My great hope for this art history class is twofold. One, that my students fall in love with one thing—and it doesn’t have to be more than that. But that one thing can be sustaining. The other thing that I really hope is that they take their interest and their passion and their knowledge back to somebody. The thing that I love most is knowing that a kid from art history took their younger sibling or their boyfriend or girlfriend to a museum, or went with their parents traveling and had something to say. I am much more interested in that sort of singular excited experience than I am in someone who can spit out an index card full of information about any given work.
—Betsy VanOot, Visual Arts Faculty
Teachers here are not their subjects. I am an English teacher, but I don’t think I’m defined solely as an English teacher. We’re able to move beyond the classroom door, and we take that responsibility very seriously—that we are teaching no matter where we are. My classroom here is not just my classroom. My classroom is the hallway. It’s the path. It’s sitting in the castle having lunch. It’s out on the fields. It’s sitting in assembly. It’s watching the musical performed. And in all of those circumstances, we’re trying to help a student discover who he or she might be.
—Jess Brennan, English Faculty
When we talk about service with kids, we try to get them to recognize their strengths—what they want to share with people, what they feel they can bring to the table. The community service board has almost outgrown its purpose, because service is happening everywhere. It’s happening in the academic world as classes are getting involved. The modern language department is trying to figure out how students can use their language skills to help people. The art department has done a lot of different things with ceramics. A commitment to service has permeated the school.
—Linda Hurley, Community Service Coordinator
The cello means so much to me, because it’s my way of expression. Whatever I’m feeling, happy or sad, I always turn to the cello to express that. It’s important to me here at Nobles, because I’ve created such strong bonds with my orchestra friends and with people that I’ve made music with. Art does that; it brings people together. And that’s what it’s done for me. There’s a very strong community of musicians at Nobles. A lot of us might have come from competing orchestras, but at Nobles, we join together to create beautiful music.
—Chad Polk ’17
I love just being a part of the team. With all the older players, it’s like being with older brothers. We’re all there together on the field working for one goal. Of course, you want to be successful. But, it’s more important to have character when you’re successful in athletics. All the coaches and the players really take that to heart and make a place where it’s safe for all the players to be themselves. Everybody’s just doing honest, hard work, and through that, you come together.
—Uche Ndukwe ’18
I’ve led more than 30 Nobles trips to various places around the globe, and it’s not unusual for a student to come back from a trip and make a rather life-changing decision because of it. Sometimes it’s as dramatic as the kid who, after graduating from Swarthmore, decided to join the Peace Corps, or another kid who got into Princeton, but decided to take a year off to do service work in Senegal. Sometimes the decisions are more subtle. In the end, travel changes everyone. I like to think it’s still changing me.
—Mark Sheeran, Modern Languages Faculty
My college counselors already knew me and understood my family situation, and that made the conversations about colleges very easy and very natural. Talking about college, you can really start to feel insecure and inadequate, but they always looked at me as a person—not just a set of stats—and made me feel like I stood a chance wherever I was going to apply. When helping me with my college essay, they were careful, knowing that it was my story and it was close to my heart. They knew how to sculpt it and make it better without taking my voice out of it.
—Neha Bhambhani ’15
Coming in, I felt overwhelmed. Everyone was so smart and hardworking and athletic and social and the community was really close, and I questioned how I would ever fit in. Leaving was a completely different story. I was so sad to leave but also ready; I had really grown as a person and an individual. Nobles is unique hard work. It teaches you how to be part of a bigger community, which is not something you always get elsewhere. It teaches you the ability to work hard, to bang your head against a wall writing a paper or solving a problem set for hours and hours. I credit a lot of the trajectory of my success to what I learned at Nobles.
—Max Mankin ’07