Sophia '17

I grew up in New Mexico, where I went to a Waldorf School through seventh grade, and then a charter school. I wasn’t challenged. I wasn’t passionate. I sat in the back of the class and got good grades, but I didn’t love school. At Putney, I have both—the intellectual challenge and the love of learning. When I came to visit, I saw how much students supported each other. The energy of the place was amazing.

Here, teachers look for ways to challenge you, so you’re always going beyond, always moving forward. It starts with a small spark you haven’t noticed before. Then, you gain competence and confidence. It’s not about meeting a quota. It’s about going deeper.

I came here with a strong foundation in math, but spent my first year immersed in drawing and painting. The next year, I loved my English class and went on an exchange program Putney organized with a progressive school in London. I wrote poetry and worked on the literary magazine. This year, I’ve gone deeper in Physics and Astronomy.

At Putney, you are encouraged to find connections—to combine physics and poetry, or photography and chemistry. Ideas build on each other.

At Putney, you matter in a concrete way. I’m a dorm head. If I don’t do my job, someone will notice! In the fall of my junior year, I had a.m. barn work. Sometimes it was dark, muddy, rainy, but the work had to get done. I was strong enough to do it, and it was rewarding to have real responsibility.

I was a quiet person when I came to Putney, but here, I had to speak. Everyone has to speak. We collaborate—on jobs, on group projects, and in the classroom. At my old school, the teachers did the talking.

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