News from Cardigan

Focus on Middle School Boys: A Parents Perspective
Date: 08/27/2018

By Barbara and Frank O’Connell P’03

The O’Connell familyThe thought of sending one of our kids to boarding school was a pretty foreign concept. But when we found ourselves moving to our home in Vermont, we felt the need to focus on finding a strong educational program for our boys. 

Our older son, Sean, enrolled in a boarding school for ninth grade, and then we visited a few junior boarding schools for boys for Mack, which had been recommended by an educational consultant. Despite saying that he would never consider going away to school, Mack toured Cardigan, had lunch in the old dining hall, and suddenly felt like it could be a good place for him. 

Mack was accepted as a seventh grader and we were thrilled. On the first day, after he was settled in, his roommate said to him, “Well, let’s go and see what this place is all about,” and off they went. Mack never looked back, took advantage of the full Cardigan experience...and thrived. 

He played three varsity sports, served as a Green Key Guide, was named to the Junior National Honor Society, was voted as School Leader, and made lifelong friends. Mack was invited to give the commencement address to the Class of 2011, and he continues to return to Cardigan and participate in various programs. We saw and still see the values Mack learned at Cardigan and relied on during his entire educational experience. We witnessed how Cardigan changed his life. 

I, Barbara, was asked to join the Board of Trustees in Mack’s last year. In the 14 years I have had the honor to serve, tremendous progress has been made in the academic programs, facilities, and leadership—confirming Cardigan’s reputation as a premier boys junior boarding school. 

Cardigan does so well focusing (24/7) on middle school boys that enrolling Mack in the School was the best investment we ever made. We happily continue to support the School, its programs, and the faculty and staff who impact these boys’ lives in such important way. The experience made a difference in Mack’s life, our lives, and all the Cardigan boys we know today. 

This article originally appeared in the Cardigan Chronicle, published May 2018.
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