Elevating Academics Campaign

The Value of Good Foundations

Andrew Herring
The recent single-digit temperatures and mix of sleet and snow signal that the crisp days of fall are gone.  Despite the best efforts of our athletic teams to extend the fall season, we’ve traded soccer cleats and football helmets for downhill skis and hockey sticks. We’ve even transitioned the hustle of daily life to our winter schedule in an effort to improve student sleep habits and take full advantage of wintry bluebird days. At a time when the surrounding environment is preparing for a period of dormancy, Holderness School is meeting this change in season with a smile and sense of energy -- this community blooms in winter.
It’s no surprise, then, that the new math and science building would begin to take shape at this time. After nearly six months of site work -- a second entrance, early phases of a perimeter road, slope stabilization, and even some late-summer controlled explosions -- we can now see the building come to life.

We’ve poured more than one million pounds of foundation to literally cement our commitment to teaching and learning at Holderness School.  This academic facility is a testament to how we believe learning should be: an experience bound by innovation, collaboration, and flexibility.  The 35,000-square-foot space will nearly double our academic footprint, supporting Holderness School’s ability to deliver an unparalleled education.

And while a physical foundation takes form, we must remind ourselves that Holderness School has been building foundations since 1879.  As our mission statement calls us to foster equally in each student the resources of the mind, body, and spirit, we seek to build foundations that will last a lifetime. 

The entirety of the Holderness experience is foundational. We invest time and energy into the Job Program and Leadership Program because we know that fairness, initiative, dependability, and empathy are characteristics needed in a world growing more polarized by the day. We look each other in the eye and greet each other on the path because we believe in the importance of creating a caring community. We have programs like Out Back, Artward Bound, and Project Outreach because we believe in healthy risk-taking, developing resilience, and living outside of our comfort zone. We maintain our unique multiple sport athletic philosophy because we believe in balancing competitive excellence with an understanding of physical and emotional well-being. We offer breadth and depth in our academic program because we believe that every student’s learning journey is unique. 

Take Senior Thesis, for example.  This culminating intellectual program is the cornerstone of Holderness learning. Just this past week, I had the opportunity to join a Senior Thesis class for their Research Review, a brief oral defense of their preliminary Senior Thesis research. Topics ranged from the meaning of dreams and perspectives on teen pregnancy to shifting concussion protocols and the future of cryptocurrency.  Some seniors were nervous, some spoke a little too fast or were a little too fidgety, but they were universally engaged and passionate about their topic. They had spent the last ten weeks asking questions, digging into research, and reaching out to experts. Although we don’t expect our students to be experts in their particular topic, we do expect them to develop the skills of a researcher, interviewer, and presenter.  We expect them to be curious, excited, and active in their learning. We expect them to grow beyond this experience. 

This new academic facility is projected to be completed in Winter 2021.  A winter opening might strike you as odd, but, at Holderness, it’s only natural that the new academic heart of campus will begin to beat during such a season of joy and vitality. And at that grand opening, people will no doubt be in awe over the thoughtfully planned learning spaces or the expansive views of Stinson Mountain. They should; we spent years planning out every detail of the space. But, I would hope, just for a moment, that they look to the foundation and honor the humble concrete walls that support this building. Just like the foundation of our academic facility, we are committed to helping our students build strong and resilient foundations. The Holderness experience affords the time and space to set such a deep and broad foundation.  We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know that a foundation forged by Proctor Day bonfires, hardened by epic winters, and set in the classrooms, mountains, and lakes of New Hampshire supports a life well lived. 

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List of 3 news stories.

  • Courageous Conversations: Author, Priest leads Anti-Racism Chapel for MLK Observance.

    Greg Kwasnik
    Changing the status quo can be an uncomfortable task – especially if you benefit from it. That was the message to students from the Rev. Peter Jarrett-Schell, the school’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day speaker and the white author of Seeing My Skin, a personal examination of the role of whiteness in his own life.
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  • Second Quarter Honor Roll

    The Honor Roll recognizes and commends outstanding achievement and effort in the academic program. Holderness School recognizes that each student's growth and progress is complex. Quarterly comments written by faculty better reflect the unique path traveled by each student, and the Honor Roll and Effort Honor Roll are simplified but significant markers of the engagement of our students in the most recent marking interval.
    Read More
  • Holderness School Receives $6M Gift for Snow Sports, Athletics

    Andy Herring
    Affirming Holderness School’s position as the premier snow sports school in the country and committing to the school’s multi-sport athletic philosophy, the New Hampshire boarding school recently received a transformational $6 million gift.  Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, Holderness School is able to jumpstart fundraising initiatives that will better support world-class outdoor athletic facilities and impact every athletic team and snow sports discipline.
    Read More

Holderness School
33 Chapel Lane, Holderness, NH 03245
mail P.O Box 1879 Plymouth, NH 03264-1879
phone (603) 536-1257