The Boys Speak
The best way to learn about the Blue Ridge experience is to hear it from the boys themselves. Each boy who attends Blue Ridge School has a personal and unique story to tell of how their journey is helping them reach their goals, prepare them for college, enrich their lives, and make their parents proud. Here are just a few:
“I grew up in Chicago with limited access to the outdoors and wide-open spaces. The suburbs of Chicago were sort of confining. Blue Ridge was an opportunity to do much more than I could at home. My middle school years, when I went to public school, I didn’t really have much help. There was no personal connection. Here you can learn anything. In fact, beyond the classroom, I learned to camp, compete on a mountain bike, and head to the mountains to hike further than I had ever gone before. I discovered a love of chemistry and physics. And that has played a part in my reaching further and taking on more responsibilities. Here, class keeps going across campus even after the bell. For example, the dean of students teaches one of my classes and is also my mountain bike coach. Last week a teacher asked us if we wanted to cycle a hundred miles from Richmond to Jamestown and back – you don’t get the opportunity to do that every day. I feel like the sky’s the limit.”
Update: Spencer graduated in 2017 and is attending the University of Nebraska.
“I came to Blue Ridge School with plenty of questions. Could I do this? Was this right for me? Would I fit in? All the questions were answered pretty quickly, I think. I used to be shy, but the accepting atmosphere made it possible to be outgoing. I guess I discovered that about myself. I knew academics came first here, but I truly appreciated that there is so much more to it. And who knew that Biology would be my favorite class? It’s also kind of funny how in touch with nature I’ve become. Last year I took an Outdoor Living Skills class and spent a solo camping night in the forest. I never thought I would be able to do that. I was surprised I made it through the night – that I didn’t run back to the dorms. This taught me that I’m growing into an adult.”
Update: Jahill graduated in 2017 and is now attending Hampton University.
“When I arrived at Blue Ridge, the team was really welcoming and their motivation inspired me. They took me in, taught me plays, and the leaders actually care about the betterment of the entire team.
Even so, the first few months were hard. I kept reminding myself that this was my decision and I was here to learn and improve. It really helped when the entire school celebrated a Hindu festival of lights soon after I arrived. That surprised me because I was the only Indian here. People respect that I’m serious about my mindfulness practice and meditation. My family and friends back home noticed a change in me when I went back for spring break. Before Blue Ridge, I was very dependent on my parents. Now they say that I’m much more independent and physically stronger, too.”
Update: Dhruv graduated in 2019 and is now attending Haverford College in Pennsylvania.
“Blue Ridge has definitely made me a more well-rounded student. Being a scholar has always been a goal of mine, but Blue Ridge has also allowed me to participate in activities I most likely would never have had the opportunity to partake in. This includes playing a supporting role in a school musical, being a member of the football team, and recording and producing music in the tech lab. I had never been in any sort of art performance before my arrival at Blue Ridge. I’ve always had a “why-not” mentality. But, there were no opportunities like that in my hometown of Atlanta. I was attending a public school with a thousand kids, which isn’t as personal, you know? Blue Ridge is a small school, so everyone has a bond and it’s like family. Here, you are encouraged to test yourself and you trust the guys.”
Update: Franck made school history when his original musical, “Decatur 404” was performed on the DeAngelis Stage. A 2018 graduate, he is currently studying at Harvard University.