From Hilltop to Home

You know your child best and your perspective is often the most telling, but if some of my advice can be helpful to you—in managing their and your transition to boarding school life and potentially setting your minds at ease during times of the year that can be challenging—then I am happy to be of service.

Ryan M. Pagotto, Associate Head of School

Dear families,

As head of Blair's student life office, it is my pleasure to be involved in many aspects of our students’ lives and to serve as a day-to-day resource for them and for parents. In addition to providing support to students, many of whom are our advisees, my colleagues and I also work closely with housemasters, advisors, coaches and teachers to ensure that residential life at Blair runs smoothly and to identify and manage any challenges proactively. Our work runs the gamut from planning community events, organizing campus clubs and activities, and sponsoring leadership opportunities to planning global travel during school breaks, supporting campus spiritual life, and encouraging student health and wellness.

Given that 80 percent of our students live here on campus, one of my most important roles is to keep parents abreast of what is happening in their child's life at Blair. To that end, I began writing a monthly e-newsletter, From Hilltop to Home, a few years ago, with the aim of providing parents with perspective and counsel based on my 17 years of working with high school students as a teacher, coach, houseparent and dean. While my four children are not yet of high school age—our oldest is 8—and I acknowledge that, unlike you, I have not yet navigated the teenage years with my own children, I’ve been through the boarding school cycle many times now and have seen virtually every challenge that an adolescent can face.

You know your child best and your perspective is often the most telling, but if some of my advice can be helpful to you—in managing their and your transition to boarding school life and potentially setting your minds at ease during times of the year that can be challenging—then I am happy to be of service.

From these letters, as well as the rest of the website, I hope you gain a strong sense of how expertly Blair balances academic rigor with the strong relationships that are the foundation of our genuinely kind and caring community. We are deeply rooted in tradition but also committed to offering our students with a forward-thinking education, providing them with the skills that will help them succeed in life.

Thank you for reading, and I look forward to sharing my insights with you as the year progresses!

Warm regards,

Ryan M. Pagotto
Associate Head of School

March/April 2019

It’s spring at Blair! In the opinion of most, it’s the best Blair season. Our campus “sparkles” with a flurry of colors—the most iconic of them being the pink from our 75-year-old magnolia tree—and students retreat not to their rooms or their screens but outdoors (!) to socialize, to cheer their friends on, to compete in games themselves, film for the senior video, rehearse for the play in the outdoor theatre, and otherwise enjoying the longer days and warmer weather.

Read More about March/April 2019
February 2019

The 16th-Annual Headmasters’ Societies Games have begun! As I watched the games this afternoon, I couldn’t help but think of the recent Apple Iphone XR “color flood” commercial with the catchy tune, “Come, come, come, come along now” playing in the background. Remove the flips, balcony jump and parkour and the commercial looks strikingly similar to what we observed today as the red, blue, yellow, purple, green and orange “color flood” descended on the Field House and The Bubble. To take this comparison one step further, the song prompts listeners to “run away from the humdrum,” which was essentially the intent of the Games at the time of its launch back in the early 2000s.

Read More about February 2019
November 2018

It was a pleasure to connect with many of you on Saturday as we cheered on the Buccaneers in our quest to reclaim the Kelley-Potter Cup. While the day ended in a somewhat anti-climactic tie (only the fourth tie in the last 29 years), we are in possession of the Cup, and we denied the Peddie Falcons the five-year streak they were seeking.

Read More about November 2018