Fessenden’s academic year is filled with student events and accomplishments that make us smile. Here are some of the highlights from 2018-2019.
RED SOX WORLD SERIES TROPHIES TRAVEL TO FESSENDEN
In January, all four of the Boston Red Sox’s World Series trophies won since 2004 visited Fessenden. Each accompanied by a personal guard, the trophies were on campus for the entire morning. Every student had the chance to see the trophies up close, take a photo with them, and enjoy a highlight reel of the 2018 season while they were at it. Needless to say, everyone—both students and adults alike—had a blast!
STUDENTS SELECTED TO PERFORM AT REGIONAL HONORS CONCERT
Earlier this year, Andrew O. ’20 (violin), Jason K. ’20 (bassoon), and Shawn Y. ’21 (violin) took the stage in the Massachusetts Music Educators Association’s Eastern District Junior Honors Festival. They were three of 450 students—out of almost 1,000 who auditioned—selected to perform in the honors orchestra. This success marks these students as some of the finest young musicians in the state! (From L-R: Matt Glenn (Instrumental Music Teacher), Shawn Y. ’21, Jason K. ’20, Andrew O. ’20)
UNDEFEATED SEASON FOR VARSITY BASKETBALL
The 2019 varsity basketball team completed a perfect season with a record of 17-0. Highlights of the season include victories over four junior varsity high school teams and one varsity high school squad that included 11th and 12th graders. Athletic Director and Varsity Basketball Coach Pete Sanderson remarked, “This may have been the most talented varsity team in my more than 30 years at the helm!”
UPPER SCHOOL STUDENTS DELIGHT HOCKEY FANS
Last fall the choral group Upper School Voices performed “America the Beautiful” at a Providence Bruins hockey game.
Photo Contest Winner
“Eye of the Storm” is the winner of the 2019 Red & Gray Magazine student photo contest. Upper School students were invited to submit up to three photos to be considered for publication. A panel of over 40 administrators, faculty, and staff members voted on images submitted by students.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
This photo of a storm cloud moving across the Cape Cod Bay was taken off the shore in Sandy Neck, Massachusetts. I could see the cloud intensifying in mass and shade of gray, so I rushed to grab my camera and bolted to the beach to take the photo. I found this cloud formation so interesting because, although it was over water, it had the appearance of a funnel cloud. The photo invokes for me an awe-inspiring respect for the powerful force of nature!
My interest in photography was really ignited this past year. I learned about light and perspective, and I became interested in conveying or reflecting a story through the lens of my camera. I love how photography allows me to capture a moment in time and then share that moment with others—sometimes encouraging a provocative response. The photography that I love most is surely landscape and portrait, but as long as I can be taking pictures then I’ll do any type. All in all, photography is certainly a passion that I hope to test in my life and to explore as a possible career. — Blake A. ’19
Completed this past April, the William R. Elfers ’63 Center for the Arts has provided a multitude of spaces for Fessenden students to enjoy. From the new performance venues and rehearsal rooms to the visual arts studios, the boys loved spending the spring exploring the center, and we look forward to the additional creative and innovative experiences that this state-of-the-art facility will bring.
Class of 1985 Auditorium
Lin Recital Hall
Each June we celebrate the accomplishments of our ninth grade graduates and wish them well on the next step of their educational journey. While we will miss each and every boy, we take heart knowing they are off to the secondary schools of their choice and will continue to make us proud.
2019 BOARDING SCHOOL MATRICULATIONS
Choate Rosemary Hall
Episcopal High School
Loomis Chaffee School
New Hampton School
St. George’s School
St. Mark’s School
St. Paul’s School
2019 GRADUATION PHOTOS
It's hard to believe that Fessenden's academic year has come to a close. Before we gear up for another year of informative and entertaining editorial, we thought we would share your favorite posts from the 2018-2019 school year. Enjoy!
If you’re one of the many parents deciding between private and public school for your child, you know there are myriad considerations ranging from the cost of tuition to the intangible feel of an academic environment. Read More.
In this popular video, a family shares why they chose to enroll their son in a junior boarding school. The answers may surprise you. Read More.
There’s a lot to be said for cherishing the things that spark joy in your life. Just ask Marie Kondo or any of her “Tidying Up” devotees. But while the KonMari Method has swept the States by storm and people are blessing their belongings goodbye in search of happiness, the idea of joy is a little different at Fessenden. Read More.
Whenever alumni drop by to see the School, they are surprised by the changes that have occurred since their departure, as they search out familiar places from their student days, often finding them to be very different than they recall. “The Schoolroom seems so much smaller than I remember it!” is a common remark, or “I can’t believe I lived in this tiny dorm room!” Of course, the real differences are in themselves. Boys when they graduate and men when they return, they often visit to show us who they’ve become. For faculty and staff who welcome them back, it’s a “full circle” moment.
On May 2, another graduate returned to see the place where he had lived and gone to school from fifth through ninth grade. Matt Nathanson ’88 hadn’t been back to Fessenden since 2003, when he came to help us celebrate Fessenden’s Centennial Year. He played his music in the newly-opened wrestling space for a small audience of students and parents. A lot has happened since then. Matt has built a remarkable career as a singer/songwriter, including platinum and gold records; national tours with artists such as Indigo Girls, Train, and Kelly Clarkson; countless television appearances; and 13 albums. Matt has a dedicated legion of fans who follow him, loyally filling venues wherever he performs.
It might have seemed that Matt’s day at Fessenden was different from the usual alumni visits. After all, he performed two shows for students, faculty, and staff in our recently completed Class of 1985 Auditorium, combining a sampling of his music with stories of his experiences at Fessenden and in the music business. Along with his bandmate, guitarist Aaron Tapp, Matt played favorites such as “Headphones,” Prince’s “Starfish and Coffee” (with an audience sing-a-long), “Faster,” and his huge hit “Come On, Get Higher” to an enthusiastic response. It was a very special event for everyone involved, made all the more so by the fact that an alumnus was the first guest performer on our new stage.
However, for those of us who remember Matt as a boy who sought any opportunity he could to sing and play his guitar on the stage of the old Performing Arts Center, seeing him return as a man who has stayed true to his passion was especially meaningful. There he was again on our stage, doing what he loves to do.
It is something we are fortunate to see happen again and again at Fessenden. Boys come to Fessenden with dreams, aspirations to do great things, and our job is to keep those dreams alive. Our reward comes when they return to us, as men of accomplishment, inspiring the next generation of Fessenden boys to believe in themselves and to do the things they love.
Our thanks to Matt for spending a wonderful day with us!
Think about the number of times you have been required to interact with colleagues, peers, or strangers in the last week. Have you attended a work meeting? Participated in an important discussion that required a shared consensus? Or simply had to send an email to a group of people?
Communication and public speaking are critical skills, and research indicates that they must be honed at an early age. According to Psychology Today, a fear of public speaking affects “approximately 25 percent of Americans,” so it’s best to become practiced in publicly delivering information as soon as possible. At Fessenden, we promote public speaking as early as Pre-K and Kindergarten, and opportunities to practice and learn the art of communication extend through the ninth grade.
Communication In the Real World
The art of communication is multifaceted. A quality educational experience will acknowledge this and foster this important skill in a variety of ways. According to a recent article in Education Week, top employers list good oral communication skills as important qualities, but truly qualified applicants are hard to come by. The article notes, “relatively few regular public K-12 schools explicitly teach those skills, and even fewer teach them with real-world workplace scenarios.” So, if you’re considering a private school for your child, ask about the ways in which they teach and practice communication with students.
Here are four types of communication skills (and how they’re applied at Fessenden):
- Written: The development of written skills is woven throughout our curriculum, as it is in many schools. Students practice letter formation in Pre-K and Kindergarten and embrace various types of writing as they join our Upper School ranks; whether it’s creative writing or research writing, opportunities abound. And, our annual literary publication celebrates the diverse creativity of our students.
- Oral: Throughout a child’s time in Pre-K and Kindergarten, there are a number of chances for our youngest students to stand before their peers and practice confidence, eye contact, volume, and a general comfort with speaking in front of others. Opportunities at circle time and within classroom environments become gateways to bigger events, such as concerts and play performances. This skill-building leads to additional experiences as students get older. During this time, plays and musicals are more advanced, boys are required to deliver a meditation in front of their peers before the end of their ninth grade year, and they can often be found presenting to faculty and their fellow students as part of in-class studies and project-based learning units.
- Interpersonal: Individual and group interactions are important aspects of the learning experience. Our character education program is what sets us apart from many other schools, and it is thoughtfully incorporated into our curriculum. Character is as vital to our culture and curriculum as are science labs and soccer practice—and has been since our founding. It’s woven into music lessons, meal times, and basketball drills. It’s evident in our interactions with one another and in the choices we make when no one is looking.
- Nonverbal: We constantly teach students that they can say a lot without saying anything at all. Just as there are ways to be respectful, compassionate, and attentive without communicating verbally, there are ways to be disrespectful and disengaged without talking. This comes into play when we discuss mindfulness and when we represent the school in public—like our annual community service days or field trips—and each day in the classrooms, the hallways, and the dining hall.
You Tell Us.
What are some of the ways you see communication coming into play at an early age?