boarding school, community

At boarding schools, community comes first

Research has found that deep, early friendships enhanced a teen’s sense of belonging and reduced loneliness and depression. This builds on what scientists have known for decades: meaningful social interactions lead to happier and more successful students.

The best schools know this. They understand that it takes a team to inspire students to make the most of their individual talents. In Maryland, two boarding schools exemplify this best.

Garrison Forest School

Living and learning at Garrison Forest School (GFS) is a journey that prioritises character development, global competency and wellness. Care and support are in abundance, as well as diverse perspectives from all over the world — a combination that creates an enviable community to grow up in.  “I chose to study at GFS because of the sense of community,” says 11th grader Ella K. “I love feeling like I am at home in a learning space. One thing that I think factors into that is the all-girls aspect. I get to see strong women every day, and that helps me feel more confident.”

boarding school, community

Source: Garrison Forest School

Guided by the motto Esse Quam Videri (To Be Rather Than To Seem) since its inception in 1910, this is where young women gain the confidence to fulfil their full potential. And GFS has many things going for them over 100 years later. In 2019, it opened a new dorm, allowing them to welcome more talented students from across the country and around the world. Here, they get to bond with not just boarders but day students as well, often forming connections with local families.

“If I had to describe my experience at GFS so far in three words, I would say empowering, transformative and active,” adds Ella. “Through my time at GFS, I have learned how to be myself largely due to being surrounded by empowered and strong women. Additionally, I have changed a lot throughout my time at GFS; I have tried many different things and met many people who have shaped who I am today. Lastly, I have been able to be active in my community and contribute significantly.”

GFS aims to help its students become successful scholars, informed citizens and empowered adults. Achieving this goal is possible thanks to its dedicated Residential Life faculty. “The Residential Life programme at GFS is an enthusiastic and joyful community,” says Rachel Ayers Waller, Director of Residential Life, who oversees GFS’s boarding programme and residential faculty.

boarding school, community

GFS’s program is designed to give young women the confidence to fulfil their full potential. Source: Garrison Forest School

“It provides an environment that allows our students to be successful academically and socially, with a focus on helping them to gain independence and confidence as young adults. We promote engagement, learning, respect for diversity, and compassion for others. Our goal as Residential Life Faculty is to develop and maintain a relationship with each individual in our community — to support them, be available and approachable, and create opportunities for growth. We truly value getting to know each student and their families as we support them during their journey at GFS.”

As an international boarding student, Caysie J. was drawn to GFS by the friendliness of the admission team and the beauty of the Baltimore County, Maryland campus — conveniently located within a short drive to an airport and train station and is about an hour’s drive from Washington, DC. “I also chose to study at GFS because of the opportunities it provided me,” she says. “This includes the chance to participate in WISE (Women in Science and Engineering), which gives the unique opportunity to have hands-on experience in the STEM field by partnering with mentors from Johns Hopkins University.”

Boarding students are involved in unique programmes like WISE, athletics, arts (visual and performing), and riding. The Prefect programme assigns student leaders in dorms as well, allowing them to develop a sense of self and integral leadership skills. Younger students can benefit from eighth-grade boarding, where those on this level are housed in the same dorm and given extra support and resources to ease their transition into the boarding environment.

Learn more about Garrison Forest School here.

The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland

It didn’t take long for Jacob Pacheco to call The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland his new home. “The most important reason I chose to attend Boys’ Latin was the strong sense of community,” says the class of 2023 student. “I was impressed with Boys’ Latin’s outstanding academics and after-school clubs and activities, but the people I met during my process made it the best choice for me.”

Launched in fall of 2021, Boys’ Latin is a day and boarding school implementing the latest innovations in residential and all-boys education. Day students join boarders for Wednesday night dinners and come to the dorms to collaborate on group projects or hang out. Boarding students pair with day-student families, allowing them to enjoy home-cooked meals, movie nights, or games at Camden Yards.

boarding school, community

Source: The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland

Students love their time here — and these experiences, which often lead to life-long friendships, rank highly on their list of reasons why. “The best part of living on campus and being a boarding student is the relationships and close friendships I have built with the other boarders,” says Pacheco. “One word we use a lot at Boys’ Latin is brotherhood. The brotherhood that I have formed with the other boarding students has been something truly special, and without being a part of the boarding community, I am not entirely sure I would have forged some of these friendships.”

Located on 72 rolling acres of countryside in Towson, Maryland, this is a school where students get to create memories while nestled in the best of many worlds. It is 15 minutes from Johns Hopkins University and hospital, 30 minutes from Baltimore Washington International Airport, and a little over an hour from Washington DC. “Our residential life facility is second to none, with 350 square-foot dorm rooms, an expansive common space, learning spaces, and a fully equipped kitchen,” says Director of Residential Life Joe Donnelly.

The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland is raising boys to thrive at a time when it has never been more challenging or more important. Source: The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland

This may be a small boarding school, but opportunities here are big and the talents it draws come from all over the world. Coming from China, Italy and Korea, they’ve gone on to attend academically challenging colleges across the US, such as the University of Miami, Dartmouth and American University. “Boarding allows us to provide a Boys’ Latin education to boys in grades nine to 12 from across the country and around the world — in a time when the education of boys and the formation of young men has never been more important than it is today,” says headmaster Chris Post.

boarding school, community

The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland is raising boys to thrive at a time when it has never been more challenging or more important. Source: The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland

Unlike larger schools, the boys get the space to pursue their passions and discover new interests and talents rather than competing for limited spots in clubs or teams. Boys can be multidimensional — not just a scholar or an artist or an athlete, but all of these and more. Whether it’s playing an instrument, joining the jazz ensemble, competing in athletic leagues or the FIRST LEGO League, each activity shapes boys into responsible, grounded and moral citizens. The school also boasts an exemplary robotics team that has competed in five world championships and placed fourth in the 2019 world ranking.

This pairs well with how the school considers a student’s interests, passions and aspirations in their personalised approach to education. Students are given all the support they need to reach for their dreams. Many become successful engineers, journalists, entrepreneurs and professionals, confident in their ability to make a real difference.

Learn more about The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland.