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Oct 04, 2017

Community Middle Schoolers visit RCDS for Biennial Boarding School Fair

Emma Floyd clutched a thick stack of brochures in her arms as she scanned the rainbow of school colors, logos and flags that decorated the tables in Riker Hall. Finally settling on her next move, she approached a woman behind a purple clothed table with a warm smile and shook her hand eager to learn. Emma, an RCDS eighth grader, was one of about 80 middle schoolers who attended the biennial Boarding School Fair hosted by The Rumson Country Day School on Sunday, September 17. Over 60 boarding schools were showcased to give students and parents an opportunity to speak informally to representatives from each school about academic programs, extracurricular activities, facilities and more.

The Fair doors were open from 4-7PM. Like many students in attendance, Emma hoped to use the opportunity to learn as much as possible about her education options.

“I saw signs for the Boarding School Fair on the lawn of RCDS and asked myself ‘Why not?’,” Emma explained. “I’m not opposed to the experience of going away and I’m motivated by the challenge of adjusting to a new environment. The robust programs like field hockey, visual arts and ballet that some of the schools have to offer really impressed me.”

Jacqueline Comola of Chatham Hall in southern Virginia said that her institution has been participating in the RCDS Boarding School Fair since its inception over 20 years ago. She is drawn to this specific fair because the unique small community feel of RCDS relates to that of the school she represents. She explained that educating students like Emma and their parents is the exact goal of her involvement.

“If I just introduce a family to their broad education options and open their minds, that’s a win for me,” said Jacqueline. “Families can discover a niche school that is the perfect fit for their individual child. It’s all about finding that personal fit educationally and how empowering that can be.”

Hannah Solis-Cohen of Blair Academy in New Jersey agrees. “We hope to educate families about the boarding school process,” she said. “Secondary schools can offer a wide range of opportunities inside and outside the classroom. A boarding school education doesn’t end at 3:15PM. It is a lifestyle.”

Representatives like Jacqueline and Hannah engaged students and parents with presentations, one-on-one conversations and brochures in addition to school swag such as keychains, tote bags, notepads and magnets. Boarding schools from Virginia to New Hampshire were represented. However, the location of these schools is not the only aspect that sets them apart from other education options. The wide range of where their students come from span the world.

“Boarding schools are a microcosm of society and the work world students will enter,” said Interim Head of RCDS Jayne Geiger. “Their student bodies are composed of different nationalities, religions, socio-economic backgrounds, races, talents, interests and life experiences. The Boarding School Fair gives families the opportunity to speak first hand with the Admissions personnel and learn more about what today’s boarding schools are — and what they are not. Being educated about their options helps parents know if a boarding school is the right choice for their family.”

RCDS will host the next Boarding School Fair in the fall of 2019. Meanwhile, RCDS’ Brandon Horner leads the ongoing secondary school placement efforts available to Upper School RCDS students. The program offers personal guidance, a thorough collection of resources and guidebook upon request.

ABOUT RUMSON COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL:

The Rumson Country Day School (rcds.org) is a not-for-profit, independent, non-sectarian, coeducational school specializing in nursery through grade eight, with a 2017-2018 enrollment of 400+ students. The school enrolls students who work in small classes with superior programs in academics, athletics and the arts. With a student/teacher ratio of 7:1 and an average class size of 15, students are guided by a family of mentors who recognize strengths, nurture skills and empower confident children to be curious about the world around them. RCDS offers half-day and extended day Nursery and Pre-K programs and a full-day Kindergarten. RCDS has been recognized as a “Blue Ribbon School of Excellence” by the U. S. Department of Education since 1999.