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 7—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

January 2018

Happy New Year! I trust this letter finds you well, still holding fast to your new year’s resolutions, and eagerly awaiting the relative “heat wave” on its way that will offer some relief from the arctic temps we’ve been enduring here at Blair and in the general Northeast. Despite the cold weather, students’ spirits have been high, and many seem quite happy to be back among friends, dorm mates and classmates after the holiday break. 

Read More about January 2018
December 2017

It’s good to be back. Students returned from the Thanksgiving holiday well-rested and ready to dive into a short two-and-a-half weeks before heading off again for the next vacation. While we moved away from traditional December exams many years ago, the present signature assessments and other project work is causing a fair amount of angst for students. News is beginning to come from colleges regarding early decision applications, too, so it is a generally high-stress time for all.

Read More about December 2017
November 2017

It was a pleasure connecting with many of you during Parents’ Weekend and at Peddie Day. Once again, our teams put forth a valiant effort against the Falcons but came up just shy with an 8-5 loss for the day. We put up a great fight every year, and our players’ competitive edge was no better displayed than in our varsity boys’ soccer team’s comeback from a 1-4 deficit to beat Peddie 5-4 and thus win the MAPL championship. We couldn’t be more proud of our victorious varsity boys’ soccer, varsity and JV field hockey, varsity girls’ tennis and girls’ cross country teams, and all our fall athletes who competed with determination and fine sportsmanship.

Read More about November 2017