

The RL Boy

Roxbury Latin friends are still my best friends,


l Finally, Roxbury Latin boys are not perfect, but they are eager to improve. Because we expect a lot of our boys, and because they also expect a lot of themselves, they will miss the mark at times despite their best intentions. They are human. They make mistakes. They can disappoint and even infuriate us at times—as young people who are not yet fully formed sometimes do. But even on those occasions when they fall short of our hopes and expectations, we can count on them to learn from their mistakes, determined to do better—to be better—when they face the next challenge to come their way.

32

the

roxbury

latin

school


Roxbury Latin boys love to compete. The toughness that characterizes them in the classroom spills over into athletics. Department, serving as moderator, cracked jokes from the podium in Latin. Hearing in response the laughter from a crowd of middle- and high-school-aged students, I felt a little like a bewildered, stingingly-excited Kurt Vonnegut character. ‘Who are these people who know enough to translate and understand spoken Latin,’ I wondered, ‘these students of the Classics who enjoy the language enough—who enjoy this place and each other enough—to laugh out loud in Latin?’ Amazed, impressed, curious, I wanted in. This was some kind of school.” Boys are required to participate on athletic teams through the ninth grade, and they are strongly encouraged to continue through their R.L. years. The athletic program seeks to develop in every boy personal fitness, discipline, healthy competition, sportsmanship, and teamwork. The classical precept, mens sana in corpore sano, has always been at the heart of the School’s commitment to its students’ physical vitality. Our athletic program is a key ingredient in our overall effort to develop the total boy. The toughness that characterizes R.L. boys in the classroom spills over—not surprisingly—into athletics. We “grow” our own athletes, since the vast majority of our students enter in grade seven and are with us for six years. The School is committed to providing excellent coaching at every level; we care as much about our lower teams as we do our varsity squads. Although the coaches of younger boys’ teams endeavor to have every team member participate in every game, our success rate at this level is still extremely high. The newly constructed Indoor Athletic Facility—including Hennessy Rink (which serves as home ice for our hockey team and converts to turf in the off-season), a fully equipped fitness center, and spacious locker and team rooms—along with renovated turf fields and 12 new tennis courts—have upgraded our athletic facilities to modern standards. We would never assume that first-rate athletic facilities will replace quality coaching, but they certainly enhance it. Nor will they diminish the need for hard work and dedication, even as they better enable developing athletes to reach their the

roxbury

latin

school

33


A school so interested in helping boys become reflective and self-critical must also encourage their venturing out to foster connections with other countries and cultures. full potential under the guidance of committed and caring adults. The inscription above the staircase of the Bernstein Tea Room reminds every Greek-reading athlete who passes under it that “The Prize is Worthy and Our Hope is Great.” Of course, the Prize is in the winning and the Hope is in a victory nobly won. Roxbury Latin boys love competition. They are prepared to work hard to prevail, and time and again they strive to make up for any shortcomings in athletic ability by tough, never-say-die determination. But their toughness does not come at the expense of good sportsmanship—and our athletes understand that we value good sportsmanship above all. We also know that some of the most profound lessons come from having tried hard and failed. Our boys are gracious losers and magnanimous winners. Academics and athletics consume the greater portion of boys’ time and energy, but they still find a way to apply and explore their burgeoning talents as writers, speakers, musicians, debaters, photographers, set builders, and actors through the School’s rich extracurricular program. Debate and Model United Nations are among the largest organizations in the School, along with the Glee Club (which draws more than 80 boys from grades 9 through 12). More than a third of all 7th and 8th graders sing in the Junior Chorus. Boys from all grades write for the newspaper and literary magazine, compete on the chess team, venture onto the stage, or play an instrument in the Jazz Band, often simultaneously.

34

the

roxbury

latin

school


A school so interested in helping boys become reflective and self-critical must also encourage their venturing out to foster connections with other countries and cultures in order to expand their worldview and broaden their perspectives. School-sponsored, faculty-led trips (recently to Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, China, India, Canada, Peru, Greece, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic) have enhanced and supplemented our academic program. Modern Language students may participate in month-long immersion programs, including home stays, in France and Spain. Student exchanges with schools overseas—in England, Australia, Botswana—have proven enriching, as well.

the

roxbury

latin

school

35


schola illustris

J

ohn Eliot, the School’s founder, believed that the purpose of education was “godly citizenship,” and that, whatever a man’s profession, the thrust of that man’s life should be public service. He hoped to instill in students a desire to live serious lives of noble purpose characterized by concern for others. The Founder’s commitment remains the School’s continuing mission today.

We hear frequently from prospective parents that they were drawn to Roxbury Latin in part because we know who we are and what we are about. Initially, parents and their sons may be attracted to the School by our reputation for academic excellence, our relatively low tuition, or our enviable college admission record, but over time they come to value what matters more: that Roxbury Latin provides a safe, nurturing environment in which their son will grow and prosper, an academic setting that will challenge and stimulate him, and a mutually supportive community in which he will be known and loved. We do not claim to be all things to all people, nor do we try to be. Those we serve, however—our students and their parents, our alumni and friends—recognize and appreciate that we adhere to our defining principles with conviction and confidence. Shortly after Eliot’s death in 1690, his Puritan contemporary, Cotton Mather, expressed the fervent hope that Roxbury Latin would receive the support it needed to survive and flourish: “A grammar school John Eliot would always have upon the place, whatever it cost him. God so blessed his endeavors that Roxbury could not live quietly without a free school in the town, and the issue of it has been one thing that has almost made me put the title of Schola Illustris upon that little nursery. From the spring of the school at Roxbury have run a large number of the ‘streams which have made glad the whole city of God.’ ”

Roxbury Latin today remains remarkably close in character to the school John Eliot founded: a small, democratically diverse community unified by a common purpose and shared values. We still seek to “fit students for public service both in Church and Commonwealth,” and we dare to strive to earn— in our time—the honor bestowed upon the School in an earlier age: the title Schola Illustris. 36

the

roxbury

latin

school


Roxbury Latin provides an academic setting in which a boy will be challenged and stimulated, and a supportive community in which he will be known and loved.

the

roxbury

latin

school

37


Visiting Roxbury Latin The Roxbury Latin School
 101 St. Theresa Ave. West Roxbury, MA 02132-3496 Phone: 617.325.4920 Fax: 617.325.3585

www.roxburylatin.org

By Car …from Route 128 (I-95) Take the exit for Route 109, Dedham (Exit 16A). Follow Route 109 toward West Roxbury for 3.7 miles to the traffic light at St. Theresa Avenue. (St. Theresa Church will be in front of you on the right) Turn right onto St. Theresa Avenue. Roxbury Latin is near the top of the hill on the right. There is a sign at the School entrance. …from the Mass Pike Take the exit for Route 128/Interstate 95 (Exit 14). Take Route 128 South and follow the directions above. …from Boston Take the Jamaicaway. At the second rotary, bear right onto Route 1 South. Pass the Faulkner Hospital and bear right at the light onto the V.F.W. Parkway (still Route 1 South). Turn left at the Carrigg (Cemetery) Monument display onto LaGrange Street. At the light at the intersection of Centre Street (at Blanchard’s), turn right. Turn left at the first traffic light onto St. Theresa Avenue.

By Public Transportation The Needham Line of the commuter rail system (from South Station to Needham Heights) stops at the West Roxbury Station at LaGrange Street, about a 10-minute walk from the School. Three buses (#35, 36, and 37) leave from Forest Hills and stop on Centre Street just a short walk from the School.

38

the

roxbury

latin

school

Our website offers a dynamic expression of daily life at Roxbury Latin. To learn more, visit us online at www.roxburylatin.org. In accordance with the democratic tradition of The Roxbury Latin School, established by its founder, John Eliot, in 1645, the School follows a policy of admitting qualified boys of varied backgrounds without regard to race or religion. Similarly it follows this long-standing tradition in all other aspects of the administration of the School, employing qualified persons without discrimination by reason of race, religion, or sex. The School has recognized, moreover, that it will be unable to fulfill its longstanding goal of equal opportunity without affirmative action on its part. While remaining open to qualified boys, Roxbury Latin has therefore rededicated itself to its policy of seeking out qualified minority group students and making possible their attendance through a policy of need-blind admission and enrollment. The School similarly seeks qualified minority and female employees.


© 2018 The Trustees of The Roxbury Latin School. Photography: Suzanne Camarata Ball, Gretchen Ertl, John Gillooly, Michael T. Pojman, Adam Richins, Evan Scales, John Werner. Design: Joyce Hempstead. Printed by Villanti Printers. the

roxbury

latin

school

39


The Roxbury Latin School 101 St. Theresa Avenue West Roxbury, Massachusetts 02132 617.325.4920 admission@roxburylatin.org www.roxburylatin.org

40

the

roxbury

latin

school

An independent boys’ school founded in 1645 by John Eliot

Roxbury Latin viewbook 2018-19  
Roxbury Latin viewbook 2018-19  
Advertisement