Chinquapin is often described as a community or a family. We are gathered together for a common purpose and everyone has a role (usually multiple ones!) to play in the process, which fits the definition of “community.” When staff envisions our community we often see ourselves as the glue that holds this place together. I think an argument could be made, however, that it is the students who forge the strongest bonds.
When one of our senior students encountered a family emergency, it was his classmates who were first to take up a donation to help out. It is no small feat that the faculty managed to raise $1500 for the family, but we weren’t the first responders. The students were. It is his classmates who regularly write cards and share their notes to keep the student connected to the school. They are just as much of a support network as we are.
A group of high school students recently noticed that a classmate needed shoes and asked a teacher if they could help. This same group made sure that classmate had one of the loudest performances of “Happy Birthday” I have ever heard. It brought me to tears that they knew and understood that this student needed that. An 8th grade student told me that she was the voice of her class. Her classmates will confide in her, and she relays the concerns. She wants to be a role model and guide for younger students. I could go on, because there are countless examples of how much stronger the community is because of our students.
When asked about the benefits of boarding, many of our girls will tell you that — after the extra sleep — they most like being able to study and bond with their peers. Our students are awesome, and they recognize this in each other. They like and/or respect their classmates. Visitors to our campus frequently remark on how happy our students appear. It’s not fake, and it’s not a front. They are genuinely thrilled to be here with us and with each other. And that is what makes us a great community!