Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.
Brown paper packages tied up with string,
these are a few of my favorite things.
(The Sound of Music)
My favorite part of the day is the time I get to spend with our students. I love hearing about their day, learning about the horses they like, the teachers they love, and the way they like their Brussels sprouts cooked. I love asking them questions and watching them ponder the answers. Sometimes the answers are quick, a shouted response from the other side of the dinner table. Sometimes they think deeply, asking if they can come back to me with an answer. The enthusiasm and positivity I see in each of our students on a daily basis never ceases to amaze me. At 18, 15 and even 12 I see wisdom in them that makes me pause and reflect on just how much these girls know about life, love and happiness.
Last night was no exception. I began my evening sitting around a table with a group of girls who range in age from 12 to 15. We were having a rather enthusiastic discussion of the things they love most about SBS. Food made it onto the list more than once, as did teachers, weekend activities, Humanities, Select Chorus and MOCA (the middle school student government).
As the night continued I asked more and more of our middle school students (and their Resident Assistants) about their experiences at SBS. The answers were varied and as unique as the girls who were giving them. The common themes included a greater sense of independence, increased confidence and a willingness to explore and experience more cultures and traditions. I have included the questions and a few of the responses below.
What is the best thing Stoneleigh-Burnham has done for you? What is the biggest change you’ve seen in yourself since coming to Stoneleigh-Burnham School?
“I’ve made really good friends here. I’m not as nervous when I give presentations. My Mom and Dad say I’ve become more independent and I manage my time more wisely than I did before.” -8th grader from New Jersey
“SBS has opened me up to socialize with people of different backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures. Now I’m more open to different ideas.” -8th grader from New York
“Stoneleigh-Burnham has taught me how to be independent. It taught me how to be around people from different cultures and feel comfortable around everyone. I’m way more organized, I feel better about who I am, I’ve become a better rider and it taught me that anyone can be anyone and be accepted.” -8th grader from Russia
“The best thing is everything. I have made good friends and I have become more organized.” -8th grader from Mexico
“The best things are the classes and the food. My english is better.” -7th grader from China
“I learned to speak English and I have very good friends. Now I am more secure in myself. When I was in Mexico, when I looked at someone I didn’t know I would think they were strange but now I say “Hi!”. I wasn’t shy with people I knew but I was with people I didn’t, now I speak with them.” -8th grader from Mexico
“It has helped me in many ways such as bringing more happiness into my life and helping me develop as an individual and as a student.” -8th grader from China
“Stoneleigh-Burnham has taught me not just about academics but also about cultures, traditions, sports, how to find my voice and much, much more. Now I am much more independent, organized and outgoing.” -8th grader from New York
“Stoneleigh-Burnham has taught me to be an independent girl, thinking creatively and positively, knowing what my dream is and pursuing it constantly. I enjoy getting along with people from all over the world and from different age groups. Being a Stoneleigh girl makes me proud of myself.” -12th grader from China
“It has helped my confidence level just being here and making my own decisions. It makes me feel like a stronger person who can do more things.” -8th grader from Boston
“The best thing SBS did for me was help me make friends. I had friends before but not really close ones. Now I have friends I’ll keep for life.” -8th grader from New York
“Stoneleigh-Burnham made me learn more cultures and different traditions from around the world. I’ve been opened to different routines.” –7th grader from Mexico
“The best thing the school has done for me is show me the importance of being a leader I have become a better rider and I’ve seen possibilities in my future because of Stoneleigh-Burnham.” –11th grader from St. Maarten
“The best thing Stoneleigh-Burnham School has done for me is to provide me with a better education and to grow as a person, learn new cultures and many things that are important. I have become more mature and educated. It has also made me a stronger person.” -12th grader from Columbia
“SBS has made me nicer and more considerate.” -7th grader from Ghana