As we continue through the spring sequestered in our homes and engaging in distance learning, I can’t help but feel a pang of sadness that the Class of 2020 is being deprived of their final, celebratory months on campus and among friends. But my melancholy is buoyed by the incredible successes of this group regarding the secondary school process. Few classes in recent Brookwood history have distinguished themselves in the eyes of admissions personnel like this class, and while we miss enjoying their company during these final weeks of their tenure, we send them off knowing that they will begin anew in many terrific high schools.

In reflecting back on the secondary school process for the Class of 2020, many themes emerge that both pay tribute to the strength and resilience of this group and celebrate their achievements through the validation of admission to an exceptional complement of schools. Every year, Cathy and I ask students to declare a first choice school, which means that the student is so enamored with one school that she/he can guarantee enrollment if accepted. We look at the percentage of students who gain acceptance into their first choice school as the most meaningful marker we track, as it validates the entirety of this process through the primary goal successfully achieved.

The Class of 2020 enjoyed a stunning 92% accept rate at first-choice schools, and this number includes several applicants who received significant financial assistance packages.

Those few students who did not gain access to first-choice schools all had solid alternative options, which is why every single student in this class had a suitable destination set by April 10th. This is the highest number I have seen in my eight years of guidance, and it pays tribute to the excellence of this hearty group of young people.

When we delve deeper into the numbers, additional themes emerge. For example, our acceptance rates at local schools that we send many applications were also more favorable than it has been in several years. As competition for spots at Pingree and Governor’s Academy heighten, Brookwood’s graduates continue to rise to the top of applicant pools. Governor’s Academy accepted 81% of Brookwood applicants, and Pingree accepted an astounding 81%. Additionally, St. John’s Prep accepted 100% of applicants, and Middlesex accepted an impressive 50%, well above their average acceptance rates of 12% to 15%. Additionally, Brookwood graduates continue to forge new paths at schools that have only recently landed on our radar. The Class of 2020 will enroll two students at Deerfield, one student at Taft, and one at Williston Northampton. It’s also important to note that Brookwood had a student accepted at Groton, a school that accepted only 6% of applicants this year, in addition to acceptances at Loomis Chaffee, Westminster, and the highly competitive Lycée Français de New York. Lastly, this class also enjoyed acceptances at annually popular destinations such as Phillips Academy Andover, St. Paul’s, and Buckingham Browne and Nichols in Cambridge.

All of this has been possible due to the resiliency of this incredible class. For the first time ever, revisit days were canceled this year. Still, students forged ahead with confidence and conviction and made their choices despite their inability to visit campuses in person. This is indicative of this plucky group of young people who continue to embrace positivity despite the unknown.

As they ready themselves for what lies ahead, they do so knowing that they achieved at the highest level despite unforeseen obstacles, and did so with poise and bravery. 

 The following lyrics from the song “This is Me,” a dynamic anthem featured in their eighth grade musical The Greatest Show, offer a fitting tribute to this exceptional group of young people who found such tremendous success under the most unusual of circumstances:

But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious…

Congratulations to the Class of 2020…we know you will continue to make us proud as you embark upon your next school adventure!