Your Source for Feminist Discourse

Why I Chose to Attend an All-Girls High School

Why would you deliberately decide to go to an all-girls boarding school? Don’t you wish that you could see boys every day? Why would you choose to live at school?

These are questions I have heard far too often in my life.

For me, my boarding school days remind me of getting a great education, making the friends who will be bridesmaids at my wedding one day, and going to the barn after school each day to ride. I will never forgot those dreaded collared shirts that all of us hated, and the crazy traditions that made us love our school even more.

Single sex education is powerful, since girls’ schools create a culture where academic success and perseverance are the top priorities. The classroom environment encourages girls to ask questions and not be afraid to try new things.  In a single-sex school, none of us were concerned with how we looked or whom we dated, which allowed us to have the confidence to speak up in classes without fear of disproval or failing.

I attended Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia, and a couple times a week we would have something called Morning Meeting, where girls would stand up in front of the whole school, classmates and professors, to make announcements, to sing with their acapella groups, or to announce a new college acceptance. Many of the girls provided their own humorous twist to their announcements, often causing everyone in our school to erupt in laughter. I remember trembling when I made my first announcement, but by the end of my senior year, public speaking was easy.

I learned to feel comfortable with public speaking because I knew I had full support from my peers and professors. Living with other students is an amazing experience and the girls in my dorm became my sisters. My professors also changed my life, as they were not only educators but also our mentors. Many of them knew us very personally, understanding our home lives, our passions, and our weaknesses.

The professors also encouraged us to explore opportunities in STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. I took engineering classes where I learned woodwork and design, participated in STEM competitions where I would tackle science problems with a team, and tutored in the learning center to help other girls with their homework. Foxcroft made math and science fun and none of us ever felt that being a doctor, engineer, physicist, or mathematician were jobs for men. Girls’ school graduates are 6 times more likely to consider majoring in math, science, and technology compared to girls who attend coed schools. For me, I’m a pre-veterinary student applying to vet school this summer.

At a girls’ school, girls are not just encouraged, but expected to become bold leaders. More than two-thirds of girls expect to earn a graduate or professional degree after graduating. Girls’ schools push us students to strive for greatness, and I’m so thankful for my experience that changed my life.

Photo: Pixabay

4 Responses to “Why I Chose to Attend an All-Girls High School”

  1. thebearknightreturns

    This is quite a different analysis of private single sex schools than one usually reads about in popular media. Lots of the focus is on the restrictive nature of private schools, particularly one’s with religious affiliation. I’m fascinated by how you delved into the positive aspects of single-sex education, particularly for girls, whereby the emphasis on striving to achieve personal excellence rather than adhere to a particular narrative. Two of my friends attended a private school that they didn’t necessarily adore, mainly because they had to shave and attend weekly sermons. I’m curious; would you have had a different view of your private school experience had their been a substantial religious element to the school itself?

    P.S: Your experience in private school makes me think Betsy DeVos has a point! What is your take on some of the policies she is planning to emphasize and your view on “school choice” in general?

    Reply
  2. flashgordon

    My boarding school was very interesting in the fact that it was labeled as not being affiliated with a particular religion, but once a year we held a Christmas Pageant for the local community. The school was international, so we had girls from all over the world who had very different religions and perspectives. In our dining hall, we held flags from the countries where our students were from. I think that if our school held weekly required religious events, it would have ruined the culture of our school. I like the fact that we had girls who were Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, non-religious, etc. because it made the school diverse. One of my favorite parts about Foxcroft was learning about girls’ cultures from all over the world. Regarding Betsy DeVos’ school choice proposal, I am really conflicted in my feelings about it. I’ve watched documentaries on the charter school system in D.C. and how that has provided outstanding educational opportunities for students. But, I’m not sure where in the world she would get the funding to allow students to pick between charter, public, or private schools. Also, if what would happen if everyone wanted to attend a private school? What would happen to public schools? Also, she wants to add a religious emphasis to some schools, and I think that religion is such a personal topic and should be kept out of the school system. As I mentioned before, if my school had a religious emphasis, I think it would have created a divide between students. Thank you for your comment @thebearknightreturns!

    Reply
  3. BreakingLinea

    This is a great perspective piece! Do you think boarding schools should be free public education? As in, that its more worthwhile and useful than the public education system?

    I appreciate the fact that you mention that the lack of men in your school was not harmful to your upbringing? (NOTE: I don’t think having people of a certain gender is necessary for a wholesome and fulfilling upbringing)

    Reply
    • flashgordon

      Thank you for your comment! I think it’s a fantastic idea for boarding schools to have scholarships but our tuition helps to pay for new science buildings, dorms, trips, and more. I don’t think we would be able to travel and do as much as students without us paying tuition. Also, where would the money come from?

      Regarding your second part, I am really glad there weren’t boys at school. I think that my friendships were so strong because we all lived together and were not distracted by boys. There was no competition and everyone focused on what was really important.. our education.

      Reply

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