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Kent Place Upper School: The Real Experience

By: Ava Guarino and Sahana Kapoor

Have you ever wondered how a Kent Place Upper School experience differs from a “normal” high school experience seen through movies, TV shows, books, etc.?

We conducted interviews with people from each Upper School grade level to gain an understanding of their Kent Place Upper School experience so far. In this article, you will read a series of interviews accompanied by a ninth, tenth, 11th, and 12th-grader describing the ways in which they view their personal experiences with Kent Place Upper School.

How do you feel your ninth grade, sophomore, junior, or senior year (depending on what grade the interviewee was in) has compared to what you’ve thought it would be like?

We received an array of positive responses to this question, including one from Emily M. ‘25, a first year Kent Place student, stating, “I feel like I’ve made a lot of friends, and I was going into Kent Place kind of nervous to make friends.” Emily is also impressed by the support she has received from her teachers and peers, and showed gratefulness towards the warm welcomes she has received from her grade, making her ninth grade experience extremely positive so far.

Angelica N. ‘24, a fifth year Kent Place student, expressed, “So far [this year] is living up to my expectations. I had the idea that sophomore year obviously was a bit harder than [ninth grade] but still manageable.” Angelica also discussed the current situation with COVID, and how she has gotten used to a variety of protocols and changes: “Especially with COVID and everything, I feel like I’m adapting well to my situation, and I am able to manage my workload pretty well.”

Junior, Tara G., revealed her feelings toward the heavily perceived rigorous junior year: “It’s kind of what I expected, I thought it would be really hard because of what I’ve heard from other classes.” Tara also expressed the things she had heard about the annual CHP (Cumulative Humanities Project) for the junior class: “Going into junior year, I heard a lot about the CHP being super difficult.” Although junior year has been living up to its expectations for Tara, she felt a great amount of support from her teachers and peers, especially when prepping for the CHP: “The prep for the CHP has been good because the teachers are very supportive and there is a lot of time to meet with them.”

Finally, senior Anyra K. touched on how her senior year has looked different due to COVID: “I think it's definitely been much more different than what I thought it would be like given many of the COVID changes. I know we've been lucky to return to some normalcy especially with morning meetings in the great room, but there are still restrictions that have led to [senior year] looking different than how it normally is.” Additionally, Anyra communicated her excitement towards big senior traditions and how she has begun to look past the negative effects of COVID. “I’m really looking forward to the end of [senior year] with graduation and prom returning to normal”.

How do you feel Kent Place Upper School differs from a “normal” high school experience from what you've heard from others who don’t go to KPS? Do you feel like you’ve missed out on anything?

Emily M. ‘25 stated how she felt that “Kent Place can sometimes be a bit more serious than other schools, academic-wise”, but she doesn’t feel she’s really “missed out” on anything, as she discussed how the advanced academics at KPS would help her become smarter and help in the future as a whole.

Angelica N. ‘24, talked about how she didn’t necessarily believe she has missed out on anything, but there are some generic high school experiences such as “football games and cheerleading”, but in terms of her academic education and social experiences, she doesn’t feel like she’s missed out on anything “only because Kent Place does allow us to branch out and try new things and clubs, and be able to create these new experiences on our own.”

Tara G. ‘23, discussed how she believed Kent Place is “really specialized to the person in terms of the classes you get to take and the teacher to student ratio. Also, spaces like the Writing Center and Math Lab add to this specialized environment where students are able to thrive and build relationships with the people around them.” She emphasized how her friends from public school always talk about how it's hard to even get a word in and have their opinion heard. Kent Place being a school for girls really creates a comfortable environment for everyone that goes here. “When you enter a classroom, no one's scared of getting the answer wrong, or getting teased, or anything like that. Kent Place really empowers us to be our best selves.”

Senior, Anyra K. revealed how she found one large difference between Kent Place Upper School and other high schools is that of the culture and environment, because there are not a lot of other schools that are similar to Kent Place’s work ethic and honor code, which are all things that really set Kent Place apart from other schools. “This defines Kent Place as a school that is motivated by student’s passions,” Anyra stated.

Another aspect that really differentiates KPS from other high schools is the relationship that students have with their teachers. “Something I always hear from my friends outside of Kent Place are that they never get to formulate that close bond with their mentors, whereas at Kent Place, I think every student has one or two teachers who they really are able to create a bond with and can reach out to in a given situation. This really speaks to the nature of the teachers and displays their care for their students beyond just teaching them.”

If you could say one thing to your future senior self (we asked ninth and tenth-graders), what would you want to say, or what do you hope that you have accomplished? To your past self (asked 11th and 12th-graders)?

Ninth-grader Emily M. talked about how she mainly wanted to work on her time management skills and finally figured out a good and effective way to manage everything she has going on without being stressed. “I really hope to find a balance in my time when I’m a senior,” she stated.

Angelica N. ‘24 discussed how the only thing she hoped to have accomplished is “figuring out what I want to do in life”, because she felt on the fence with a lot of things because of the vast amount of options and paths to go in life.

Junior, Tara G., stated a very important phrase: “Don’t wear that outfit”. Aside from her humorous response, Tara shared some of her feelings during ninth grade and wanted to reassure her ninth grade self that she was doing the best she could at that moment in time. “I would say, ‘You’re okay, calm down, just breathe!’”

Lastly, Anyra Kapoor ‘22 stated, “I would say to my [ninth grade] self to enjoy the year, try out more clubs and organizations, and try not to feel pressured to join certain things because they may look good on a college application.” Anyra’s final statement stuck with us, as she voiced to “Find what you love—if I hadn't tried certain things, I probably wouldn't have ended up where I am today!”


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