Grades 5-9
The Experience

The 9th Grade Experience

Boys eagerly await the ninth grade year—the essential capstone of the Fessenden experience. Our ninth graders are our student leaders, not low men on the totem pole. Rather than being the “small fish in a big pond” of secondary school, our ninth graders have the opportunity to be student leaders. As the “big men on campus,” they have both greater responsibilities and greater privileges. Our ninth graders typically reflect on this year as being transformational.

We kick off the year by diving into themes of leadership and collaboration in a three-day orientation in Vermont. Here, the class has an opportunity to bond, organically create a class identity, fine-tune leadership skills, and set goals for the upcoming year. Back on campus, ninth graders—some with a history dating back to Pre-Kindergarten, and others fairly new to campus—assume key roles that further develop self-confidence and individual strengths.
Our ninth graders are valuable assets to the entire community. Boys serve in diverse leadership roles across campus, including as:
  • Table monitors in the dining room
  • Dorm proctors
  • Peer tutors
  • Athletic team captains
  • Mentors to younger day students and boarders
  • Classroom volunteers for elementary students
  • Student government leaders, including school president

Ninth grade boys also have a particular advantage in athletics. They have opportunities to compete on varsity teams with the most advanced coaching and top competition from other junior boarding schools, as well as freshman teams and junior varsity at secondary schools.

Throughout the year, we continue to refine academic, artistic, and athletic skill. With earned respect of teachers and classmates, ninth graders are free to test their abilities in an environment similar to that of a secondary school, but with an age-appropriate level of adult supervision and guidance.

As graduation nears, many ninth graders find themselves reflecting on a year that turned into much more than they anticipated: with deeper friendships, stronger academic achievements, a few setbacks, and many triumphs. Fessenden ninth graders are well prepared to make the smooth and successful transition to secondary school—with confidence, intelligence, and perspective they’ve cultivated as they’ve transformed from young boys to young men.
© 2015 The Fessenden School. All Rights Reserved.
The Fessenden School
250 Waltham Street
West Newton, MA 02465
(617) 964-5350

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