I can’t tell you what staying in public school would have been like for me. All of my friends growing up were in public school and they all went on to go to college and lead productive, successful lives. But after a difficult freshman year, my parents thought I would benefit from a smaller setting and put me through the admission process to private school. In the DC area, private school is a huge thing because most of the public schools in the District are pretty terrible. (I was across the border in a rich suburb of Maryland with some of the best public schools in the nation.) And that’s how I found myself attending Sidwell Friends School – the same year that Chelsea Clinton started there. It’s a school known for its Presidential kids (and kids from senators, congressmen, and other DC elites), a school known for its Quakerism, and one of the few private schools in the DC area that is co-ed.
Like any place, Sidwell had its problems. And although I did benefit greatly from my education there, I don’t think I benefited from the school in the way my parents’ expected. But by the time I graduated in 1995, there were things I took with me that only Sidwell could have provided. And they ended up happening in the same year.
The first was falling in love with Luke Jensen the summer before Senior year. The second was taking Neal Tonken’s “Fall and the Fallen” Senior English class that fall.