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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

Ryan Pagotto

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

Students and the magnolia

First off, I hope this note finds you and your loved ones healthy, safe and well. I want to acknowledge at the forefront of this letter that my parental audience is broad and varied. This is always the case, of course, but in the COVID-19 climate in which we have been living, I recognize that everyone is having a different experience.

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February 2020

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January 2020

Happy New Year! It is good to be back in the groove of learning, sport and other productive pursuits after what appears to have been a restorative and reinvigorating holiday for many of our students.

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December 2019

It is rare that I leave our campus when school is in session, but I had the opportunity to do so this past Thursday through Saturday for the annual Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) conference in Boston, Massachusetts.

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November 2019

I have experienced 21 Peddie Weeks—18 as a faculty member and three as a student—and this year was among the very best. Such lofty praise is well deserved not because of the outcome—a tie, again—but because of the clever, creative and unifying spirit that characterized the week itself.

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