St. Albans School (STA) is an independent college preparatory day and boarding school for boys in grades 4â"12, located in Washington, D.C. The school is named after Saint Alban, traditionally regarded as the first British martyr. Within the St. Albans community, the school is commonly referred to as "S-T-A." It enrolls approximately 545 day students from grades 4 through 12, approximately 30 boarding students from grades 9 through 12, and is affiliated with the National Cathedral School for Girls (NCS) and the co-ed Beauvoir School â" The National Cathedral Elementary School for PreKindergarten-3 students, all of which are located on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral on Mount St. Alban in Washington. St. Albans, along with its affiliated schools on the Cathedral Close and the Washington National Cathedral, are members of the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation.
The school was founded in 1909, with $300,000 in funding bequeathed by Harriet Lane Johnston, niece of President James Buchanan. Initially, it was a school for boy choristers to the Washington National Cathedral, a program that the school continues today.
The school mascot is the bulldog, a symbol adopted under the schoolâs fourth headmaster, Canon Charles S. Martin, because of Martinâs fondness for his pet bulldogs. The St. Albans motto, "Pro Ecclesia et Pro Patria," translates to "For Church and Country." St. Albans requires all students to attend Chapel twice a week in The Little Sanctuary. The school seeks to develop in its students a sense of moral responsibility through Chapel, its Honor Code, and a co-curricular social service program.
A 2004 article in the Wall Street Journal found that among U.S. schools, St. Albans had the 11th-highest success rate in placing graduates at 10 selective universities. In 2012, St. Albans sent 24 out of its 75 graduates, or 32%, to an Ivy league School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or Stanford, making its matriculation one of the best in the country. The class of 2013 similarly fared well, with 21 graduates attending Ivy League schools or Stanford and 2 each attending the University of Chicago and the United States Military Academy. From the 76 member class of 2014, 16 headed to the Ivy League, 2 to Stanford,1 to Duke, and 4 to the University of Chicago.
A 2015 article in "Business Insider" ranked St. Albans the smartest boarding school in America.
Almost Seventy-five percent of the faculty at the school have advanced degrees. The school also maintains one writer-in-residence, who teaches English classes while developing his or her work. (A past writer-in-residence is Curtis Sittenfeld, who worked on her best-selling novel Prep while at St. Albans.) The school's seventh headmaster is Vance Wilson, who has also recently served as the President of the International Boys School Coalition (IBSC), a world-wide organization for all-boys schools.
The school opened its new Upper School building - Marriott Hall - in 2009â"2010. The firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill LLP, designed the new building, which has been the subject of articles in numerous publications, including The Washington Post, The Architects Newspaper, Building Stone Magazine, Arch Daily, Architecture DC, Mid-Atlantic Real Estate Journal, Construction, School Planning & Management, and American Society of Civil Engineers.
Admissions and Financial Aid
The St. Albans application process begins in the fall prior to the student's intended year of attendance. In September, a family may schedule a tour and interview, both of which occur during a single visit and are a required component of the application process. In addition to the visit, a general application form, personal statement, teacher recommendations, standardized testing, and a school transcript are required for the application. Decisions become available in March.
St. Albans operates a need-blind admission policy. As a result, a student's application for financial aid has no bearing on his application for admission.
The St. Albans Skip Grant Program offers financial aid and other support to enrolled students from a diversity of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. This program was started by former St. Albans teacher Brooks Johnson and is now named after the programâs second director, former teacher, coach, and athletic director, Oliver âSkipâ Grant.
St. Albans aims to instill in its students knowledge of the arts and an aesthetic appreciation for and understanding of the world. St. Albans encourages all students to develop their unique talents through its varied academic and extracurricular offerings in the performing and visual arts.
Along with academics and social service, the athletic program at St. Albans is considered co-curricular and all students are required to participate. St. Albans competes in the Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC), a league of independent schools in the Washington, D.C. area. In addition to fielding varsity teams in fourteen sports: cross country, football, soccer, aquatics, basketball, indoor soccer, ice hockey, wrestling, track and field, lacrosse, baseball, tennis, golf, and crew, the school offers the Voyageur Outdoor Experiential Education program in which students can participate in such sports as indoor rock climbing on a climbing wall and white water kayaking. St. Albans rock climbers compete in the Washington Area Interscholastic Climbing League and kayakers no longer participate in interscholastic competition on the Great Falls rapids of the Potomac River, because the other schools decided to stop competing.
In recent years, programs that have experienced success and produced significant numbers of intercollegiate athletes include crew, cross-country, football, and lacrosse. The crew team won the Virginia State Rowing Championships in 2010 and 2011, placed second at the Stotesbury Cup Regatta in 2010 and first in 2011, and placed fourth at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America Regatta in 2010 and third in 2011; cross-country has won seven IAC banners in the last ten years, and in 2009, won the DC-MD Private Schools Championship; football has won three IAC banners in the last four years; lacrosse won the IAC in 2007. The varsity soccer team also won the IAC Championship outright in 2012 by defeating Landon in the tournament final. It was the first IAC banner for the soccer team since 2001. On May 6, 2014, the lacrosse team knocked off then-second ranked in the nation Georgetown Prep (MD) in the last athletic contest on Saterlee-Henderson Field. A construction project renovating the athletic facilities is slated to be complete in mid-2015.
Extracurriculars and Clubs
St. Albans has one official student newspaper, The Saint Albans News, founded in 1930. Students publish several books annually: the Albanian, the yearbook, Grace, a collection of chapel homilies, and Gyre, a literary magazine that includes a CD featuring music by the students and faculty. There is also one nonofficial student newspaper, The Independent.
The school also sponsors many political clubs including the decades-old Government Club which encourages debates between liberals and conservatives, Young Democrats which campaigns for candidates, and a Foreign Policy Roundtable that facilitates discussions with foreign policy experts. Academic teams such as "It's Academic," Fed Challenge, JETS, and a math team are also popular. Fundraising groups for charity are commonplace at the school, and most dances held at the school donate profits to charity.
St. Albans has an active student vestry that gives homilies in Chapel and invites guest speakers to chapel services. Each grade elects three vestry members. Form VI (Grade 12) has three vestry members in addition to the Senior Warden, a student who presides over the vestry.
The Upper School has a student council that serves on the disciplinary councils and organizes social events and the annual school Diversity Day (every year a different topic regarding diversity is addressed though speakers, discussion groups, and films). Each grade has three prefects, one of whom is the class president. There is also a Head Prefect, always a Form VI (Grade 12) student.
The School of Public Service
St. Albans established its School of Public Service ("SPS") in 2002. SPS is a residential public policy, politics, and public service program that takes place for a four-week period each summer, beginning in late June. Nearly 40 rising high school seniors are selected to participate in SPS, located at St. Albans School. SPS admits both male and female students who have already shown a great deal of interest in public service, as well as an ability to positively influence others. While in the program, students gain experiences designed to heighten not only an interest in public service but also their probability of entering into and succeeding in a career in civic leadership. SPS students are held to a high level of scholarship, using case studies (including some from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government) that are more commonly used at the graduate level.
In addition to using the case study methodâ"used for graduate study in law, business, and public policyâ"SPS students continue the dynamic learning experience outside the classroom through policy simulations, speakers, and visits and meetings with public servants from State Department Foreign Service Officers to serving Army and Marine officers. In the past several years, SPS students have (in simulation) run congressional campaigns, negotiated their way through a dangerous crisis with North Korea, taken steps to contain a flu pandemic sweeping the nation, and argued and decided Supreme Court cases on First Amendment and national security issues. In the "real" world, the SPS students have, among other things, visited the White House to talk with the White House Chief of Staff, had lunch with the Governor of Maryland, hosted a formal dinner for Ambassadors from around the world, attended screenings of "Meet the Press" and talked with host David Gregory, met with members of the U.S. Supreme Court, and chatted about fiscal policy with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
St. Albans offers a number of camps and classes in the summer designed for children of various ages and interests and fostering both intellectual and physical development. The diverse curriculum consists of core academic classes, as well as specialty courses in such fields as technology and study skills. On the athletic front, St. Albans has once again partnered with Headfirst, a provider of sports instruction and other recreational activities, and Power Through Sports Basketball to offer an impressive variety of camps to students. The school also offers before and after care, as well as a daily âcool downâ in the St. Albans indoor pool for full-day campers. Its academic classes consist of things like robotics and chemistry.
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