For most of her life, Alora Lindsey has been a part of a small community in Fairmont Schools. She attended the secular, co-educational institution from pre-school and grew up alongside her peers in the vibrant region of Orange County in sunny Southern California. Within the four walls of her Anaheim campus, the former Fairmont Preparatory Academy student experienced the world thanks to the diversity that exists within the school.
“Being a preparatory student, it’s definitely a unique scenario because you have such a diverse group of kids in an already small community at Fairmont Schools,” shares Lindsey, who is now pursuing her studies in Film, Cinematography, and Film/Video Production at New York University.
Lindsey was one of 2,014 students across five campuses in Orange County propelling themselves to success in the US and beyond. It was here that she learnt how to understand and connect with people who come from backgrounds, nationalities, and religions unlike hers. This global experience is what makes Fairmont the perfect place to grow as a person and find one’s passions, whether they are a local or an international student.
Revolutionising international education in Southern California
Fairmont has been focused on the wellbeing and development of their students since it was founded in 1953. For generations, the schools emphasised on preparing children aged two to 18 for life beyond academia. Two decades ago, Fairmont stepped up their game and made the decision to become a pioneer in international education within the state of California.
To succeed in the 21st century, you must be able to survive and thrive in a globalised environment — which is why the institution launched their international student programme that allows students from over 21 countries to take part in a rigorous curriculum whether at Fairmont or from their home country.
“At Fairmont, we have a proven strategy to set you up for success. Fairmont students are consistently accepted to the Top 100 universities around the country,” says Carolyn Lucia, Head of Fairmont Schools. “Along with our impressive academics, we know the importance of social and emotional development — and we’ve been doing it all for over 50 years.”
Academic progress made possible with a holistic curriculum
What truly makes this institution a great place for children to enhance their skills and knowledge is that it is welcoming to all — both high achievers and late bloomers make up the fabric of Fairmont.
Students are taught by caring and passionate educators at Fairmont, who participate in social-emotional learning (SEL) training and mandatory annual evaluations. They also get a chance to join activities outside of the classroom through the arts, athletics, and special programmes like robotics, speech, and debates. It should come as little surprise then, that Fairmont has been voted the best private school in Orange County for nine consecutive years.
“There is a place for every student to thrive academically, socially and personally,” says Carolyn Lucia, Director of Education. Senior student Sophia Jansen agrees. “There’s a lot of different activities and clubs for pretty much anyone,” she says. “If you’re interested in something, you’ll be able to find that group of people. It’s really a safe place for you to be who you are. Whoever you want to be, they’re going to accept you. You will always feel very comfortable here.”
These aspects contribute to the overall formula that Fairmont concocted to produce well-rounded students and all students can partake in the opportunities available while feeling at home. “Fairmont has provided me with a welcoming environment. As an international student who has gone to three high schools, I’m glad I picked Fairmont to finish my high school years. Everyone in the school has made this the best experience possible,” says Marek Svoboda from Czech Republic.
A home away from home at Fairmont Schools
At Fairmont Schools, international students gain a second family regardless of whether they opt for the homestay or boarding option to settle into American life before they begin their studies. Though current student Wing Ho Lam chose to have “the feeling of family” with their host parents under Fairmont’s homestay programme, Hong Anh Nguyen opted to board.
“I get to make new friends who are like my second family now. Besides making valuable memories, I have learned to be more independent. This might be the thing that I am most proud of — I think my mum would agree too!” Nguyen muses.
International students receive support every step of the way. The boarding programme — open to students in grades nine to 12 — blends traditional student housing with a well-supervised family atmosphere. Students can study and live together, nurturing a sense of maturity and independence that they won’t get elsewhere. Safety of Fairmont students is of utmost importance, hence why “Resident Parents” live in each boarding home at Fairmont to ensure that their needs are met.