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St. Albans School Washington, D.C.
Private, day & boarding, college-prep school in Washington, D.C.
The school mascot is the bulldog, a symbol adopted under the school's fourth headmaster, Canon Charles S. Martin, because of Martin's fondness for his pet bulldogs. The St. Albans motto, "Pro Ecclesia et Pro Patria," translates to "For Church and Country." St. Albans requires all students to attend Chapel twice a week in The Little Sanctuary. The school seeks to develop in its students a sense of moral responsibility through Chapel, its Honor Code, and a co-curricular social service program.
A 2004 article in the Wall Street Journal found that among U.S. schools, St. Albans had the 11th-highest success rate in placing graduates at 10 selective universities.
Almost 75% of the faculty at the school have advanced degrees. The school also maintains one writer-in-residence, who teaches English classes while developing his or her work. (A past writer-in-residence is Curtis Sittenfeld, who worked on her best-selling novel Prep while at St. Albans.)
The school was founded in 1909, with $300,000 ($7.2 million in 2015 dollars) in funding bequeathed by Harriet Lane Johnston, niece of President James Buchanan. Initially, it was a school for boy choristers to the Washington National Cathedral, a program that the school continues today.
St. Albans in 2012
The school opened its new Upper School building - Marriott Hall - in 2009-2010. The firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill LLP, designed the new building, which has been the subject of articles in numerous publications, including The Washington Post, The Architects Newspaper, Building Stone Magazine, Arch Daily, Architecture DC, Mid-Atlantic Real Estate Journal, Construction, School Planning & Management, and American Society of Civil Engineers.
Admissions and financial aid
The St. Albans application process begins in the fall prior to the student's intended year of attendance. In September, a family may schedule a tour and interview, both of which occur during a single visit and are a required component of the application process. In addition to the visit, a general application form, personal statement, teacher recommendations, standardized testing, and a school transcript are required for the application. Decisions become available in March.
St. Albans operates a need-blind admission policy. As a result, a student's application for financial aid has no bearing on his application for admission.
The St. Albans Skip Grant Program offers financial aid and other support to enrolled students from a diversity of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. This program was started by former St. Albans teacher Brooks Johnson and is now named after the program's second director, former teacher, coach, and athletic director, Oliver "Skip" Grant.
Along with academics and social service, the athletic program at St. Albans is considered co-curricular and all students are required to participate. St. Albans competes in the Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC), a league of independent schools in the Washington, D.C. area. In addition to fielding varsity teams in 14 sports: cross country, football, soccer, aquatics, basketball, indoor soccer, ice hockey, wrestling, track and field, lacrosse, baseball, tennis, golf, and crew, the school offers the Voyageur Outdoor Experiential Education program in which students can participate in such sports as indoor rock climbing on a climbing wall and white water kayaking. St. Albans rock climbers compete in the Washington Area Interscholastic Climbing League and kayakers no longer participate in interscholastic competition on the Great Falls rapids of the Potomac River, because the other schools decided to stop competing.
In recent years, programs that have experienced success and produced significant numbers of intercollegiate athletes include baseball, crew, cross-country, football, soccer, and lacrosse. The crew team won the Virginia State Rowing Championships in 2010 and 2011, placed second at the Stotesbury CupRegatta in 2010 and first in 2011, and placed fourth at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America Regatta in 2010 and third in 2011; cross-country has won seven IAC banners in the last 10 years, and in 2009, won the DC-MD Private Schools Championship; football has won three IAC banners in the last four years; lacrosse won the IAC in 2007. The varsity soccer team also won the IAC Championship outright in 2012 by defeating Landon in the tournament final. In addition, they emerged victorious in the first ever DCSAA tournament against Maret, securing the treble (IAC regular season champions, IAC tournament champions, DCSAA champions). On May 6, 2014, the lacrosse team knocked off then-second ranked in the nation Georgetown Prep (MD) in the last athletic contest on Saterlee-Henderson Field. A construction project renovating the athletic facilities was completed in September 2015. During the 2015 season, the team repeated as soccer champions, defeating Georgetown Prep in the IAC tournament final, and Washington International School in the DCSAA tournament final -- the following year winning the double as IAC regular and tournament champions once again.
Steuart Field, with a regulation track surrounding the field, is the home venue for football, lacrosse, soccer and track and field. The Lower Baseball Field is the home of the baseball team. The Activities Center is the older gymnasium on campus and is mainly used for wrestling. Martin Gym is the home for basketball, indoor soccer and wrestling. The Joseph J. Lawrence Pool is an indoor facility that hosts home swim meets. The St. Alban's Tennis Courts are the home of the tennis team.
School of Public Service
The Lane-Johnston building of St. Albans School in 1910.
St. Albans established its School of Public Service ("SPS") in 2002. SPS is a residential public policy, politics, and public service program that takes place for a four-week period each summer, beginning in late June. Nearly 40 rising high school seniors are selected to participate in SPS, located at St. Albans School. SPS admits both male and female students who have already shown a great deal of interest in public service, as well as an ability to positively influence others. While in the program, students gain experiences designed to heighten not only an interest in public service but also their probability of entering into and succeeding in a career in civic leadership. SPS students are held to a high level of scholarship, using case studies (including some from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government) that are more commonly used at the graduate level.
In addition to using the case study method--used for graduate study in law, business, and public policy--SPS students continue the dynamic learning experience outside the classroom through policy simulations, speakers, and visits and meetings with public servants from State Department Foreign Service Officers to serving Army and Marine officers. In the past several years, SPS students have (in simulation) run congressional campaigns, negotiated their way through a dangerous crisis with North Korea, taken steps to contain a flu pandemic sweeping the nation, and argued and decided Supreme Court cases on First Amendment and national security issues. In the "real" world, the SPS students have, among other things, visited the White House to talk with the White House Chief of Staff, had lunch with the Governor of Maryland, hosted a formal dinner for Ambassadors from around the world, attended screenings of "Meet the Press" and talked with host David Gregory, met with members of the U.S. Supreme Court, and chatted about fiscal policy with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
St. Albans offers a number of camps and classes in the summer designed for children of various ages and interests and fostering both intellectual and physical development. The diverse curriculum consists of core academic classes, as well as specialty courses in such fields as technology and study skills. On the athletic front, St. Albans has once again partnered with Headfirst, a provider of sports instruction and other recreational activities, and Power Through Sports Basketball to offer an impressive variety of camps to students. The school also offers before and after care, as well as a daily "cool down" in the St. Albans indoor pool for full-day campers. Its academic classes consist of things like robotics and chemistry.