Building character and community
The Middle School takes special care to cultivate character within each boy. Fords Focus Days do just that, allowing each student to consider how they can be agents of change, provide leadership in their community, and learn about their roles in the local, national, and global communities. The School builds character by creating opportunities in which boys experience defining moments and challenging conditions, allowing him to learn about himself, about others, and about reacting to challenges with strong leadership and character.
Upper School reflections
Communication is a cornerstone of the Upper School community time programming. Each week, the entire Upper School gathers in Centennial Hall, often hearing a Reflection from a member of the community. The topics and speakers vary, from a faculty member sharing the reality of being a competitive swimmer to a student reciting his own poetry. No matter the topic, the result is the same: the boys are witnessing a member of their community showcase vulnerability while communicating something that is important to them and our community. That modeling allows them to have the courage to communicate authentically and confidently now and into the future.
Empathize and take action
At Haverford, compassion doesn’t just happen; it’s a compound virtue, requiring more than just a passing thought. Instead, we teach the boys to actively work at recognizing someone is having a hard time, offering support and understanding to that person, and then taking time to help them find a solution to their problem. These skills allow the boys to both experience their emotions and take action in their communities in an empathetic and authentic way.
Rising to the Challenge
Boys at Haverford are urged to have confidence when facing a challenge or a risk. Darren Hengst, The Grace and Mahlon Buck Chair for the Performing Arts, sees developing confidence at the center of his performing arts education philosophy and for boys’ general growth. “This is how The Haverford School prepares boys for life: there is a challenge, the boys immerse themselves in the situation and become vulnerable, and they use problem-solving skills and empathy to face the challenge.”
A reminder on our seal
We use courage to face challenges of all kinds at Haverford. On our seal is the Greek motto eutaxia soizein dokei, which comes from Xenophon’s Anabasis text and has been translated by Haverford’s faculty to “good discipline always saves” or “proper preparations lead to success.” It reminds us of Haverford’s focus: to prepare students with the good habits of mind and spirit that will allow them to overcome what lies before them, both within and beyond the walls of Haverford.
Third grade boys take part in a favorite art activity each year: creating the Lower School Monster. The months-long process starts with each boy imagining a monster on paper and ends with the entire grade collaborating to create a single monster to be displayed in the Lower School. The monster project is the intersection of boys using their imagination, creativity, and collaboration skills to create a permanent fixture of the Lower School building.
Athletics Leadership Seminar
Upper School boys wanting to be captains of their varsity team are required to take the Athletics Leadership Seminar first. The seminar features speakers and lessons in leadership, team building, and conflict resolution, allowing the boys to go into their senior athletic seasons prepared to lead younger students. Further, topics like racial equity, goal setting, and overcoming challenges support the boys long after their playing days are over.
A strong support system
Students enjoy strong bonds between their fellow Fords, but important student-teacher relationships are what make Haverford the strong community it is. The boys know they can depend on their teachers to support them through challenges as they learn new skills. Younger students look to their older peers as models of this virtue, too.
Lower School buddies
At The Haverford School, every boy is celebrated for showing up exactly as they are. While each grade spends time in and out of class together, the Lower School puts a special focus on inter-grade friendships to strengthen the bond of the division and the overall School community. Kindergarten and third grade students are paired together as buddies for the entire school year, taking time to play, learn, and do service projects together. By the year’s end, the younger boys have an older student to model themselves after, and the third graders have learned an important lesson in support for someone who is younger than them.
Lower School Banner Boys
The Lower School Banner Boys are fifth graders who serve as stewards of leadership for the entire division. Honesty is just one of the four pillars of the Lower School Banner Boy program, but it serves an important purpose in the Lower School, when boys are learning to showcase this virtue in all they do. The boys are taught how to be honest, no matter the difficulty or the perceived downside of doing so, and the Banner Boys help showcase this virtue for their grade and for the younger Lower School boys.
A time-honored tradition
On Opening Day, our kindergarten and Sixth Form students take part in a special tradition: they walk hand-in-hand through the Walk of Virtues to the School’s Opening Assembly. The walk isn’t long, but the impact is huge, as it officially welcomes some of our youngest students into the fold of the Haverford School brotherhood and introduces them to the School’s core virtues etched in stone on the walkway.
Humility in Service
Every student at The Haverford School participates in service learning. Project leaders prioritize opportunities using the five fundamental pillars of The Haverford School’s Service Learning Initiative: ethical behavior, sound decision-making skills, a sense of service to others, the ability to empathize with others, and self-awareness and social reflection.
Initiative in a real-world lab
Sixth formers can gain hands-on experience in world renowned science labs at universities up and down the east coast as part of Haverford’s Advanced Laboratory Research Cooperative. Students conduct research at labs the summer before their senior year, examine the results of that research, and present their findings to peers, their families, and area scientists at the annual Science Research Symposium.
Our boys learn that having integrity means they exhibit strong character, and moral leadership, and they have strength to do what is right, even when it is difficult. Boys are taught to showcase integrity in all situations in life, allowing them to be stewards of strong character beyond the walls of Haverford.
The Haverford School has various groups that focus on maintaining a just community. In Upper School, the Honor Council and Character Mentorship Program hold members of our community accountable to the standards we have set and help them achieve those standards, even when they have erred. Justice at Haverford means understanding an error has been made and then supporting someone as they rectify that error. This idea is introduced to students of all ages, and Upper School boys take time to discuss this concept with Middle School students each year, answering questions and reminding them of strong moral values that lead to a just community.
Each spring, the Fifth and Sixth Form (juniors and seniors) take part in a special tradition: the Rosettes assembly. This assembly, which takes place each spring, officially passes the mantle of leadership from the graduating seniors to their junior counterparts. Each senior pairs up with a junior to celebrate their leadership and responsibility for the younger students and the Haverford School community.
An exceptional experience
The Haverford School retains over 96% of families year after year, the highest among its peer schools on the Main Line. This retainment underscores the exceptional experience families have at Haverford each year. The experience, created by strong programs and teachers who know each boy, allow students to flourish both in and out of the classroom.
The Rite of Passage
Each spring, the Form II boys walk 14 miles from the USS New Jersey to Haverford’s campus as an official end to Middle School and the start of Upper School. Less of a competition and more of an act of perseverance as a class, it provides the boys with time to reflect on their time at Haverford, and think about how they will continue their journey throughout the Upper School.
Haverford School boys learn respect for themselves, their communities, and the world through the Global Studies program. Using both travel study and global exchange opportunities, the program develops engagement with, respect for, and an understanding of international cultures. With travel to places like Cambodia, Morocco, Greece, Spain, China, and more, boys are exposed to a vast variety of people, traditions, cultures, and experiences, augmenting the in-classroom curriculum at Haverford.
Boys at Haverford take their studies seriously. The School has several mechanisms in place to support the boys as they go through our rigorous academic program. All three divisions have access to the Enrichment and Learning Center, a space that welcomes students to do anything from study for a big test to develop strategies to overcome classroom challenges. The ELC is staffed by experts who can provide resources, guidance, and strategies to support students on their path to success.
Walk a mile (or three) in someone else’s shoes
Selflessness is taught through action for others, specifically thinking through the needs of others before our own personal needs and wants. Our second graders learn about selflessness by raising money and performing service activities in partnership with H2O for Life. Last year, the boys walked three miles, while carrying jugs of water, for a fundraiser that benefitted schools needing new wells to improve their access to clean water.
Once a Ford, always a Ford. The Haverford School enjoys an extremely engaged alumni group year round. Alumni share their experience and expertise with the School as members of leadership councils, as coaches of athletic teams, and as resources for students on topics ranging from leadership to entrepreneurship. The alumni presence is strong on campus, allowing students the valuable experience of learning from Fords who have come before them.
From the field to the stage
Students at Haverford have a unique opportunity to take part in all things that interest them, and they are supported and celebrated for doing so. That’s why we see high turn out for all types of activities on campus. The same student who is cheered on for stealing third base is applauded for his role in the spring musical. No matter the venue or activity, you’ll find his teammates and cast mates front row showing their support.
To both lead and to follow
Whether it is fourth graders collaborating on the design for the roller coaster project, Middle Schoolers teaming up to produce their division newspaper, or the Upper School robotics team considering adjustments to their robots, teamwork is a necessary component of daily life at Haverford. Boys are taught both to lead and to follow, knowing that everyone has different strengths that can provide a valuable contribution to every team, no matter the challenge.
Pre-K – Grade 5
Grades 6 – 8
Grades 9 – 12
I came to Haverford in Form II and I was immediately taken into the culture by my classmates. Over time, I’ve learned how to give and take from the community and I feel I’ve made many friends that will last a lifetime.
Haverford is special because it is academically challenging and pushes you enough out of your comfort zone that you grow as a person, but not so much that you are totally overwhelmed. There is also an aspect of brotherhood between students and connections between teachers and students that I feel is unique to Haverford.
My first year here, I joined stage crew with my friends. I made so many more friends than I thought I would have. Upper Schoolers helped us with our musical, teaching us about stage crew and giving us advice. We'll be able to do it on our own next year, because of what they taught us.
At Haverford, we do a lot of cool projects. This year, I built a roller coaster with my class. We had to work together to make it work well, even though we had different ideas about how to do that, we got it to work.
I believe that the School is responsible for my growth into the person I am today. I think that I've developed into a deep thinker, a proponent of truth above all else, and an eager and curious student. Each of my classes at Haverford has cultivated these features in different ways.
Teamwork and courage are my favorite Haverford virtues. With teamwork, you can build something bigger if you do it all together. I use teamwork on the soccer field a lot, too. Courage is making sure you step up for friends when they need help.
Browse the items below to learn how, at Haverford, you will indulge your curiosity, practice perseverance, and achieve new accomplishments. What would you pick to put in your backpack?
Click through the items below to learn more!
Interested in woodworking? Curious about set design? Intrigued by the cello?
Ready to be challenged? Our educators are experts at teaching boys.
Love a good rivalry? We've been passing the sweater back and forth at Haverford/EA Day since 1889.
Seeking the bonds of brotherhood? That's what we're all about.
Fascinated by history? We have a lot of it. The Haverford School dates back to 1884.