What are you made for?

Posted by Katie Elrod, Head of School on Feb 29, 2024 3:16:06 PM

Every September, the Montrose School Student Government leadership team selects an inspirational theme for the new school year. This year’s theme, ZEAL – enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or objective – sums up the purposeful enthusiasm that Montrose students bring to all their adventures, whether in their studies, sports, theater, clubs or service projects.  

Zeal is not just a passing emotion but a virtue. St. Thomas Aquinas states in his Summa Theologiae that zeal flows from an intensity of love. In a school, we should seek from God the virtue of zeal – to “seek to imitate, where possible, the goodness or excellence we observe in others,” as Monsignor Charles Pope wrote in the Catholic Standard

Senior Kate Novack ‘24 invoked the spirit of zeal as she greeted the audience of prospective families at our Admission Open House this fall: “Welcome to what I hope will be your new home – a home where I have felt valued for who I am, the unique gifts and talents I am able to put at the service of others, and the joyful spirit that I, and all my Montrose sisters, feel each day.”

Inspired by this theme, I shared with our students the story of a woman who exemplified zeal: cryptanalyst Elizebeth Smith Friedman, an American war heroine, poet and codebreaker. She took her love of Shakespeare and proficiency at solving puzzles and applied them to intercepting and solving enciphered messages – work that was instrumental in helping the U.S. win both World Wars. 

I asked the girls to think about the question: What are you made for? And I shared Montrose’s answer: You are made for greatness. As they have heard often at Montrose, every student, and indeed every person, is unique, unrepeatable and called by God to discover her noble purpose, in order to transform the world for the good.

As I told the girls:

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Why Mavericks do Research

Posted by Barbara Whitlock, Director of the Upper School on Jan 25, 2024 5:44:43 PM

Last month, I received a Christmas gift from the managing editor of The Journal of Moral Education – a pile of reprints of my article “Mentorship Programs in Schools: Bridging the Character Education Gap” following the December online publication

I was giddy with joy. The publication of that article represents a fragment of three years of study and research – including over 200 curated references, my analysis of five major works of Aristotle along with countless contemporary studies, and my own action-research findings. The work was dog-hard and the end results are delightful. That’s true of all quality scholarship: the work is hard and the end results are deeply satisfying.

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Writing college essays has improved my mental health. Here’s why.

Posted by Hana Shinzawa '24 on Dec 14, 2023 10:43:26 AM

Writing college essays has actually improved my mental health – sort of. Though I don’t relish the prospect of dashing off supplemental after supplemental, and looming deadlines don’t inspire joy in my heart, I’ve realized that the more essays I write, the more wholesomely I think. Let me explain.

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Why family dinner matters

Posted by Deborah Farmer Kris on Feb 15, 2023 3:04:40 PM

Family dinners at my house can be messy –  and not just the dishes. It’s not always easy to coordinate schedules, pull kids away from homework/books/sports/screens, put my own devices away, and figure out what to cook that the majority of people will eat. But most nights all of us are together in the same room, eating something at dinner-ish time. 

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Let's talk about talking

Posted by Barbara Whitlock, Director of the Upper School on Jan 23, 2023 11:15:53 AM

Upper School Director Barbara Whitlock sends a monthly message to upper school students. In her January message, she coaches students to think about how the way they communicate.

What’s the best thing about returning to school after a break? Reconnecting with others.

And how do we connect? Through talking.

Aristotle says that what most distinguishes humans is our ability to communicate. The fact that we can talk in complex ways is unique to humans, and communication is the foundation of community. Note that these words share the Latin root word cum or with. Talking is how we connect with others. Connecting with many people in a shared context -- such as at school -- is the way we weave the fabric of community.

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Help in the "age of distraction"

Posted by Deborah Farmer Kris on Dec 15, 2022 4:21:14 PM

A couple of years ago, I was planning a workshop for Montrose School’s Sophomore Symposium. Specifically, I was searching for a powerful story could I use to remind students of one of the core lessons from the middle school’s signature “Habits of Mind” class: 

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3 ways to get ready for parent/teacher conferences

Posted by Becky Roberts on Nov 16, 2022 2:17:02 PM

The days have gotten shorter and the weather chiller. ‘Tis the season . . . for your child’s parent/teacher conferences. 

Every parent – and every teacher – can feel a little anxious leading up to parent/teacher conferences. Yet this annual passage is an important touchpoint in the school year. At Montrose, we know that parents are the first and most important educators of their daughters. That means that our November conferences between parents and a student’s teachers and mentor are essential to forwarding our aims to partner with parents to support their child’s academic and personal growth. 

How can parents best prepare to engage in these short but important conversations? 

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How to become a warrior, not a worrier

Posted by Barbara Whitlock, Director of the Upper School on Nov 2, 2022 11:44:44 AM

If someone asks you -- how are you doing -- where does your mind tend to go first?

  • To your worries about what you need to get done? I have so much work to do…

  • Stress surrounding upcoming tests or other deadlines? That test is going to be so hard…I’ll never get that paper done…

  • Some slight you perceived from a friend?

Do you know that our brains are wired to go to the negative first -- that we have a negativity bias?

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Aristotle’s Guide to Ending the School Year Well

As the leaves unfurl and new flowers pop out every day, we’re reminded that it’s a season of change. As fellow New Englanders who have longed for spring, we know how to welcome that change, even if it leaves our sinuses a little itchy. 

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Discovering the power of imagination

Posted by Seana Dorich on Mar 1, 2022 4:17:06 PM

Some say it strikes like lightning: that spark that sets the mind on fire and ignites the spirit. We grasp it in an instant and recognize it despite its ever changing form, in the capture of a scream on canvas, our country’s origin story told in rap, or the wordless story expressed in an animated short film. It has directed humanity’s course, both in ancient times and present day. With it, our ancestors made sense of the stars; our contemporaries plan a pathway to Mars. 

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Compass 10.7.16

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