The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

July 15, 1994

-- Opinion --

Miss Porter's lacks feel of 'real' high school

By Jill R. Synnott

Half asleep and still in her PJs, Kristin Carlson walks from her dorm room downstairs to her English class for first period. She begins another day at Miss Porter's School in Farmington.

Most well known as a "school for girls," Miss Porter's holds true to its strong reputation for tradition, education and Jackie Kennedy. And yet, MPS also struggles to fight off its even more well-know reputation as being "a finishing school for rich snobs."

Upholding tradition plays an important role at Miss Porter's, yet more because of its faculty, administration and alumni than from actual students.

The true community of MPS is a world academics. The students at Miss Porter's are truly prepared for college.

Classes range in size from 8 to 12 girls, so interaction between students and teachers is unavoidable. Most teachers live on or in walking distance from campus, and students are encouraged to visit and call teachers at home.

Friendships are not only created between the girls who live there, but sometimes even more so between the students and teachers.

Girls come to Miss Porter's from all over the world.

Leaving home, wherever it may be, as a freshman at the age of 13 can be a difficult and life-changing experience. But Miss Porter's tries hard to create a homelike community.

It is not always easy being surrounded by 200 teenage girls 24 hours a day. There are cliques and fights, and even economic divisions of classes.

True, many students are on financial aid, yet money seems to play an important role in many of these girls' lives.

But, still, there is something missing at Miss Porter's, besides the guys.

There are no lockers, ringing bells, or after school detentions. There's a lack of a sense of school spirit. There are no football games or proms. A true sense of "high school" is missing.

A real high school can be found in almost every town. But most public high schools cannot afford such impressive speakers as Larry Kramer, Wally Lamb or Oprah Winfrey, who will have spoken at Miss Porter's by end of this year.

Many high schools cannot hand students such opportunities.

Although students from Terryville High School or Bristol Eastern High School do not come from 50 states and five countries, varying interests, financial backgrounds, ethnic heritages and more make the hall of such public high schools diverse.


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