What Really Matters: Two Days At The Groton School
Activity on Adrants has been light the past couple days and now I will tell you why. About four miles from the posh, suburban offices of Adrants lies the spectacularly gated, storybook world of The Groton School. Entering the campus through an imposing brick and iron gateway, one is thrust into a world experienced only by a privileged few. Having lived in Groton for six years, I've passed through that gateway several times for various reasons, mostly to visit the art camp my wife runs during the Summer, but today and yesterday, I passed through them for a very special reason - to proctor Advanced Placement exams for the privileged few who will be the future leaders of our world.
The pressure to succeed for these students -and all students - can be all-consuming. In the middle of the Calculus exam one girl's calculator batteries died. I saw a look of despair and horror cross her face as she raised her hand frantically to get my attention. As I neared her desk, she was shaking and almost crying. The pressure revealed. Luckily, I had seen another student who had a set of extra batteries lying atop his desk. I walked quickly over and asked if he would let another student use his batteries. He said yes. I grabbed them and hurriedly walked the batteries back to the girl who placed them in her calculator. As she looked up and thanked me, her expression shifted dramatically to one that looked as though I had just plucked her from the deck of the Titanic the moment it went under. I guess, in a way, I did.
Sitting the "Schoolhouse" where the exams are held, I felt as though I was trespassing on the hallowed grounds of the most successful and privileged people in the world. Beneath a magnificent, exposed beam ceiling and busts of well known historical figures placed around the room's edges are embossed wooden panels listing the names of each year's graduating class from 1886 to 2003. It's quite impressive.
Say what you will about the prep school stereotypes but succeeding at a school like The Groton School can propel one into the Ivy League of colleges and into the upper echelons of our business-driven culture. Granted, a prep school education and a college degree does not define the person but it can most assuredly be instrumental in placing one in the top consideration set for a much sought after position in the cut-throat game of life. For me, it was fascinating to witness a small part of that preparation for the game.