Our Culture by Meaghan Hughes
The atmosphere at Elgin Academy is very welcoming. There is a sort of relaxed focus that extends through the entire school. Students are expected to pursue their goals and rise to the challenges presented by their teachers. However, there is no anxiety about fitting to the standards of someone else. Here, you set the norm for yourself.
Between peers, there is no competition, but rather a mutual friendliness that persists throughout all grade levels. I have known many of my classmates since lower school, and we can still relate to each other and reflect humorously on old memories. The relationship between faculty and student is equally friendly. I have found all my teachers at the Academy to be very approachable. You find that while you respect the dedication of the teachers, you can come to them with any questions you might have.
Though the lower, middle, and upper schools can each function autonomously, they can integrate well for the numerous all-school functions that occur throughout the year. Even the campus reflects this agreeable environment. All the buildings are in close proximity to each other, and you can walk around freely while still feeling very secure. But no description of the Academy’s culture would be complete without mentioning the abundance of opportunities here.
Starting from the earliest grades, students are given the time and materials to succeed not only academically but also in their extra-curricular activities as well. Every teacher will ensure that all students actively participate in class discussions and are given the occasion to stretch themselves beyond what they thought was possible. A student may come to the Academy in middle school with the firm belief that they are terrible in math. But after they learn a new way of thinking about the subject, they find they actually enjoy the class and are better than they thought they were.
One of the main focuses in athletics, especially at the high school level, is the concept of trying something new. For example, many people have never heard of the sport Field Hockey. I have been privileged to play since middle school, but many former players on the varsity team only played for a few years in high school. If you were to ask them how they feel about field hockey, they would immediately tell you that though they had never played before, they thoroughly enjoyed the sport and were glad that the program allowed them to try it.
At EA, art is all around you as part of the curriculum and as a part of the general culture. But it is not just the students who excel at drawing and painting that are involved in the art program. Anyone with a passion for acting, singing, sculpting, or filming can work toward improving that skill. The pursuit of interests forms the basis for the creation of clubs at the Academy. If a student can get enough of his or her peers interested in baking, then that student can form a baking club. Alumni will agree that while they were here, the school facilitated their interests in the form of clubs and other student-run organizations.
I know that I, along with my classmates, am always given the chance to excel at my school.
Elgin Academy Class of 2011