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Soccer Mom
06-18-2007, 11:12 PM
Anyone here ever attended boarding school or worked at one? The closest I've been is college.

I'm looking for memories and info about how your specific school was set up.

How were housekeeping and laundry handled?

What type of staff was there?

How restrictive was the atmosphere?

How was your school day structured?

Anything I should know, but I'm too stupid to ask? I've got a character who is a boarding school student.

Thanks for any info and I'd love some stories. You can PM if the details are too embarassing. ;)

Pat~
06-18-2007, 11:59 PM
Hiya, Soccer Mom. My son went to a military academy for a short time; their housekeeping was probably even stricter than a regular boarding school. They had daily room inspections military-style by the "RA" of their floor; they used a kind of competition-style point system, whereby your sloppiness affected the whole unit's score--a bit of reverse peer-pressure. Their laundry was done on site by the school's own staff; each student had their own laundry bag, and every item had to be labeled with student's name and I.D. number. The students had to march in as a unit at mealtime; they sat by unit in the dining hall, and no person going to the table with their tray could sit until all had arrived at the table. Not sure if this helps or not, but if you have any other questions, let me know.

(Despite it all, my son absolutely LOVED his experience there, and it was good for him.)

MarkEsq
06-19-2007, 12:08 AM
Where is your boarding school? And when is your story set?

I attended two boarding schools in England in the 1980s and have tales aplenty to shock the bejesus out of my friends here in the U.S. (E.g.: Timmy short-sheets Bobby's bed for a joke. Bobby flips out and stabs Timmy. Headmaster hears ruckus and takes the following action: for the short-sheeting, Timmy is caned. For the stabbing, Bobby is given a jolly good talking-to. Confused? The answer lies in Boy B's parentage.)

Soccer Mom
06-19-2007, 12:15 AM
Yikes! Actually the story is contemporary and set in Georgia. The girl is the daughter of wealthy parents who keeps getting into trouble. She's a bit on the rebellious side and if there's trouble to be had, she'll find it. But I think stabbing isn't really her style. But understand the hierarchy of who the parents are is a good point.

Thanks for the info, Pat. Labelling everything is a good detail.

Plot Device
06-19-2007, 12:21 AM
Boarding schools of today are all pretty much hanging by a thread financially. If Timmy was from an average family, and Bobby was from a high-net-worth donator family with lots of alumni in the family tree, any of whom frequently drop thousands into the school's coffers every year as mere charitable giving (above and beyond tuition) you better believe they're going to hang onto Bobby no matter what.

Sad. That sort of decision makes the teachers so furious it's enough to drive them to drink, and it teaches ALL the kids at that school the wrong message. [/gross understatement]

waylander
06-19-2007, 12:45 AM
Boarding Schools in the UK are doing pretty well with middle class parents all over the country bailing out of the state sector

MarkEsq
06-19-2007, 12:55 AM
Sad. That sort of decision makes the teachers so furious it's enough to drive them to drink, and it teaches ALL the kids at that school the wrong message. [/gross understatement]

I agree with your second point. At my school, though, the teachers wouldn't have cared, as long as someone got caned. I once saw one of the nicer Masters (the title tells ya something) trying to open one of those sliding wooden partitions between classrooms. I asked him if I could give him a hand. He turned around and said, "I'll give you a hand" and slapped me across the face.

Still not quite sure why.

talkwrite
06-19-2007, 07:16 PM
Anyone here ever attended boarding school or worked at one? The closest I've been is college.

I'm looking for memories and info about how your specific school was set up.

How were housekeeping and laundry handled?
Our laundry was done by the school Yikes I feel lazy now.

What type of staff was there?
From headmaster to professors to chaplain to dining/kitchen staff to bookstore clerk. All of them could tell on you....

How restrictive was the atmosphere?
We got kicked out for getting pregnant or busted with hallucinogens. Today they get kicked out for smoking

How was your school day structured?
From morning through evening supper- hour by hour. Then you are supposed to be studying- that was an empty time when friendships bloomed and people got creative. We were in a tiny town in Wisconsin so busting loose from campus meant hanging out in a field. The towns people loved calling the school if you were caught at the one bar. So we actually made our own social structure and echelon of activities in our dorms.

Anything I should know, but I'm too stupid to ask? I've got a character who is a boarding school student.
It really depends on your setting and time- Remember the same hierarchy exists at a day school as it does in a boarding school; the cool kids, the geeks, the fashionistas, the bullies. Which one is your character?

Thanks for any info and I'd love some stories. You can PM if the details are too embarassing. ;)
Ask away
Talkwrite

talkwrite
06-19-2007, 07:25 PM
I will add this: My school sends the headmaster around the U.S. to meet with alumni regionally. It is fascinating to see the different ages gathered. We do ask the questions about restrictions and regulations then and now and the stories roll out- The new headmaster is my age and he just laughs at what everyone got away with.
There is a fine art to skipping chapel- they send people to look for you and search your room. We would hide in the top level cabinets above the closets in our rooms- climbing up on a chair and then someone had to move the chair back before they left ( and help you get down afterward) You'd be curled up in a crawlspace meant for suitcases, not moving for over an hour. You'd hear the person come into your room and hold your breath till they left ( if they really left) Get the picture ? We went to a lot of trouble to break the rules.....

Soccer Mom
06-19-2007, 07:30 PM
Modern day setting in Georgia. My teen is the rebellious sort. She loves being contrary to everyone else. Her mother is a fashionista and so she dresses off-the-rack. Her father is ultra-conservative and so she gets her bellybutton pierced. She's also a bit of a nerd, with a lively and curious mind. Oh, and she's a compulsive liar. That's Glory Jean in a nutshell.

Soccer Mom
06-19-2007, 07:32 PM
I will add this: My school sends the headmaster around the U.S. to meet with alumni regionally. It is fascinating to see the different ages gathered. We do ask the questions about restrictions and regulations then and now and the stories roll out- The new headmaster is my age and he just laughs at what everyone got away with.
There is a fine art to skipping chapel- they send people to look for you and search your room. We would hide in the top level cabinets above the closets in our rooms- climbing up on a chair and then someone had to move the chair back before they left ( and help you get down afterward) You'd be curled up in a crawlspace meant for suitcases, not moving for over an hour. You'd hear the person come into your room and hold your breath till they left ( if they really left) Get the picture ? We went to a lot of trouble to break the rules.....


That's awesome. That's exactly the sort of thing my girl would do. The first book took place during a summer (this is sequal) and she was always sneaking out and stuff.

talkwrite
06-19-2007, 07:42 PM
Hmm she is a combination of at least 4 of my Friends and me. And I was the less adventurous one. So as the plot weaves ask me what she would do and I'll give you options. One extra element is that at these schools, then and now, there are several mentor- teachers who befriend you. They keep confidences and act as a go between you and the administration. Not having your parents there gives you a greater sense of learning how to find your way ( or have your way?) in the real world because of the combination of personalities and sorts you are living with in a small space. Her individuality will be nurtured heavily- by both the teachers and her peers.

Soccer Mom
06-19-2007, 08:05 PM
Cool beans! Thanks so much. I'll bug you periodically. BTW-I'm up in Fort. Worth. :D

ideagirl
06-20-2007, 03:30 AM
Housekeeping and laundry--we did our own. Weekly room inspections; prizes (candy bars) for the cleanest, warnings or penalties for the dirtiest.

How restrictive was the atmosphere? No leaving campus at all, except for weekly "town trips" for which you had to sign up in advance, and which you weren't allowed to go on if [insert various academic-performance requirements here]. We were in the absolute middle of nowhere, with nothing on campus but the school itself--no store, no hangout apart from common areas of buildings, nothing.

How was your school day structured? About six hours of classes, plus equestrianism. Students who were on work scholarship also had to work (e.g. helping in kitchen, cleaning stables).

ideagirl
06-20-2007, 03:33 AM
The girl is the daughter of wealthy parents who keeps getting into trouble. She's a bit on the rebellious side and if there's trouble to be had, she'll find it. But I think stabbing isn't really her style.

There are special boarding schools for rebellious kids or kids who get in trouble. In these places you will find some regular rebels and some really scary kids who, if their parents weren't rich, would probably be in juvenile detention instead. Theoretically these schools are to help the kids straighten out.

ap123
06-20-2007, 04:34 AM
My son will be starting boarding school in September. I just spent this winter visiting many, so I have a fairly current and broad spectrum of answers, though not any military schools, or schools designed for at risk youth.

He will need to do his own housekeeping and laundry. Laundry can be done for you, but you need to pay for that. The school day is pretty structured, up early, class, and there are requirements at all of the schools (some more than others) re involvement in team sports/activities. After dinner, there is enforced two hour study time, and after lights out internet service will be disconnected.

FYI, the boarding schools have huge endowments, and therefore way more financial aid available than private day schools. The schools vary in terms of dress code, social justice commitments, religious affiliations, co-ed/single sex, whether or not there are Saturday classes, some schools encourage close contact/as many visits as possible with family, others discourage lots of contact. All the schools assign each kid a personal advisor upon entrance.

If you have any other, or more specific questions, ask away.

poetinahat
06-20-2007, 04:47 AM
I went to one for two years. I can assure you that, while some may be in strife, the top ones are *not* hanging by financial threads - not by a long, long way.

I can only speak for my own experience, though; my school was all-boys at the time, but went coed about six years after I graduated. When the change was mooted at the class reunion, it was actually the younger classes (fifth and tenth reunions) who were most opposed to it, in the name of tradition and camaraderie. The older classes more thought it was a good idea. (It has proved to be an excellent move from every respect.)

The daily schedule is pretty tight, including sit-down meals at assigned tables (breakfast and lunch), compulsory sports in afternoon, study hall at night, and lights-out at ten (eleven on Friday and Saturday). The dress code was coat-and-tie for class; I believe it still is.

There's a very strong alumni network, and giving is very strong. It's as expensive as an Ivy League university, but even then, the tuition doesn't nearly cover the costs of the education and board. And, sure, legacy families would get a nod, but there is a great deal of scholarship money offered to worthy students.

I'll PM you a link to the school's website. I'm very fond of the place myself.

Soccer Mom
06-20-2007, 06:05 AM
Thanks for the awesome link, poet! Why didn't I google "boarding schools?" Of course these places have websites. Duh! :slaps forehead:

But I'd still love any personal tidbits anyone can think of.

Southern_girl29
06-21-2007, 12:31 AM
I didn't attend a boarding school, but I run a lot of press releases about St. Andrews-Sewanee School in the newspaper. It's an excellent school, and their Web site will give you a lot of information about it.

http://www.sasweb.org/aboutsas/index.asp

Soccer Mom
06-21-2007, 12:58 AM
Cool! Thanks for the link!

PattiTheWicked
06-21-2007, 01:15 AM
I didn't attend a boarding school, but I did watch every episode of The Facts of Life. Feel free to ask me anything.

:::flees:::

Soccer Mom
06-21-2007, 01:30 AM
Hey, I :heart: Facts of Life. Think I could buy the DVD of seasons 1 & 2 and write it off as research?

ap123
06-21-2007, 01:48 AM
www.boardingschoolreview.com

Symphony
06-21-2007, 02:16 AM
Hi there,

I went to boarding school for 6 years as a teen - in Ireland, so not sure how much 'generalisation' there is, but if it helps ...



How were housekeeping and laundry handled?

We all had laundry bags with our names on. Laundry was collected on Mondays and we got it back on Wednesdays - invariably missing several items or mixed up with someone else's. Our bedding was a different matter. Every Sunday, we changed our top sheet to the bottom and the bottom sheet went to the laundry. We got fresh top sheets and pillow cases every week.



What type of staff was there?

The usual - headmaster, teachers, kitchen staff and Matron!



How restrictive was the atmosphere?

Not restrictive at all. I went to a co-ed boarding school and it was fab. So we weren't allowed smoke and there was no drink, drugs or (supposedly) sexual relationships, but 300 hormone-crazed teenagers under the same roof? Ha!
I never felt restricted at all.



How was your school day structured?

Bell rang, everyone up for breakfast. Then back to dorms to make beds. Classes until 3.30 p.m. Then sports or sometimes free time. 5.30 tea, then everyone to classes for Prep (homework) - lasting until 7.30 or 9, depending on what year you were in. The seniors supervised Prep. All classes had half an hour between Prep and bed - just time to shower, if it was your 'shower' night! Lights out at various times according to age/year. Punishment for talking after lights out was usually laps of hockey pitch in the morning before breakfast.
Saturdays - classes in the morning. Afternoons free and you could go into town (in pairs) or if you were sporty you usually had a match against another school. No Prep Saturday nights. Usually activity planned by seniors - quiz, film, play, school hop, etc. etc.
Sundays - boring as hell. Compulsory church of some description, followed by 'letter-writing' time (Ugh!). After lunch, parents could come and fetch you for a couple of hours. If you weren't that lucky, there was a compulsory 2-hour walk, when we used to end up back in the nearest church because it was too bloody cold to be outside!!!!



Thanks for any info and I'd love some stories.

All the usual - runaways, midnight feasts, midnight swims, lots of April fools; attempting a midnight swim and one friend getting stuck trying to squeeze through the window (we got caught!). Another time, I persuaded a girl in the same dorm as me that if she got her head through the bars at the end of the bed, the rest of her body would follow. Unfortunately, she had the biggest boobs ever and the FIRE BRIGADE had to come and saw through the bars to get her out. Never laughed so much in my life. Think I got detention for about a year but it was worth it.
Then there was the day we all decided to swap uniforms with the boys - so they came to breakfast in skirts and we came down in suits and ties. Loads of fun.
Sometimes we'd play tricks in the dorm, too. I remember several times we'd pick on a real sleepy head and set out alarms for 4 a.m. and pretend she was going to be late for class and that she'd slept in! Boy, was that fun to watch!
And if a few of us wanted a private chat without anyone else around, we used to dig out a make-shift Ouija board and pretend to start a seance ... nothing like it to clear the building!

That's all I can think of for now. I you need any more, let me know - or if you come up with any specific questions feel free to PM me.

All the best,
Symphony

Jenan Mac
06-21-2007, 08:38 PM
I'm looking for memories and info about how your specific school was set up. Mid-seventies, near Boston, several recognizable names on the parents list (though none were mine). Half day students, half boarding, technically religiously based but not really.

How were housekeeping and laundry handled? Laundry room in the bottom of the cafeteria building. Or you could be like one of my old roommates and just wait until Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Break for your mom/household help to do it when you go home.

What type of staff was there?My freshman year our dorm had a maid, but after that we all had house jobs-- cleaning the common room, cleaning bathrooms, whatever. And we were supposed to clean our rooms, though most were pretty ratty.

How restrictive was the atmosphere? Mine actually was pretty liberal by boarding school standards. We had two hours of study hall each night Mon-Thu, during which we had to be either in our rooms or signed out to the library (and signed in at the library), then we had an hour free time, then 10PM curfew. No members of the opposite sex in our rooms. But we could sign out to town, and with permission (easy to get) to Boston or Cambridge on weekends. The dress code was "clean and mended", and at one point I had a dress I'd made from an Indian print bedspread. We were supposed to attend dinner in the cafeteria, but if you occasionally skipped, they mightn't notice. Oh, and the school went coed three years before I got there.

How was your school day structured? Classes from 8-3, with five "major" classes and two "minor" being average. Majors met 4-5 days a week, minors 1-2. A few Saturday classes, but only a few. I never had one.
Sports teams were open to all, even if you sucked, which I did. Nobody much came to watch the games, anyway.

Anything I should know, but I'm too stupid to ask? I've got a character who is a boarding school student. TRADITION. It's alllll about tradition. Even the manner in which we acted out (hereafter referred to as "Midnight Chapel Committee") was apparently a tradition.

Feel free to PM.