Alec Shea

I looked at a variety of New England preparatory schools—all the big names. When I visited Northfield Mount Hermon, I felt a dramatic shift in attitude compared to the other schools. NMH had a less stiff, more informal atmosphere. I came from a small, private middle school in Cambridge, where my eighth-grade class was about 25 students. I knew I wouldn’t get exactly that atmosphere at a much larger school, but the people I met during my first days here cemented the idea that, although NMH wasn’t the same size place as my old school, it was the same sort of place.

I have liked the vast majority of teachers I’ve had at NMH, and they’ve liked me—which is probably not something that would happen anywhere else. I think that to some degree the block schedule contributes to that, and the fact that teachers spend a lot of daily time around students. The advising system, which is pretty vigorous and intensive, allows faculty members to get well acquainted with students. I believe those bonds hold the community together.

Outside of classes, I’m on the outdoor team; we go sailing, canoeing, and mountain biking. I’m also a member of the Model United Nations. I went to a Model UN conference in Qatar last year and won a “best delegate” award. Next year I’ll be an officer of the debate team, and this year I was president of my class. We did quite a few things in Student Congress, including amending restriction policy regarding computers. We’re talking to department heads about a system where students wouldn’t have to buy new textbooks for every class every year.

I came to this community because it values your work ethic. It’s nice to be at a place where the ultimate judge of your character is the work you’ve put in, the time you’ve spent, and your dedication to a task.