Compassion, integrity, respect and courage – these are the four Core Values instilled in boys at Cardigan Mountain School. The school’s philosophy and objectives still remain relevant today even as they go on to mark their 75th anniversary. The rich history and traditions at the school have helped boys in sixth to ninth grade prepare for a successful transition to secondary school and beyond while having gained a lifelong brotherhood and having grown into confident young men.
It’s without a doubt transitioning to secondary school and making the right choice can be overwhelming for both the child and the parent. At Cardigan Mountain School, these concerns are taken into consideration as the school offers Secondary School Counselling to ninth graders and their parents to help choose the best school for their son upon graduation.
“Finding the right secondary school can be an emotional process for many families, so we try to personalise every aspect of Cardigan’s secondary school counselling programme for each student and his family so that he matriculates to the right school where he will find success,” says Kris Langetieg, Cardigan Director of Secondary School Counselling. He often meets families while travelling overseas, and these relationships can help facilitate this crucial process.
Such personalisation is generously offered, especially to those who come from abroad. Cardigan’s Office of International Relations ensures international families are kept in the lines of communication – often in the family’s native language – throughout the school year.
Dedicated staff compile information from students, parents, teachers, advisors, coaches and dorm parents to produce a list of suggested appropriate schools for students. This is sent to parents the summer preceding their son’s ninth grade year. From here, representatives from approximately 80 secondary schools visit Cardigan to talk with interested candidates.
To take it a step further, the counselling office also prepares a placement packet which includes recommendation letters from teachers, a transcript of all term grades (including the ninth grade fall term), SSAT scores from the ninth grade, a graded writing sample (if required by the secondary school), and a general recommendation letter drafted jointly by the head of school and the director of counselling or director of international student counselling.
As a result of these efforts — and the physical, social, ethical, and personal growth students achieve here — graduates from the Cardigan Class of 2022 matriculated to 39 different schools in the US and Canada. Some of these include: Phillips Exeter Academy, St. Paul’s School, and Choate Rosemary Hall. And in the previous year, graduates have attended 33 different secondary schools in eight different states and Mexico.
Take student YeJoon “Leo” Sim ’22 for instance. He was listed in Cardigan’s Smart Cookies: Spring 2021 Honor Roll and served as Greenwood’s Floor Leader for the 2021-22 academic year. As he graduates this year, he’s confident of his future ahead, but bittersweet to leave friends for life and a second family.
“The secondary school process not only allowed me to be a better applicant but encouraged me to be a better person overall,” he says. “My secondary school counsellor helped me in many ways including regular check-ins, interview preparation, a plan to reach out to athletic coaches, and encouragement to actively engage in community activities. All the hard work paid off with acceptances to some amazing schools at the end, and I was also left with an invaluable relationship with my secondary school counsellor.”
These successes are built on the back of the structured and supportive pre-college preparatory academic programme offered at Cardigan as well. The school’s commitment and emphasis on risk-taking and experiential learning can be seen in programmes like the PEAKS programme and the Gates Invention & Innovation Program and Competition. Learning by doing lets boys here sharpen organisational skills, study skills, leadership skills, and social skills to be successful in secondary school, college, and beyond.
On top of that, international students who struggle with the English language can join Cardigan’s English as a Second Language (ESL) Programme. “Cardigan’s ESL programme is more than simple language instruction; it is an immersive curriculum that prepares boys to be happy residents and successful students in an English-speaking culture,” says Langetieg.
Cardigan will prepare boys in mind, body, and spirit to lead responsible and meaningful lives in a global society. By the time boys graduate from Cardigan, they are college-ready and fully-equipped with skills needed to be successful in secondary school, college and beyond.