To have students board is to give them an incredible gift. It is an opportunity to develop the confidence that comes from living away from one’s parents. It is a chance to hone the skills needed to be an independent learner and person. It is the ability to live and work with people of different interests, cultures, and backgrounds. This experience prepares young people to be successful as college students, as adults, and as citizens of an increasingly inter-connected world.
Another benefit of being a boarder at Solebury School is the opportunity to live in a beautiful place. Whether it is sitting under the giant willow tree with friends, relaxing in the gazebo by the pond, having a snowball fight in one of the fields, or taking a walk around campus as the sun sets and the deer gather in the field, Solebury’s campus is a place where students can feel safe, be at peace, be inspired, and enjoy their youth.
Solebury has three dormitories. Each has a full kitchen, WiFi internet access, laundry facilities, and plenty of space for boarders to work and to enjoy their free time. There is Holmquist House, a girls dormitory with 28 beds, Appledore, a smaller dormitory for senior girls with five beds, and Walter Lamb Hall, the boys dormitory with 41 beds. Over half the faculty lives on campus. All the teachers, but especially the dorm parents, are there for students at every turn – to give some extra help with that history paper, to have a baseball catch outside, to spend an afternoon baking cookies, or to drive a vanload of kids to the movies, to local apple orchard, or to New York City for the day. Click here to see a calendar of the weekend activities for the year.
Each year, a few older students are selected to be proctors. These Solebury veterans play a significant role in making campus life so wonderful. They help organize dorm activities and build community spirit, they support the dorm routine and procedures, they provide an additional communication link between students and faculty, and most significantly, they act as role models and a source of support for younger students.
The intimacy of the community allows it to be like a big family and to not approach our students with a one size fits all philosophy. For example, while students are still working to develop the discipline and habits we help them acquire, they have an evening study hall in one of the classrooms or the library (picture you sitting with them at the dining room table). However, when students have developed this discipline, they receive more independence and can study in the dormitory. Our size also ensures that students won’t be able to fade into the background – they will be known by peers and adults, and they will have the opportunity to try new things and to be involved in all aspects of the community.
"Living at school rather than home has made me a lot more independent than your average 17-year-old senior. I love meeting and becoming friends with people from all over the world, shopping with friends on weekends, having breakfast with some of my favorite teachers, and having some of my favorite conversations at dinner. The dorm parents also add to my experience. It was great having my Literature teacher living next to me during my junior year to discuss Hawthorne and the other works we read. It's always fun to watch my favorite TV shows in the dorm head's apartment. From having study sessions in my best friend's room, to having huge slumber parties in the lounge, boarding at Solebury is something I well NEVER forget."