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An Invitation to Explore Our School

An Invitation to Explore Our School
Gerard Gonnella

I’m Gerard Gonnella, Director of Admission and Financial Aid. I’m also a proud alumnus and current parent of two students here. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today and I hope to have the opportunity to meet you in person on campus if we have not already become acquainted.  We just hosted our in-person Admission Information Session last Saturday and judging by the sizable crowd, the interest in providing your child with a better education with more opportunities couldn’t be clearer. One could easily feel the excitement in the air that morning. Colleagues, Student Ambassadors and Parent Ambassadors were truly excited to share their stories and what they love about the school to prospective families. 

Some of the things I love most about this dynamic community are the many opportunities we provide our students, whether learning in the classroom, competing on our turf fields and courts, performing in our gorgeous performing arts center or traveling to countries to continue our understanding of cultures. Two students performed last Saturday, each with their own unique performance that again echoes what we are doing here. We provide our students the self-confidence, support and empowerment to stand before a crowd of over two hundred strangers and perform flawlessly. 

The Wardlaw+Hartridge School is an independent school, coed PreK3 – Grade 12, with a global student population of 465. W+H is a place where young minds come alive. We do this through our own crafted curriculum. Each of our divisions provides a unique approach to educating the child. For example, our Lower School students benefit from a responsive classroom approach, project-based learning and Orton-Gillingham reading curriculum; our mission skills focus and house system encourages all grades in Middle School to mix and get to know one another better, thereby strengthening social connections; and in the Upper School, our Global Scholars Program and one-of-a-kind fruit fly DNA research lab allows students a true laboratory experience. 

Just coming for a tour of campus, one will walk away with a good understanding of our community and how we are producing and cultivating Pioneering Thinkers, the leaders of tomorrow. I urge you to do your own deep dive on our website where you can find, in detail, specifics on our well-developed programs and further explanation on the curriculum we provide.  You can learn about our incredible and talented faculty and our world traveling students. However, nothing compares to an in-person visit. Yes, we have 100% college placement to top schools with an impressive year over year college matriculation list. W+H also offers 20 AP classes and a second to none, top of the line, fine and performing arts program, but there is much more to our program that statistics cannot capture.  

Sadly, the news today regarding public schools being closed during the height of the pandemic is horrifying regarding reading and math score results. W+H was fortunate to have implemented well thought-out and carefully executed COVID-19 protocols that allowed our students after an initial remote response to return to in-person learning ensuring that they would not fall behind in their education.  At last Saturday’s in-person Admission Information Session, several prospective parents shared with me what they were looking for in the next school for their child. 

•          Provide an education that will challenge your child

•          Help their child develop and/or maintain a love of learning

•          How our small class sizes (avg. class size 14) allow us work directly with their child 

•          Help their child develop a strong ethical and moral character

•          Help their child with emotional and social development

•          Help expose and place their child at a superior college 

•          Provide a strong athletic program that develops not only skills but also leadership training opportunities

Today, now more than ever, a consistent approach to learning in a highly focused atmosphere coupled with a strong sense of community will help your child grow in so many ways. History and memories are the best assets of an independent school education. The life-long learning and deep-rooted friendships make the difference. The commitment to excellence and the personalized approach to each child is quite simply the delta – the value added. In a time when everyone is so keenly fixed on ROI there is only one safe bet…placing your child in a program like W+H will help not only prepare them for university, but for life. 

Again, I hope I have the pleasure of meeting you on an upcoming Virtual Admission Information Session (VAIS) or in-person by scheduling your personal tour with the Admission Office. The Admission Team is standing by and ready to assist you throughout the admission process. To learn more, please visit our website. Explore the possibilities and learn about the opportunities. 

We are a school that truly lives its vision and mission statements daily. Growth is what matters, as we continue providing students the intellectual challenge along with social, emotional, personal and developmental growth. 

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