High school years are the most important in a young person’s development and sets students on a path, not only towards college but towards living a fulfilling and successful life. Studies have determined that many of the experience’s individuals have in high school shape their lives significantly. Whether it is through friendships, learned skills in the classroom or impromptu interactions whilst hanging out in a dorm room, every moment is vital.
The school a student attends plays an enormous role in determining their pathway towards further education and individual success. The Frederick Gunn School, understands this and mindfully and purposefully develops programs and curriculum that enables every student to “Be A Force”.
A co-educational boarding school in Connecticut, The Frederick Gunn School is dedicated to ensuring its vibrant community of learners are constantly growing intellectually, socially and as individuals. Above all, it works towards bringing out the best in students from grade 9 to 12, giving them the chance to discover their strengths and work on their weaknesses, pursue their passions and overcome their fears as well as challenge themselves with new experiences, all before they take their first steps into university.
It’s an approach that has been perfected since 1850, when founder Frederick Gunn first opened his doors to students. As an educator, prominent abolitionist and outdoorsman, Gunn — along with wife Abigail Brinsmade Gunn — was determined to create an environment that encouraged the development of intellectual strength, moral courage, physical rigour and character. Today, its tight-knit community has grown to embody Mr. Gunn’s vision of education, more than 170 years ago.
A holistic experience with academic rigour
The Frederick Gunn School, centre’s its academic program around challenging its students to take their learning to the next level as well as preparing them for college. Classes are inherently interdisciplinary, allowing students to explore a range of subjects across 120 unique courses. For those looking to challenge themselves, the school offers 33 AP and Honours classes. Each subject develops a student’s problem solving, risk-taking and independent thinking skills as well as enabling them to work collaboratively or individually. All fundamental skills for life outside of the walls of this picturesque school.
Education at the Frederick Gunn School is not simply about attaining good grades. Students also experience signature programs that intentionally develop their moral character so that after they graduate they enter the world as thoughtful, responsible and active citizens. The Centre for Citizenship and Just Democracy has developed a 4-year program that seeks to encourage students’ development at every stage, to engage in topics and projects that foster the students’ own self-awareness and global engagement.
Pathways for Freshmen begins the program with having students reflect on themselves and their values whilst teaching them study skills, general life skills and self-advocacy. Throughout the 4-year Centre for Citizenship and Just Democracy program, students undertake everything from public speaking courses, community building exercises and the development of their own personal moral code which all culminates in their senior year with the Civic Changemakers Project (CCPD) diploma. Seniors develop and execute a personal project that emphasises civic action in an area that aligns with their personal values. This project has profound meaning to each and every student.
Such impact is only possible thanks to the school’s intentionally sized community of 325 students. The 220-acre campus is home to boarding and day students that come from 20 different countries and more than 20 different states around the USA. This makes for a diverse, yet close-knit community, where students are always learning from each other. Individualised attention from teachers, coaches and dorm parents makes for greater opportunities for personal growth, leadership and academic success.
A Good Person is Always Learning
Learning never stops at the Frederick Gunn School. It is incorporated into every aspect of school life — giving students a chance to keep growing and exploring the world around them while under the supervision and safety of adults and their peers.
“The way we think about learning here at the Frederick Gunn School is that everything we do is teaching, and students are always learning,” shares Emily Gum, Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning. “What a teenager needs developmentally is to be able to step outside themselves, and start reflecting back on themselves.”
Gunn Outdoors is a prime example of this. The Frederick Gunn School takes advantage of the natural wonders afforded to them by their safe, pristine location — whether it is backpacking across the White, an afternoon hike in Steep Rock Preserve, spending evenings around a firepit or building and maintaining trails across its 4 beautiful properties, students find themselves outside, learning in nature, just as Mr Gunn envisioned. Through these activities, students naturally develop their leadership skills, engage with and are grounded by the outdoors, and gain a deeper sense of independence and community — contributing to their character development and ability to adapt throughout life.
It’s little wonder, then, that students at the Frederick Gunn School go on to thrive at College. They’re keenly sought-after by some of the nation — and the world’s — top universities, including Brown University, Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School of Business, Johns Hopkins and USC Berkeley to name a few. The exceptional college placements only speaks to the school’s rigour, carefully laid education foundation by Mr Gunn and reputation its for raising academically-driven, thoughtful and intelligent individuals — a true testament to The Frederick Gunn School’s holistic approach to education.
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