Monthly Archives: November 2009

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

No, it’s not an extra blog post…but it is exciting! Check out below for information about scholarship opportunities at Stoneleigh-Burnham School and our new early action option for boarding students! For more information please contact the Admissions Office at 413-774-2711 ext. 257 or Happy reading!
Scholarships at Stoneleigh-Burnham

Stoneleigh-Burnham School offers three scholarships annually to students applying to the school. Two of them require no formal application but do require expressed interest from the applicant and/or her family. The third requires a formal application (see Wray Scholarship below). All three scholarships honor exceptional applicants who will enhance the community of Stoneleigh-Burnham and, ultimately, the broader world. Scholarships do not preclude other financial assistance.

The Dorrance Scholarship in Memory of Bonnie Benn Jesser ’63 S
The family of Jacquelynn Dorrance ’64 S has endowed this scholarship in memory of Bonnie Benn Jesser ’63 S whose life ended tragically soon after her graduation from Stoneleigh-Prospect Hill School. The Dorrance Scholarship is awarded to a girl who exhibits interest in and enthusiasm for extra-curricular activities. Like Bonnie Benn, she should also have contagious enthusiasm, a strong sense of sportsmanship and an interest in service to others. This $5,000 scholarship is granted each year to an incoming student.

The Mr. and Mrs. “E” Alumnae Scholarship
The Mr. and Mrs. “E” Scholarship, named for Mr. and Mrs. Edward E. Emerson who led Stoneleigh-Prospect Hill and then Stoneleigh-Burnham from 1950-1970, is awarded annually to a candidate who has demonstrated above average academic ability and well-rounded interests and talents to bring to the school community. A strong sense of community responsibility and care for family and friends, traits instilled by the Emersons, are also considered. Preference for this $5,000 award will be given to a relative of an alumna.

The C. Robert Wray Scholarship
The Wray Scholarship is awarded annually to a girl who embodies the characteristics that Mr. Wray endeavored to instill in his students over his 18-year tenure as Headmaster of the School. The recipient, who receives a $10,000 award, must show character, integrity and a genuine interest in attending Stoneleigh-Burnham School. Equally important is her demonstrated potential for leadership and contribution to the school community as well as proven academic success.
The applicant must submit by February 15th an essay of at least 1,000 words expressing what leadership means to her and why she is particularly determined to attend Stoneleigh-Burnham. A panel of local leaders helps to determine each year’s awardee.


New Early Action Option!

Stoneleigh-Burnham School is pleased to announce an early action option for boarding applicants. Any boarding student who is interested in applying early to Stoneleigh-Burnham School may complete and submit their application by January 1 for a January 15 decision.

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A Tribute to the Emerson Family

When I was a student at SPH and then SBS, Mr. and Mrs. Emerson (the “E’s) ran the school together. They were wonderful, and many of us stayed in touch with them until they died some years ago. When I was a senior Stoneleigh Prospect Hill, we merged with another girls’ school in Northampton, The Mary A. Burnham School, thus becoming Stoneleigh-Burnham. Mr. E’s sister Miriam Peters ran Burnham, following in the footsteps of her mother, Mabel Hood Emerson (ironically, I received the award in her name when I graduated). When the schools merged, Mr. E was the head and Mrs. Peters worked somewhat in the backdrop, orchestrating a fantastic trip to Paris for 5 weeks. I went on that trip, the ultimate inspiration for my becoming a French major in college, and ultimately a French teacher.

By the time I became head of SBS, Mrs. Peters was long retired, but she still lived in the area. Last summer she (and we) celebrated her 100th birthday. On October 29th of this year, 1 day shy of her 100th year and 4th month, Mrs. Peters passed away. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to visit with her several times in my first year of headship. She, like her brother and sister-in-law, has been an inspiration to me, and I marveled with each visit at her sharp mind – yes, even at 100.

Mrs. Peters’ funeral service was a few weeks ago in Danvers, MA at the family burial ground. I only learned recently that she was a descendant of Israel Putnam, Revolutionary War general, and had grown up in the general’s home in Danvers. The Putnam Family Burial Ground is a lovely, serene plot of land now wedged at the crossroads of Routes 1 and 62, behind the state police barracks: a sharp reminder of what “progress” has done to a once bucolic setting. It was a lovely ceremony, punctuated with a program and music that Mrs. Peters had chosen.

Three of my classmates – Deb, Carol and Jennie, as well as a few other Burnham alumnae, also attended the service. Though we felt somewhat like interlopers at this mostly family ceremony, we also represented the school family that Mrs. Peters had raised. I wondered if all those Emersons understood how deeply so many of us students feel about these Emersons, now buried here in this spot for their final rest. We could go on for hours about them, their influence on us, the stories of their families.

I learned that day that Mabel Hood Emerson didn’t start her professional career until she had raised her children. Apparently her husband was about 15 years older than she and he, a very successful manufacturer, lost everything in the Great Depression. Mrs. Emerson, at 52 years old, went to work teaching school. Eventually, she bought a little school in Exeter, NH and named it the Emerson School for Boys.

Mr. E, her son Edward, eventually ran that school before he moved to Greenfield in 1950. While Mr. E was in Exeter, his mother went down to Northampton to look into buying her alma mater, The Mary A. Burnham School. Somehow she convinced a local banker to loan her the money, and sometime later she also bought Stoneleigh Prospect Hill. By the time I came along in the mid-60’s, Mr. E was running Stoneleigh and Mrs. Peters (Miriam Emerson Peters) was running Burnham. Their brother John (now 95 and the last remaining Emerson of that generation) was the long-time business manager for Burnham. He was also instrumental in the family’s opening a summer school, Burnham-by-the-Sea, in what are now buildings belonging to Salve Regina University in Newport, RI. Another brother stayed in Danvers and opened the Putnam Pantry candy shop which is now run by his son.

I thought then, and still think now, that the story of Mabel Hood Emerson is remarkable. Here was a woman who had raised 7 children before she found a career and provided for her family with it. Her children were all well-educated and well-traveled. I remember that Mrs. Peters and Mr. E always took a trip together during Spring Break, usually overseas. Mrs. Peters had studied at the Sorbonne and taught French early in her career; it was her enduring love affair with Paris that inspired our trip there my senior year. Though the family clearly endured some hard times, they also led a privileged life at many levels. Mabel Hood Emerson and her children Edward, Miriam and John left legacies behind that are still felt today at the school and that I am stubbornly committed to perpetuate.

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Is an all-girls school right for me?

You may have pondered some of the following questions while flipping through admissions materials  or maybe you thought it the other day when you found yourself daydreaming through English class because your teacher spends more time dealing with disruptions than discussing Shakespeare.

Are you looking for…

the kind of place where you aren’t the only one raising your hand before the teacher finishes asking the question?

an environment that will challenge you?

a place where you’ll feel safe and accepted?

a school where loving math and science isn’t just accepted it’s the norm?

a school that tells you it’s ok to be yourself?

the kind of place that encourages you to voice your opinion?

somewhere you can take ceramics, Chinese, calculus, equine science and political science all before heading to the dance studio for rehearsal?

If you answered yes to any of these questions than Stoneleigh-Burnham School might just be the place you’re looking for.

Here’s why:

Why is all-girls education so important?

  • It is a known fact that girls learn differently than boys. Research from the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools shows that girls are more willing and interested in pursuing math and science when they are in an all-girls environment. Step into one of our classrooms and you will see the difference. Girls will be asking questions, participating in discussions and (sometimes) even leading them! All-girls education is a unique experience that allows girls to grow and learn in a safe and supportive environment. Check out the previous post about life in an all-girls school here.

What makes Stoneleigh-Burnham School different?

  • Stoneleigh-Burnham School offers you the opportunity to explore and learn through hands-on classes, the chance to experience a global community through a diverse student body and the challenge to become your best self. You will be encouraged to take appropriate risks in a supportive and challenging learning environment that allows a safe space for making mistakes. Stoneleigh-Burnham School will show you how to speak with confidence and clarity and help you develop skills that will serve you well into the future.

What opportunities are available to me in the Upper School?

  • You will have the chance to choose from a variety of classes in Science, Math, History, English, Foreign Language and the Arts. Each year you will be required to take two trimesters of art (either visual or performing). You will be encouraged to reach outside your comfort zone and participate in a theater class or take a ceramics class. Your junior and senior years you will have the opportunity to choose from a number of exciting elective classes in both History and English. If you are particularly passionate about something you can further your learning by taking Advanced Placement classes or designing a Senior Project.

What opportunities are available to me in the Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School?

  • In the Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School you will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with your fellow students to help guide the units you will explore in your classes. You will work with other students to write and perform an original play addressing topics that are important to you. You will have the chance to explore foreign languages before choosing which one(s) you will study in Upper School. You will take classes in art, theater and dance all while learning the important concepts in math, science, English and history  that will give you a solid foundation for our Upper School.

Sound intriguing?

  • Check out our website or give us a call! We hope to see you on campus soon!

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