Newman School is no fun!

Newman School is no fun!

With the high SAT scores, the superb college profile, the rigorous curriculum, and the long-standing tradition for academic excellence, Newman cannot possibly be a place of fun.

As I sit to write this, I hear John Lennon screaming out “Twist & Shout” on the senior patio. I just came back from a walk around campus and sat down to collect my thoughts.  I went to visit the 5th Grade Medieval Fair to see them all dressed up for the day, sharing what they’ve learned, and then feasting on “Mutton and Mead.” What I didn’t expect was the doughnut on a string eating contest, where kids had to put their hands behind their backs and try to eat a doughnut dangling from a string. I mean, I know this is the culmination of homecoming week, and it is Halloween, but I didn’t actually think I would stick my hand in a bag of intestines.

Earlier this morning, the lower school positioned themselves on the turf of Lupin field to watch the PK-1st graders parade in their costumes, and then the entire school gathered an hour later in the Palaestra for a pep rally filled with the sounds of our inspiring band and led by our talented cheerleaders. The magic of a PreK-12 coeducational setting overwhelmed me, and I felt so lucky to have my daughter at such a dynamic school.

After lunch, I moved to the Valmont Courtyard to watch the judging of the middle school costume competition with one of our teachers dressed as a Hubig’s Pie taking top honors. The kids were dressed with scary, fun, and wild costumes, and every single one of them was smiling. My personal favorite was the group of girls dressed by the decade. Starting with the 20’s and going up through the 1980’s, these girls proudly showcased the fashions of the last century.

Hundreds of parents are on campus today. The sun is shining brightly, and everyone is having fun! But of course, my experience is that we do not need a homecoming week to have fun. We threw a Saints celebration like no other school could, complete with the Rebirth Brass Band, Mardi Gras Indians, face painters, balloon makers, and a Pass, Punt, Kick competition. When it snowed, we gathered on the field to frolic and take advantage of that rare and magical occurrence. We are always listening to bands and eating great food. We celebrate Culturefest, and Arts Week, and dozens of other events.

But we don’t even need special events. Our students laugh and play and relax and enjoy all the time. I love to watch the upper school kids kick the soccer ball around or just hang out in the courtyard. In a world of overscheduled, high stress adolescence, our kids seemed to have the rarest of qualities: balance.

So, yes, we have the merit scholars and the world class teachers. Of course, we have all the AP classes and the national reputation. Naturally, we will wow you with intellectual curiosity and engaging discussion. But we will amaze you with the fact that we can bear down and work hard and also have a lot of fun. Thank you for this wonderful school full of smiles.

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