Kent School

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Kent School
Kent School Abbreviated Crest.png
Temperantia, Fiducia, Constantia
"'Simplicity of Life, Self-Reliance, Directness of Purpose'"
1 Macedonia Road
, Connecticut
Type Private, Boarding
Religious affiliation(s) Episcopal
Established 1906
Headmaster The Reverend Richardson W. Schell '69
Faculty 78 Teaching Faculty
Gender Coeducational
Enrollment 570
Average class size 12 students
Student to teacher ratio 7:1
Campus Township
Color(s)      Blue and
Athletics 22 Interscholastic Sports
50 Interscholastic Teams
Athletics conference Founders League
Mascot Lion
Rival Loomis Chaffee
Publication The Kent Quarterly
(Alumni Magazine)
The Cauldron
(Arts Magazine)
Newspaper The Kent News

Kent School is a private, co-educational college preparatory school in Kent, Connecticut, United States. The Reverend Frederick Herbert Sill, Order of the Holy Cross, established the school in 1906 and it retains its affiliation with the Episcopal Church of the United States.[1]

Students at Kent come from more than 40 foreign countries and nearly as many states.[2] Situated between the Appalachian Trail and the Housatonic River, the 1,200-acre (490 ha) campus currently serves 570 students, about 520 of whom board. The school was one of the first New England boarding schools to educate both young men and women in 1960.[3] Kent School Boat Club also became the first American school crew to row at British Henley Royal Regatta and compete for the Thames Challenge Cup in 1927.[4]

Kent is a member of the Founders League of New England preparatory schools which consists of, among others, Choate Rosemary Hall, Hotchkiss School, Trinity Pawling School and The Taft School.[5]

As of the 2014-2015 school year, the school has an enrollment of 570 students and a student-teacher ratio of 7:1.[6]


Born in New York City on March 10, 1874, Father Reverend Frederick Herbert Sill attended Columbia University and the General Theological Seminary. He was a monk of the Order of the Holy Cross and in 1906 he saw the need for a school where "young men with slender means could gain an education second to none." Unlike the traditional boarding schools of the day that were reserved for the wealthy American elite, Kent School would serve young men whose parents could not afford the alternative.

Father Sill led the school for the first thirty-five years of its existence. In the ensuing years, four headmasters have led Kent. Father Schell, the current Headmaster and Rector, graduated from Kent in 1969 and studied at Harvard (A.B. '73) and Yale (M.Div. '76) before returning to Kent as Chaplain. He was appointed Headmaster in 1981.[7]

Spiritual affiliation[edit]

Founded in the Episcopal tradition, as were many New England boarding schools, Kent has retained its spiritual affiliation in an era when many other institutions have relinquished theirs. Kent's diverse student body comes from a variety of religious backgrounds and secular traditions. The entire student body gathers at St. Joseph's Chapel for three weekly services, which often include a student, faculty, or guest speaker or performance.

Pioneer of co-education[edit]

Originally an all-boys school, a campus for girls opened in 1960 on Skiff Mountain with 100 girls in the third and fourth forms, making Kent one of the first of the traditional New England boarding schools to offer co-education. The girls' and boys' campuses were consolidated in 1992, resulting in the current, fully integrated co-educational campus . Currently 48% of students are female and 52% male.[2]

"Sliding scale tuition"[edit]

From the onset, Kent has been a pioneer in educating a variety of students, regardless of their social or economic status. Father Sill was committed to educating students from "all walks of life." This mission resulted in his sliding scale tuition, where families paid what Father Sill felt they could afford. Kent continues this mission today with the Parents Fund and the Financial Aid Program, with 44% of the student body receiving some form of aid. Awarding more than eight million dollars in the 2014-2015 academic year, Kent's commitment to financial aid, relative to its endowment, ranks first among its peer schools.[2]



Of the 78 teachers who compose the faculty, 63% have advanced degrees. The average length of tenure at the School is more than twelve years. Many teachers live on campus either in faculty apartments in the dorms or in faculty village, a grouping of homes on the north side of campus. The student-to-faculty ratio is 7:1.[2]


Kent offers a college-preparatory curriculum with over 160 courses, 27 of which are Advanced Placement.[2] Many courses are offered at the normal, honors, accelerated, and AP levels, giving students the opportunity to find challenging courses in whatever subject they are interested in. The average class size is twelve students.[2]

Pre-engineering program[edit]

Kent is one of a few boarding schools to offer a pre-engineering program. There are several pre-engineering classes offered, such as Structures and Manufacturing Engineering, and after school activities, such as robotics and the robotics team that competes at the FIRST Robotics Competition. During the summer, Kent offers many of its pre-engineering courses through its SEEK program. Students who complete all of the pre-engineering offerings are eligible for a pre-engineering certificate, certifying their success in the program.[8]


Kent has many proud and unique traditions that help to distinguish and characterize the school. As well, Kent still uses many of the traditional English boarding school terms, such as referring to grades as forms and calling certain student leaders prefects.[9]

Rock Day[edit]

Rock Day is a day that signifies the transition to the 6th form, or senior year, from the 5th form, or junior year. In the last few weeks of school, the rising seniors climb Skiff Mountain, located on campus, and paint a large rock, called Numeral Rock, that overlooks the Housatonic River Valley. The students paint their graduation year on the rock in their class colors and may paint each other in the process.


At the end of each academic year, the upperformers gather in St. Joseph's Chapel for Tapping. At Tapping, each Senior Council member passes on their role to the rising senior who has been elected for that same role. Each member of the Senior Council is elected by the student body and faculty and Tapping is, essentially, the formal event that announces the results.

Spirit Day[edit]

Spirit Day is Kent's fall athletic day. All athletic teams have home games that weekend and the traditional opponent on Spirit Day is Loomis Chaffee. In fact, the day was called Loomis Day until league rules limited Kent from playing Loomis in football. Because the football team does not play Loomis, it is now called Spirit Day.

Ring Ceremony[edit]

The Ring Ceremony is an event between the 5th and 6th form girls at the end of each academic year. Each 6th form girl will present a 5th form girl with their class ring.

Job program[edit]

It has been traditional for each Kent student to have a job while they are at school.This tradition dates back to the early days of the school when it was mainly self-sufficient. These are not jobs in the typical sense but are rather different duties and obligations that each student will have. Some jobs are very basic, such as washing tables after dinner or keeping a common room neat. Others are more involved and important, such as being a student tour guide or being a student computer technician. The job program is an integral part of the school's history and character even if many of the jobs are different than when they were originally created.


Kent offers 22 interscholastic sports with 50 interscholastic teams from the 3rds, Junior Varsity, and Varsity levels. More than three-quarters of the student body participate in interscholastic sports. Many of the school's athletes earn All-League or All-New England Honors and go on to compete at Division I, II, and III colleges and universities. Kent is a member of the Founders League, a competitive athletic league composed of New England prep schools.[10] Its mascot is the Lion although it once was the Fighting Episcopalian. Despite Hotchkiss School's location in the same county, Kent's rival is The Loomis Chaffee School and the two schools have a day dedicated to competing against each other, historically called Loomis Day.


Kent School Boat Club
on the banks of the Housatonic River

The Kent School Boat Club is began at Kent in 1922 with the encouragement of Father Sill. Father Sill was the coxswain of the Columbia crew which won the first ever Poughkeepsie Regatta and was very familiar with the sport.

The program developed very quickly and in the ensuing years, Kent began competing with the Yale and Harvard teams. By 1927, Kent became the first American school crew to row at the Henley Royal Regatta and compete for the Thames Challenge Cup. In 1930, Kent returned to Henley with higher hopes and aspirations after gaining some experience from the 1927 trip. Despite some early successes, Kent lost a close race to Worcester College and their chances at winning the cup.

Kent returned to compete for the Thames Challenge Cup in 1933 with the support of President Franklin D. Roosevelt who sent a letter to Father Sill offering "[his] good wishes for a successful trip" and commenting on how "the presence of a crew of American school boys will be helpful in strengthening the ties between good sportsmen of the two countries."[11] That year, Kent won the Thames Challenge Cup, just six years after crew began at the school. The Times in Britain wrote, "Kent School were almost certainly the best crew that ever rowed in the Thames Cup." Kent continued to succeed in the sport, competing at Henley 32 times and winning 5 times, most recently in 1972. The school was featured twice in Life magazine, once in May, 1937 and again in June, 1948. Stuart Auchincloss '48 was featured on the cover of the latter publication. Kent Boys Crew has also had success at home, winning the New England Championship Regatta 25 times since 1947.

Girls began rowing at Kent in 1973. They have had many successes as well, winning Henley in 2002 and two National Championships in 1986 and 1987. They have also won the New England Championship Regatta seven different times, including four of the first five times it competed for it.[12]

In 2006, Kent Boys Crew won the New England championship and became the first American crew to challenge for the recently established Prince Albert Challenge Cup at Henley. In 2010, Kent Boys Crew won the New England points trophy and placed 1st at Youth Nationals. The team traveled to Henley and were runners up for the Princess Elizabeth Cup, losing to Eton College.


Kent's hockey tradition began on a flooded field that had frozen over in 1910 and has continued until today with over 100 seasons. The team and the program have come a long way in that time, too. The first team consisted of only eight players who, after some practice, borrowed some football pants to play their first game against the Berkshire School, a team that Kent continues to compete against today. In the following seasons, the team would clear an area next to Macedonia Brook that would flood and freeze over, calling it Pater's Pond for the school's headmaster and founder. This makeshift rink is still used for Pond Hockey games today. Eventually, the school built its first proper hockey rink, the Manuel Nadal Rink, naming it for the team's first coach. When girls began coming to Kent, they started their own hockey program and the two teams have shared the Nadal Rink ever since. Nowadays, both the girls and boys teams compete in the Founders League, noted as one of the most competitive high school leagues in the country, and have had many successes, with each team winning the 2014 Founders League Championship.


Football at Kent competes in the Housatonic Valley League and has a long tradition of excellence. In the past 17 years, the team has earned seven league championships and two New England Championships.[13] As well, in the fall of 2009, Kent Football was the first American secondary school to compete internationally during the fall season.


Kent is the only co-educational Founder's League school with an equestrian program. Its facilities include multiple outdoor arenas, a heated indoor arena, and a cross country course. Michael Page, an Olympic medalist who competed in three Olympic games and coached the Canadian Olympic team in 3-day eventing, has been the resident trainer and instructor since 1994.

Interscholastic sports offered[14][edit]


Kent is situated on 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) between the Appalachian Trail and Housatonic River. The picturesque New England landscape surrounds the campus' Georgian brick buildings, arranged comfortably along the river bank.

Residential buildings include the North Dorm, Borsdorff Hall (Middle North), Middle Dorm South, Case Dorm, Dining Hall Dorm, Field Dorm, and Hoerle Hall (a new dorm).

Instructional buildings include Foley Hall, Dickinson Science Center, schoolhouse, Mattoon Language Center, the field building, the 50,000-volume John Gray Park Library, Mattison Auditorium, St. Joseph's Chapel, music studios, and art studios.

Athletics facilities include the Magowan Field House (basketball, weight rooms, pool), fitness center, Brainard squash courts, indoor tennis building (4 courts), Springs Center (Nadal Hockey Rink), Sill Boathouse, Waring Partridge Rowing Center, Southfields Facility, Kent Stables, 9 playing fields, 13 outdoor tennis courts, and the Holcombe Cross-Country Course.

In 1995, Kent partnered with Microsoft, Toshiba, and 29 other pioneer schools to create the Anytime Anywhere Learning program. This program equips Kent students with laptop computers for use in every classroom on campus. Since 2002, these have been Tablet PCs. In addition, all classrooms, dorm rooms, the library, and administrative offices have access to the internet and the school network. All dorm rooms are equipped with individual data and voice connections which provide phone, internet, and intranet access for each student. All of the academic areas, dorm common rooms and many public areas provide secure wireless service as well.


Since its founding in 1906, Kent has had five headmasters.[7]

  • Rev. Frederick Herbert Sill (Founder) (1906–1941)
  • Rev. William Scott Chalmers (1941–1949)
  • Rev. John Oliver Patterson (1949–1962)
  • Sidney Norwood Towle '31 (1962–1981)
  • The Rev. Richardson W. Schell '69 (1981–Present)

In the media[edit]

The book (and 1999 film adaptation) Outside Providence is a fictionalized account of film director and screenwriter Peter Farrelly's experiences at the school.

The animated TV show Family Guy is written by alumnus Seth MacFarlane. In 1999, the school's headmaster, Father Schell, wrote to a number of companies urging them not to advertise with the TV show, calling it "obnoxious." Seth MacFarlane's parents, who worked at the school, resigned in protest.[15]

Men of Kent: Ten Boys, A Fast Boat, And The Coach Who Made Them Champions is Rick Rinehart's '72 account of the legendary 1972 crew team that went undefeated and finished the season by winning the Henley Royal Regatta. This team's win is regarded as "one of the most breathtaking finishes in Henley’s long history."[16]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

William G. Pollard, Fiftieth anniversary of Kent School


  1. ^ Livermore, George G. (July 1934). "Hats Off to Kent!". Boys' Life. Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved January 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Founders League Schools
  6. ^ name=Kent at a Glance [1]. Accessed January 13, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Beattie, Joan (2007). Kent: One Hundred Years. Kent School. ISBN 978-0-9779603-6-1. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Founders League Schools
  11. ^ Beattie, Joan (2007). Kent: One Hundred Years. Kent School. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-9779603-6-1. 
  12. ^ Beattie, Joan (2007). Kent: One Hundred Years. Kent School. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-9779603-6-1. 
  13. ^ Wells, Connor. "Varsity Football". Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (2005-04-07). "The Young Guy Of Family Guy; A 30-Year-Old's Cartoon Hit Makes An Unexpected Comeback". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2007-12-22. 
  16. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°43′37″N 73°28′56″W / 41.7269°N 73.4821°W / 41.7269; -73.4821