Coming to this school has given me a lot of leadership opportunities, and a better passion for school and learning. I think people are drawn to NMH who want to be here and want to learn.
Ella, Class of 2023
Rowing has been a large part of Ella’s life in recent years – indeed, in the summer 2022, the NMH senior was part of a crew that won a gold medal in the World Rowing Under-19 Championships in Italy, setting a world record in the process.
Ella, who is from South Orange, New Jersey, didn’t even start rowing until her first year of high school. It was at NMH, where she transferred for 10th grade, that she took off, thanks to supportive coaching and lots of opportunities to practice. Before, “because I was going to a day school and commuting, I only ever had time for school and sports,” she says. At NMH, “because I’m here all the time, even on weekends, I have more time to do other things.”
Those other things include Circle of Sisters, an affinity group for girls of color; the Black Student Union; the film club; and the fiber arts club. (“Right now,” she says, “I’m making a sweater!”) Though she had hobbies before coming to NMH, Ella says, “I do a lot more here because I have more exposure to different things. I’m really interested in creative stuff like crafts, art, and sewing.” Along the way, she’s learned important time-management skills, as she balances her classes, rowing, and other activities.
Ella hopes to continue rowing in college, where she’s thinking about studying art or history. Whatever path she chooses, she feels well prepared, thanks to NMH and its College Model Academic Program, or CMAP, which allows students to take a deeper dive academically. Her time at NMH has also helped her develop self sufficiency, she adds. “I feel confident now that going to college, I can deal with things myself and deal with problems when they come up.”
Another thing she appreciates about NMH: “workjob,” the requirement that every student participate in the daily running of the school through four hours a week of work, from baking cookies in the dining hall kitchen to giving campus tours to prospective students to doing chores on the NMH farm. At first, she says, she wasn’t sure what to expect from workjob (a tradition that dates back to the school’s earliest days), but she came to see it as a “way for people to experience things they’ve never experienced before.”
Ella’s senior year activities include serving as a Resident Leader, supporting other students in the dorm. “Coming to this school has given me a lot of leadership opportunities, and a better passion for school and learning,” she says. “I think people are drawn to NMH who want to be here and want to learn. I like being in a class where [other students are] interested.”
She credits faculty for a lot of that. “I’m sure most schools have good teachers, but teachers here care about your success,” Ella says. “You have to learn to advocate for yourself, and that feels easier here. I’m really grateful to come to this school.”
Ella is a world-class rower, but at NMH, she’s able to pursue a range of other passions, too, from film to fiber arts to Circle of Sisters, an affinity group for girls of color.