The Fessy Den Blog

How Innovation and Boarding Schools Go Hand-in-Hand

What do boarding schools and marshmallow-powered jetpacks have in common? Resources and innovation. Just ask Fessenden alumnus Charlie Schlager, a self-proclaimed tinkerer. As a child, Charlie liked to take things apart to see how they worked. And, as much as he liked to break things, he was driven to create. “I wanted to build things,...
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3 Places a Gifted Middle School Athlete Can Play at a Top Level

When you’re a gifted middle school athlete stuck in an area where there are few opportunities to compete at the highest levels, life can seem agonizing. You may have the fastest serve in town (among 11-year-olds, anyway) but before you can really test your mettle against elite competition, you have to wait two or three...
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3 Cures for Your Gifted Middle Schooler’s Academic Boredom

Are your son’s middle school classes uninspiring? Is his homework just so much drudgery through which to suffer? When classwork is too easy, many gifted students disengage. They coast on their natural abilities, acing their exams but failing to develop the intellectual habits that will sustain them when they reach the greater academic challenges of...
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3 Ways a 12-Year-Old Can Learn to Be a Leader

Some people are born leaders. They take control of difficult situations with confidence. They inspire others naturally. And it all seems to come so easily. But research has shown that the leadership abilities that appear to be inborn traits can actually be developed and nurtured during childhood: Researcher Carl Brungardt found in 1997 that leadership...
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3 Ways to Provide Stability to Your Middle Schooler During a Divorce

No parent wants to subject their child to unnecessary emotional distress, but sometimes, divorce is unavoidable. Middle schoolers already feel insecure about themselves. When a change like a divorce hits their family, it’s normal for everyone to have a wide variety of emotions to navigate. Research has shown that “although divorce is hard and often...
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Knowledge Is More Than a Google Search

There’s a story that goes like this. A man comes across three men laying bricks. He pauses to watch them and then walks over to the first man. “What are you doing?” he asks. The first bricklayer shrugs and says, “I’m making $15 an hour.” The man then moves on to the second bricklayer and...
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Help! My Middle School Son Won’t Clean His Room


The messy room is as close as anything gets to a universal parenting challenge. One psychologist told the Chicago Tribune messy rooms have been the top complaint of parents for as long as such records have been kept. Other articles describe the teen and pre-teen bedroom as a “battleground,” offer advice for “winning the chore...
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3 Signs Your Son is Too Smart for His Middle School


When are good grades not good enough? When your son is bored in school. When the material is too easy, doesn’t challenge or engage them, gifted middle school boys tend to coast on their smarts. They may slack off on their homework, put the minimum amount of effort into class projects, and stay silent during...
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