An Open Letter to Eighth Grade Girls

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Dear Eighth Grade Girls,

My name is Chloe; I am a junior at The Maine Girls’ Academy. I know that it can be hard to transition into high school, especially when you’re considering a private school, like MGA. As a student very close in age to you, I know first hand the challenges that come with being a teenager. Growing up is hard, especially during our high school years when we’re constantly feeling pressured as girls to feel and act a certain way, and to conform to whatever our friends are doing. I speak honestly when I share with you my reasons I chose to attend MGA.

One of my considerations was the idea of leaving the friends with whom I’ve grown up.  For me, I knew exactly how I wanted my life to go and the kind of peers I wanted to surround myself with in these four essential years of high school. In my sophomore year we read the book The Catcher in the Rye, and a big point of the story was how the main character, Holden, was fed up with the “phony” people by whom he was constantly surrounded. I related to Holden in this way, as I can’t stand the really fake people you often encounter in some schools, which was one reason I decided to come to MGA. Here, I have never been surrounded by so many genuine people in my life. I’ve never had to worry about my hair, makeup, or clothes, or whether I have the nicest Yeezy’s, or Roshe’s. Not to say I completely disregard my appearance – I honestly don’t think it’s possible as girls to do that… but I’ve never felt that pressure to impress my peers, which is amazing because instead of choosing friends based on appearance and being in the “in group,”  we can focus on finding friends based on how we actually “clique” in our interests. Because of this freedom, I have more honest and deeper connections to girls I’ve known – in some cases less than a year-  than I ever had in my nine years in public schooling.

Maybe you’re worried about not being with boys, and you feel like the school is too alternative for you; maybe you are worried about cliques and drama.  Because it is so easy to be myself, truly, not being around boys is a breath of fresh air. Not constantly hearing their immature comments, not worrying about impressing them are two noticeable differences that take unnecessary stress out of my day.  

At MGA you will never be a number; you will always be a someone, unique and valued. I am astonished when I walk into teachers’ or administrators’ offices and they know my name, even if I’ve never been a student of theirs. You will never be overlooked here; you will grow genuine relationships with every teacher.

Because of the values and traditions that our school has, school doesn’t feel like school. As a girl, I feel that the way I learn is important. The staff is professionally trained in areas that are important to us: the girl brain, how we make friends, how we handle setbacks, etc. As a result, our academic day reflects best learning practices.  Although we have rigorous academics, because of our size and the way our day is shaped, it feels very alternative to public school, in the best way!

Finally, the traditions we have, like our Homecoming Weekend in the fall, the McAuley Tea, our all-school Kris Kringle Celebration right before Winter Break, our Halloween costume parade, and Class Day all bring our school community together to enjoy one another. MGA is one of the most accepting environments, which makes starting something new as comfortable as possible. Our sports, for example, provide a lot of students a gentle way to become involved and to participate, because it is never a competition to be the best on the team. Many girls join sports, even with little or no previous experience. For example, I joined our Cross Country team at the beginning of my sophomore year, with absolutely no experience in running; by the end of the season, I finished first from our team at the State Meet! This year, I was honored to be named captain. A good friend of mine who is also a junior, joined soccer just this year, also having no prior experience; she was accepted immediately and encouraged immensely by the entire team.

What I love and what I hope you will soon realize, too, about MGA is that it is, first and foremost, a school for and about us. Some of the things I’ve mentioned may resonate with you, and as you think about where you wish to spend your high school years and the peers with whom you wish to surround yourself, I know you will love MGA. My decision to attend MGA, Maine’s only school with girls in mind, hands down has been one of the best and smartest decisions I have ever made; I have never doubted my decision.  I was looking for the genuineness of friends, and I found it here.  My friends all had their own reasons for choosing MGA, and they too found all that they were looking for right here. I know it will be that way for you, too.