Student Life at Thayer

A common refrain from Thayer alumni and current students alike is that our community is what sets us apart. There is a vibrant, affirming culture here, enriching the experiences at both the Middle and Upper Schools. Moreover, because of the intentionally scheduled school day, students are able to enjoy multiple areas of interest without being forced to choose one or the other. As a result, varsity athletes sing on stage during the fall musical; robotics aficionados craft bowls on a pottery wheel; and students with different interests and from different communities and backgrounds seamlessly join together.

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Students work on a poster for a Middle School club

Clubs & Activities

Students and faculty in Peru

Travel Programs

Students play games during Spree Day

Thayer Traditions

In terms of student life at Thayer, there is a culture of trying new things, discovering talents and passions, and achieving personal bests. In this section, discover some of the areas where you can learn, or develop, or pick up an interest with one of the many clubs and extracurricular activities offered. Or literally discover the world outside your door with the many Learning Through Travel opportunities in several continents around the globe. Or revel in the unparalleled zany fun of Winter Wars in February - one of a number of Thayer traditions - some wacky, some hallowed, some poignant - all of them, indelible memories.

A Day in the Life of a Thayer Middle School Student

Stefanie McGrath

by Stefanie McGrath '20

Thayer is a diverse community with all sorts of amazing people striving to make you better in every way. Your morning starts off from home at an early 6:00 AM. You get ready and hop in the car to arrive at school before 8:00. When you arrive, Mr. Smith, Director of the Middle School is standing at the door ready to greet you--rain, shine, snow, or sleet. You walk in the door and get a slight smile on your face as you walk through the beautiful courtyard to your locker. You grab your stuff and head up to Thompson Hall, ready to begin your day...

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When you get to Thompson Hall, you see all your friends huddled on the stage. You join them and talk about the homework from last night. Then the 8:00 bell rings, and you grab your seat and listen to the morning announcements. "Ever dreamed of being an author? Dream no more. Submit your writing to Tiger's Tale, the middle school magazine,” utters Kadyn, the student who is reading announcements. When the assembly is over, she says, "Eighth grade first,” and 8th graders spring out of their seats rushing to their next class. For some, it's English.

English starts out with a bang, a small pop quiz on your reading of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but you read really well and ace the quiz. Next you go on to your discussions about the book. Mr. Harrison clears up any confusion you may have just in time for the bell to ring. On to Science.

Science comes with more fun learning about the human body. Ms Young reviews cells with a game of jeopardy for our quiz tomorrow. Your team wins and gets a bonus point on the test. You start to get hungry just in time for break and move to the forum.

In the forum you talk to your friends and dine on cheez-its. Then the bell rings, and you move to math. We took a test yesterday so Mr Farwell hands that back and then you correct your homework, take some notes and then do partner-work. Then you have drama where you work on your performance of The Big Competition Piece. You have the role of Lucy where you judge the performances. Next comes every one's favorite time, lunch.

At lunch you eat nice salmon and rice and talk with your advisees. On Mondays and Thursdays you eat with your advisors, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays you have “mix-it-up” tables, and on Fridays you have free seating. Lunch ends and 6th period begins.

Finally you have your last two periods, Spanish and history. In Spanish you play a spelling game with the parts of the body. You have to spell la mano, las piernas, el mentón, and el barrigo. Then you have history where you take notes on the Cotton Gin and its inventor, Eli Whitney. You find out about the importance of interchangeable parts. Next you have conference, which is a study hall you have with your advisee group where you can get extra help with schoolwork. You get some homework done and then the bell rings. Time for sports.

Sports are so much fun. You get to run around with your friends, and your teachers get to be your coaches. Sometimes you get to play other schools. Sports end and you get on the bus and go home. Overall, it was a great day with lots of exciting and fun things you did. You do your homework, get a nice rest and wake up and start all over.

A Day in the Life of a Thayer Upper School Student

Marisa Goolgasian

by Marisa Goolgasian ‘17

My day starts when my first alarm goes off. I roll around for a while before finally dragging myself away from the warmth of my bed. My friend’s black Jeep cruises into my driveway around 6:50 and we get off the highway at the Union Street/Braintree exit by 7:20. Most of my friends aren’t even out of bed by the time I get to school, so I usually make the journey from the CFA parking lot to the Student Commons by myself. Since I’m usually still half asleep at this point, I often get some tea or coffee from the Dining Hall where I’m always greeted with a cheery “Good Morning!”...

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Now that it’s getting close to 8:00, waves of students pour into the Commons and everyone starts to talk and laugh with their friends. Usually my brain is at least half way turned on at this point thanks to the caffeine. The bell rings, signaling the start of a 5-minute homeroom period. After checking in with my Advisor, sharing a few laughs, and sometimes a few Munchkins, it’s time to head to my first period class. I usually start my day with chemistry, a class that I genuinely look forward to attending every morning. In chemistry we usually break into teams and begin projects such as 3d printing Lewis structures of compounds to learn about electron geometry. I’ve enjoyed all the labs we’ve done so far, and I’ve recently discovered that I have an unrivaled talent for dropping lit matches as I attempt to light Bunsen Burners. Next I have a free period. If you’re a sophomore or older and have a good GPA, you can spend your free periods however you want, from cranking out homework in the library to relaxing in the Commons and watching Netflix. I typically use my frees to get extra help from one of my teachers or to work with my friends in one of the private rooms in the library so that our obnoxious laughter and chattering doesn’t disturb any of the other dedicated scholars.

Soon it’s time for Break, when almost every student rushes into the Dining Hall to grab some snack and chat animatedly with their friends. After I’m done ruthlessly battling a senior boy for the last scoop of Gold Fish, I head to my third period class. I have pottery, which breaks up my day nicely and gives me the opportunity to have a class with people I wouldn’t have otherwise. In pottery you might even be lucky enough to have your favorite sweater ruined by a piece of wet clay thrown at you by some nervy peer. I say lucky because Bramf (Mr. Steven Branfman: Thayer Academy pottery guru) always lets you strike back with an even wetter glob of clay. The bell rings and it’s now F1, the period that most upperclassmen have lunch. I sit and eat quickly with my friends before I dash to the other side of the Dining Hall to make sure I beat the throng of Freshmen (affectionately known as the Frosh­pit) to the cookie dough ice cream before it runs out. After lunch I head to my English class, AP Composition. Here we have an open, Harkness-style discussion about whatever essays we read the previous night. These conversations usually start promisingly as tame Socratic discussions among pint­sized intellectuals about the works of famous authors before transforming into heated debates. Honestly, my English teacher must share quite a few internal chuckles with herself as she watches us, a bunch of 16- and 17- year-old kids, argue about David Foster Wallace’s cynicism or whether John Updike’s writing is too verbose or not. Finally, I head to AP U.S. History where my entire class is soon invested in a passionate debate about the effects of the Reconstruction Era. The last bell rings at 3:05 and our outdoor campus is again flooded with students. In the spring and fall the front lawn is full of people playing Frisbee or passing a lacrosse ball around. Some students pile into their friends’ cars to go to the food court at the nearby mall, while others head off to sports practice. I return to the Commons, meet up with my friends, and we all head into the Fitness Center.

The opportunity for variation in daily life at Thayer is an immense part of what makes me love my school so much, as well as one of the many things I will miss after next year. It’s hard not to be proud of belonging to a community where it isn’t at all odd to go from Pottery to AP Calculus to hockey practice. I love that I can go from talking about clothes with my friends during lunch to, in the words of my English teacher, “nerding out” about the Great Gatsby or the U.S. Constitution in my next class. It’s hard to describe a “typical day” at Thayer because, really, there is no such thing. No two students here are involved in exactly the same classes and activities, yet we all fit together to create one community, much like differently shaped jigsaw puzzle pieces that join to form one big picture. No matter how stressful or frustrating a day has been, there have been very few instances since I came to Thayer in 6th grade in which I haven’t loved my school and felt optimistic about the days ahead.

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