A Structure to Build On

Monday, March 09, 2015 - By: Marius Felix

Why is Brentwood a Happy Place? Our Students Tell us This is the Case.

Brentwood is not an easy place to go to school, by design. Teachers and students are driven to achieve the very best results possible in a challenging and demanding environment. Our arts instructors push their charges towards excellence, whether in the studio, on the stage, or as a member of a music group. Our competitive sports teams carefully plan and establish lofty goals each season, and our recreational athletes are encouraged to improve their fitness and skills with the vision of establishing a healthy exercise routine as part of their future. Add to all of this the reality of the complexities of Brentwood’s residential foundation. As parents, could you imagine living with upwards of 50 teenagers, and all of the trials and tribulations that can bring?

Brentwood pushes our students to be, first and foremost, good and respectful people. In the teenage world, establishing the moral compass to be both good and respectful is challenged daily by a multitude of influences. Past experiences, the desire to be accepted, behaviors that have been modeled by peers and adults, the readily available mass media culture (some good, some shockingly disturbing) relaxed standards and values, and a lack of understanding consequences can all contribute to how young men and women develop.

In our environment, Brentwood has the opportunity to help young people establish how they wish to be perceived here today, next week, next month and indeed, in the years ahead. Being both good and respectful cannot nor should it ever be a convenience based on specific circumstances. The values we embrace here at the school, grit and joy, embody being good and respectful. It takes some significant grit to enjoy success here at the school, and success can be measured in many different ways. For some, achieving a 60% average in a math class would require a great deal of grit and is a significant and proud achievement. For others, overcoming and then conquering self-doubt means that person has developed the personal courage to take a chance, push themselves, trust someone and develop a deeper self-understanding and, as a result, greater self-confidence for the future. Both of these examples result in joy.

So, why is Brentwood a happy place? I believe that part of it is that the challenges, the rules, the structure, and the demands are exactly what our students want, even though they may push against them from time to time. It provides them with the means to make good decisions, to discover their strengths, and perhaps more importantly, their weaknesses, in an environment that supports them on the one hand, and provides guidance and correction when required.

Enjoy the upcoming holiday.

Marius Felix, Assistant Head

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