15 REASONS TO COME TO Blair
For more than 35 years, the Society of Skeptics has engaged the Blair community in world events by bringing speakers to campus every Tuesday evening. Musicians, professional athletes, authors, government officials, entrepreneurs and war veterans are among the many presenters who have offered their perspective to Blair students and debated issues and opinions. Among the most prominent speakers in recent years are Jack Bogle '47, founder of The Vanguard Group, the world's largest mutual fund organization; Mohamed El-Erian, former CEO of PIMCO; Christine Todd Whitman, former New Jersey Governor and Environmental Protection Agency director; and Billy Collins, U.S. poet laureate from 2001-2003.
Blair’s Headmasters' Societies Games add excitement to the school year at the end of winter sports season. Each member of our community is randomly "sorted" onto a team (Breed, Howard, Kelley and Sharpe—named for our former Headmasters) for competition in an incredibly varied selection of games. From basketball to cup-stacking, wrestling to mural painting, and tug-of-war to the talent show, students and faculty have fun competing for the coveted Hardwick Trophy.
The School's global service program encourages students to interact with people of other cultures and countries through meaningful public service opportunities. Students gain transformative life experience as they apply classroom lessons to real-world situations and challenges in the United States, Africa, Europe, South America and Asia. Blair continues to build new travel opportunities into its curriculum, with the goal of having every Blair student participate in a cross-cultural domestic or international trip before they graduate.
Designed to teach students skillsets that will put them a step ahead in college and in professional life, this signature leadership education initiative builds on Blair's core offerings by focusing on five critical competencies: Leadership communications, global Engagement, self-Awareness, ethical Decision-making and Service. Cross-curricular coursework in each of these areas takes place at every grade level as students engage in The Blair Leadership Stories Project, leadership communications courses and service opportunities. Students also have the opportunity to practice what they learn in class by assuming active leadership roles on campus and engaging in service to the community.
In addition to working with an assigned academic monitor, students choose their own faculty advisor to support them academically, socially and emotionally during their time at Blair. Making such an important decision independently gives students a sense of ownership, responsibility and confidence when interacting with adults. Advisors act as mentors and advocates who know students well and support them as they pursue their interests and passions and build connections across campus.
Each November, the Blair community shows its school spirit during the week leading up to Peddie Day, when Blair's fall athletes take on their age-old rival, The Peddie School, in athletic competitions. The festivities culminate with a Friday night bonfire and pep rally, followed by a full day of games and matches. Parents and alumni flock to campus to cheer the Buccaneers to victory!
Blair offers college preparatory theater in four annual theatrical productions on three different stages, providing students many opportunities to gain experience in casting, script reading, set and lighting design, directing and performing. Our musicians participate in a 100-person Symphony Orchestra and top-notch vocal and jazz ensembles with eclectic repertories. Throughout the school year, these groups regularly perform in Blair's indoor and outdoor venues. Our musicians continue to build their skills by touring over school breaks. In spring 2015, for example, the Orchestra performed in several European countries. Learn about the performances planned for this year.
A Blair education is distinguished by our faculty's complete commitment to knowing students well and fostering meaningful relationships across campus. With a student-faculty ratio of 6:1 and an average class size of 11, students actively participate in discussions and build confidence and trust that empowers them to step outside of their intellectual comfort zones. Such connections allow teachers to understand students' learning styles, interests, abilities and passions, and to use that knowledge to customize their education and push them to higher levels of achievement.
Each spring, the Blair community comes together with the common purpose of helping others on the School's annual Day of Service, during which students, faculty, parents and alumni volunteer for worthwhile causes. Since the inaugural event in 2014, those on campus have partnered with numerous local organizations in activities including playground construction, landscaping at domestic violence shelters, working at a community-supported farm, coordinating activities at a children's camp, planting community gardens and clearing nature trails.
Blair is situated on a pastoral 463-acre campus in northwestern New Jersey, and students enjoy a wide range of amenities and facilities not found at other schools: a nine-hole golf course; a waterfall; and an undeveloped 100-plus acre parcel of land known as the "Siegel Property," where classes engage in field work and where students bike and run. The School also boasts a state-of-the-art athletics facility with a six-lane, 25-yard indoor pool, 10 outdoor tennis courts, seven international squash courts, eight athletic fields, and an all-weather turf field and track. With the addition of two new upper-school dormitories in 2015, Blair's campus features 10 residential buildings and six academic buildings.
At Blair, students can choose from a wide range of courses, including those focused on design-thinking, robotics, negotiation, theatre, video studies, economics, biomechanics, architecture and constitutional law. Our open-architecture curriculum blends traditional core offerings with innovative programs and teaching approaches. With a number of course levels—including more than 50 honors, Advanced Placement and post-AP classes—Blair tailors students' coursework to their abilities and interests.
As Blair art students know, one of the most valuable aspects of the fine-arts program is our on-campus Romano Gallery, which regularly shows the work of professional and student artists. Featured artists attend exhibit receptions throughout the school year, giving students the opportunity to engage with them and ask questions about their work. Most artists take the opportunity to guest lecture while in Blairstown, critiquing student work during class and sharing the challenges and opportunities associated with installing exhibits in the "real world." View a list of the artists exhibiting in The Romano Gallery this year.
The "Blue Crew"—Blair's most enthusiastic student supporters, who show their school pride by painting their faces, donning their best "Blair wear" and cheering on the School's 26 varsity and 19 JV and thirds teams— is a fixture at Blair athletic contests. Headed by a male and female member of the senior class, the group's energy and passion for Blair athletics is contagious, particularly when the Bucs are playing on Blair's all-weather turf field under the lights.
Under the guidance of mathematics teacher Jay Gnanadoss, student "makers" are fleshing out a wide range of ideas in Blair's maker space, a laboratory/workshop where students are engaged in hands-on, design-and-build work. Freshmen through seniors have undertaken a number of interesting projects, such as creating a domino-stacking robot, 3D-printing and constructing a model of a pagoda, crafting a remote-controlled airplane and building an electric guitar from scratch. As they assess their project needs and challenges, Mr. Gnanadoss assists students in learning design and 3D-printer software, training them on safe usage of power tools and troubleshooting every step of the way. Blair's robotics class is also using the maker space to build a 3D-printed, life-sized humanoid robot as part of the open source InMoov project, a collaborative online effort that has connected schools and individuals worldwide.
Blair students and teachers don't just interact in class—they enjoy frequent opportunities to get together as a community and have fun! "Grills & Chills" typically happen on Saturdays and the occasional weeknight when kids and faculty (and faculty families!) meet on the turf for food and games under the lights. Volleyball, badminton and Frisbee games give everyone a chance to compete, and there's plenty of time for relaxed conversation over hot dogs and burgers—just another example of how important community and relationships are at Blair, inside and outside of the classroom!