I love this school. It offers amazing opportunities. The rigor that the school provides is preparing us for college and also making us well-rounded people.
At Exeter you're placed according to your level. You get to figure out what's happening by exploring the topic with classmates and with the guidance of your teacher. That really helps with the learning process because if you figure it out yourself, you're likely to retain that information.
In middle school you just sat at the desk, the teacher talked to you, and you took tests. Here you do a lot of the discovery on your own. The majority of the class is sitting at a table with 11 other students and figuring out the math problem, or the causes of the Revolutionary War, or if the war was revolutionary or not. You move into a mindset where you have more control over your education.
Mr. McConnell is a really good teacher. He's very approachable.
He tracks us once a week – he uses an oval on a sheet of paper to represent the Harkness table and marks everyone who's speaking. If someone doesn't speak as often, we encourage them to join us.
This course is really in-depth. We read a lot of primary documents on Native Americans, slavery, the revolution and the lead-up to the Civil War. We read an article about how the Natchez Native Americans were really influential. I found out from my mother that most of my family lives in Natchez, MS. It's nice to see something from so long ago that's still so present for me.
We do a write-up every night. That gives me an opportunity to review everything I read. You're getting a summary and know exactly where you are in the reading.
This classroom has lots of computers. That speaks to the integration of technology and classes here in general. Mr. McConnell sometimes projects a movie from his iPad onto the screen.
English is my favorite subject. You read books, you come and discuss, and you write a paper. Those are my favorite things of all time.
Even if I don't really like a book I can see why it's important to read it. The perspective of 11 different students from around the world, all talking about the same subject, is really powerful.
This class is very relaxed. We do acting. We do lots of activities where we're moving.
Ms. Moore is an excellent teacher. Her personality works really well with a broad range of people. We write in journals at the beginning of the class. I really like that. Every Friday we have doughnuts.
We moved from Othello right into F. Scott Fitzgerald. We're reading The Great Gatsby. I like Fitzgerald's writing style. It's abstract in a sense. There's so much going on in a short novel.
Instead of a paper we had an in-class assignment – we had to annotate a passage from the book and depict it with a picture. We also read Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. That was really fun.
Mr. Daves is my favorite English teacher. I had him as a lower, winter and spring term. I still stop by his room and talk. He's helping me enter a competition. He's a really good faculty friend. He'd be there to help me edit a paper or just sit down and talk about stuff.
I go to Harris Family Children's Center, right on campus, every week. Little kids are so cute. It reminds you to just relax. They are amazed with life.
We play on the playground. Lots of tag and freeze tag. They get so surprised when people find them.
I read with them. It says so much about this atmosphere – kids who want you to read to them.
Last year I taught dance to the kids. That was really fun too. Seeing these kids laughing and having fun was a really good experience.
I've been involved in Big Sib Little Sib, another ESSO club, since I was a prep. I always wanted a younger sibling. When I 1st met my little sib, he was 2. He's the sweetest, cutest little boy. He's so energetic once he warms up – once he realizes that it's no longer naptime but play-with-Selah time.
We run around the quad. He likes riding elevators. Now he's 4 and half my height. His mom is really nice. She's very supportive of me. They come to Dance Concert every term. It's nice knowing another family that lives around Exeter. They gave me a necklace that says "Good friends are always closest to the heart."
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Friendships you make here are so much stronger than the friends you have at a regular school because you're living here. Even if they're not in your dorm, they're 2 minutes away at most. Being with someone in a classroom and in different settings means you get very close.
I have a lot of good friends in Merrill who are seniors, like Courtany and Briana. I met Courtany my prep year when she offered to set up my printer. She tries to help me with homework, but we usually end up just talking.
Girls in a dorm are more like sisters than friends. You learn so much about each other and everyone here is so willing to be your friend. There's no prejudice or any dislike because of economic backgrounds. We don't have those problems here.
I'm with my friends Rachel, Terri and Elizabeth in my dorm room. We're talking about an assembly that just happened. Terri and Elizabeth live in Gould House. I met Terri last year on the 1st day of Dance Company. Now we're best friends. I met Elizabeth through Terri. All 3 of us are on Poms together. It's a club – the closest thing the school has to cheerleading.
There are 12 uppers in Merrill. We all get along well. Last night we studied together in our common room. My prep-year roommate, Arabella, and I are still such good friends. On Saturday we went to Walgreens to buy cookie dough.
I really like Apple Jacks. I eat the vegetables because they are good for you. I often make salads or I have the soup. They always have really good desserts: cake, cookies, apple crisp.
We're doing homework in the dining hall after eating lunch. I'm working on French, and Courtany is doing math.
When I came here, the homework load was a big adjustment. But, it's definitely manageable. I was used to doing 15-20 minutes of homework. Those days are definitely over. It's something I enjoy doing, knowing that I will get a better education.
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The entire class is in French, which I love. Even if we're talking about our day. We watch French movies and French news. Paris Match is on the table. Everyone is really relaxed because Mr. Schieber is such a nice guy.
We're doing grammar exercises. Mr. Schieber gives us a work packet that complements the book. We put the exercises on the board at the beginning of class and we talk about grammar. We're wrapping up the book – Antigone – comparing themes and how the characters relate to each other.
Harkness in French is really interesting. I'm not used to doing Harkness in another language. Mr. Schieber is really helpful in guiding the conversation.
I started elementary French in prep fall. I was very afraid about my 1st test. There was an oral component. I didn't know half the words my teacher was saying. Because of how strong the language programs are here, you learn so much so quickly.
I started reading literature the 3rd term: children's books. At that point you feel kind of inadequate. In a span of 2 or 3 years, I went from reading a book for 5-year-olds, Le Petit Prince, to a book someone my age would be reading, Antigone.
I won the French award last year.
Whenever I go home, I read French magazines. I like the way French is structured. It sounds really pretty. All these words sounding the same, and being spelled totally differently.
I've always wanted to be in France, see the Eiffel Tower, eat Nutella in crêpes. I'm applying to 3 France summer programs. One is a PEA program.
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I had heard that Biology would be very hard, but I love it. The labs are fantastic. Biology is so real.
Mr. Matlack is one of the funniest people I've ever met. He always asks, "True or false?" The answer is always true. He knows so many things about biology and life. He says, "And that's free of charge!"
We watch videos that are fantastic. Mr. Matlack was talking about the different organelles in cells. He showed us a video on YouTube of a school marching band doing the Krebs cycle. The best part was the soundtrack.
My friend Carlin is sitting next to me. She's also in my history class. We met in English last spring.
Mr. Matlack has turtles. We watched them grow. They started out really little and now they're huge. We have to let them go in the spring.
I took Physics, then Chemistry, then Biology – that's a somewhat unusual track. You end up being in the same classes with the same people, which is great.
I wasn't a fan of Physics – I wasn't completely prepared for it. I loved Chemistry – it's my favorite of the sciences. I really liked Mr. McLaughlin, my Chemistry teacher. My dad is a chemist. I want to take AP Chemistry next year.
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I absolutely love dancing. It's a method of communication that everyone can read. Language has barriers. Dancing is the language of the body. Whatever a choreographer wants to say, you can tell anyone, in combination with music.
Ms. Duke is trying to incorporate the Horton style into our dance. It was started by Lester Horton and is a completely American form. It uses a lot of straight lines. It requires lots of strength, especially abdominally. We're doing exercises. I usually take this class at a different time, but chose to join the other section today.
The dancers are all really close. We spend a lot of time together in the studio. I made a lot of friends through dance. We're all there for the common purpose of dancing.
The dance program here is growing. When I 1st came there were 15 girls in Dance Company. Now there are 30. So many people come up to me and ask how to get into dance. It's nice to see such movement toward this art.
I've choreographed every term but 1 since my prep fall. I never choreographed before I came to Exeter. I choreograph things that are very important to me. This term, I choreographed Black and Gold. It's about missing people from home, and wishing they were here. That's something that a lot of people will be able to relate to.
The dancers have enjoyed Black and Gold. It's a combination of different peoples' qualities of movement. We're going to perform it at the Fall Dance Concert.
This is the 1st term we've had males in Dance Company. It's been nice to be able to use males in my choreography.
I hope to keep dancing. In college I want to double major in English and dance, and minor in Chemistry.
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I don't have any special preference for math but I'm good at it. I enjoy class. I have a lot of friends in this class.
Mr. Greene is really quiet, but our class isn't. It's always a party.
In middle school we had a big textbook and a teacher who would stand in front of the class and tell us what to do. I like math at Exeter a lot more. You're given a huge book of problem sets. You need to get through about 20 pages in a term. You have about 8 problems a night. It's very manageable. The fact that they're all word problems helps you learn whatever skill you need.
Through your own discovery you can figure out the best way of doing a problem, and the best method for you. It's very interesting when people say, "I did it like this." All methods work. Some work better for other people.
I'm not very visual, but some of the other kids are. It's a very personal fit. The ways the methods come together helps math make sense.
We always start with a problem at the beginning. I'm working with my friend Okunlola at the board.
We go through our homework problems pretty quickly. There's always time to sit and go over problems for the next night.
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I'm at the Merrill table in Wetherell Dining Hall. It's nice and long. It's great. Whenever you go, there's going to be people from Merrill there. Not all the dorms have a special table, but many do.
Dinner is a nice chance to sit down and talk to friends. We don't have a lot of free time in our schedules. There are definitely days when lunch or dinner can only be 10 minutes because you have to do work.
And some days I can sit with friends for 2 hours doing absolutely nothing. The dining hall is a nice place to just sit, especially in winter when they have hot chocolate.
We love the waffle maker. We recently discovered that you can put chocolate chips into Belgian waffles. We made waffles for a good 2 hours because we kept messing them up.
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I started on PEAN prep spring as a layout associate. I really enjoyed it because I like being able to put memories together.
We don't take the pictures but we combine them in ways that my friends will remember 50 years from now.
Now I'm the layout editor. I'm applying to be editor-in-chief for the spring.
A lot of people in my dorm do PEAN. It's a bonding event for us. We really enjoy it.
Everyone should work for PEAN. Many others work for The Exonian.