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Julie Lucas ’97
Chief Advancement Officer

Julie (’97) joined Darlington's Advancement Office in 2007 and was named chief advancement officer in 2016. As such, she oversees development, alumni relations and admissions. Previously, she has served as director of development, director of giving programs and campaign director for Darlington's Second Century Campaign. Julie holds a B.A. in Communication from Loyola University New Orleans. She and her husband, Sam (’97 LD '13), have two children, Wilson ('28) and Hudson.



Prospective Boarding Parent FAQ #4: 'Isn't Boarding School for Kids Who Misbehave & Need More Structure?'

6/15/2017 10:33:00 AM, 468 views

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The fourth question I will tackle in my 10-part Prospective Boarding School Parent FAQ blog series reflects a common misconception about boarding schools.

"Isn't boarding school for kids who misbehave and need more structure?" 

I can tell you from my own experience as a boarding student at Darlington and from my time working here for the past decade that is definitely not the case. Sure, the boarding program provides a certain amount of structure in order to best support our students; however, structure and discipline are not the motivator. 

The students we want at Darlington are those who want to be here because they are looking for more. They want to be part of a community like ours where they can grow their confidence and become part of something bigger than themselves.

We've found that parents who make the decision to “go the boarding route” do so out of immense love and care for their child’s experiences both now and in the future. They wish to give their child new opportunities and relationships that would not be possible otherwise. They wish for their child to have more choices and opportunities to make their mark on the world. 

And, often times, it is the student who has approached his or her parents with a desire to pursue boarding school! 

Below, six mothers of current or recently graduated boarding students debunk this common misconception:

"Boarding school provides new opportunities for many types of students. Some parents that have not considered boarding school may not realize that most families choose boarding schools for academic rigor, exposure to the arts and extracurricular activities, and for building their child's independence. Our son has never had a discipline referral in his life. In fact, since his time at Darlington, he has seen fewer incidents of misbehavior in his fellow students than he did in elementary or middle school. Some well-behaved students thrive in structure. Other well-behaved students crave flexibility. Darlington does a great job providing both based on the needs of the individual student." - Pam Doig of Gainesville, Ga., mother of Ben ('19) 
 
"This is a stereotype that seems to persist. Boarding school is for kids who crave more than their local schools can give them. If our daughter misbehaved, we wouldn't trust her to be far from us. It is because we do trust her and she doesn't misbehave that we feel so comfortable with her being away from us. Also, Darlington doesn’t WANT kids that misbehave. Darlington is community that values honor, integrity, and selflessness; they want students who will make the most of their opportunity and become lifelong learners and leaders." - Merritt Fields of Cordele, Ga., mother of Aisling ('18)
 
"That is a misconception that many people have. There are specific boarding schools for children who misbehave. This is a conducive environment where kids thrive with adult supervision. They learn to live with other students as well as adults. Their teachers are very well trained and really have a love for teaching. The classes are smaller hence more interaction between the teachers and students. Teaching is more research-based than instructional so the students grasp the concept better. Statistics show that people who attend boarding schools earn more advanced degrees than others." - Sheila Ebri of Brunswick, Ga., mother of Bernadette ('17)
 
"When looking at high schools for your child, you must do your research. There are several types of boarding school choices (college preparatory, therapeutic, religious, wilderness, military, etc.) Darlington is a college-preparatory program. Your child will attend school with classmates who all want and will go to college. Darlington has 100% high school graduation rate." - Elizabeth Bou of Marietta, Ga., mother of Madelyn ('18)
 
"I suppose 30 or 40 years ago this might have been true, but these days we have a better understanding of children and what makes them “tick.” For example, 30 years ago a child who misbehaved and was unruly might have well been been sent to a boarding school or military academy to get 'sorted out.' These days, that same child might well have a learning issue such as ADD or ADHD or even dyslexia, which keeps him or her from focusing. There are many resources available to help teach these children, and most boarding schools are well equipped to deal with these issues if they come up. Now a child that has other behavioral issues that are more serious realistically shouldn’t be in a 'normal' boarding environment as the student might well disrupt the balance of the institution. As for learning to be more structured, most children learn this naturally while at Darlington as they are responsible for managing their own studies, after-school activities and community service within an allotted amount of time." - Paula Bacardi of Nassau, Bahamas, mother of Alex ('18) and Ted ('19)
 
"This is a misconception from generations ago. Boarding and prep schools are there to give your child the opportunity to be well prepared for college. The code of conduct is taken very seriously at Darlington." - Danielle Wheeler of Fayetteville, N.C., mother of Griffin ('17) and Smith ('19)

For more information about Darlington School's boarding program, feel free to contact me anytime or you can also request a campus visit by clicking here.



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