Campus Life Update
With the arrival of 215 new students joining us in early September, the last three weeks have been a blur of well-planned but intense activity for everyone in the school. Hope House is up and running with 46 new students joining a handful of veterans, and by all accounts the new residence is awesome and the students are loving their home away from home. Rogers House has also seen a significant shift back to its original “all male” domain and in doing so, has welcomed 40 new boys. The sum total of these additions and changes see us with the largest number of boarding students living on campus in our history. With 114 Grade 9-12 day students joining us and 23 Grade 8 students in that program, we are the largest school in terms of enrolment we have ever had.
Rest assured, however, that while we may be a larger school in terms of our student population, we have also added significant resources to care for them. With a net gain of over three teachers and the addition of nine Resident Faculty Assistants (RFAs), the human resources dedicated to providing the students with excellent opportunities and care has significantly increased, a strategic initiative to provide Brentwood students with a world class boarding school experience. These additional staff allow us to provide more activities on and off campus, lower the number of students in each advisor group from 15 down to 9 and the gain in teachers has dropped the number of students in each class. The RFA program has added another adult mentor as a member of the residential team living in each boarding house in support of the Houseparents, Assistant Houseparents and the students.
The first three weeks have seen the new and returning students either orient themselves to the school, or get themselves back into “Brentwood” mode. The inevitable homesickness for a few has almost completely dissipated, but the reality of our exceptionally challenging tripartite program is starting to really test the students, so some parents may get some calls from an overwhelmed child! Not to worry! This is a normal response to the school and the students will be supported along the way, especially if they roll up their sleeves and tackle the challenges with some grit.
The arts and athletics programs are now in full swing. The foundations for the musical have been established, choirs and ensembles are working towards their first performances, and artistic renderings in a multitude of disciplines are emerging. Our sports team have had a taste of competition and our life sports programs are starting to test the capacity of our students to push themselves.
Finally, each weekend since school started, there have been social events on Saturday nights that have been well-planned and enjoyed by the majority of our students. The Student Activities Committee hosted a Beach Day BBQ and Dance on the waterfront and plaza, SPARC put on a Fun & Games Night during which several “willing” staff and students got whipped cream pies slammed in their faces and Rogers House held an Open House which was enjoyed by the majority of the students.
All in all, we have had a great start to the 2015-16 school year and significant credit must go to the students for jumping into Brentwood with both feet!
Marius Felix, Assistant Head