4 dynamic schools producing well-rounded graduates in the 21st century

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As technology rapidly develops, information has become far more accessible, and superior academic preparation for college is no longer enough for students to succeed. A 21st century education will need to train young learners to think critically, creatively and collaboratively with their peers to adapt to the modern challenges of a globalised society. Boarding schools provide these – and more. 

Here, they learn in a rigorous academic atmosphere, undergo holistic character-building challenges, and pursue their creative curiosities and athletic prowess through various extracurricular activities. With big classrooms hosting a small number of students, every child will receive the attention they need.

The boarding school setting is also a melting pot of various cultures, traditions and practices that sparks intellectual curiosity and opens minds – the traits commonly honed by graduates who are ready to tackle the challenges of a globalised world. Here are four dynamic schools across the globe that are producing well-rounded graduates in the 21st century: 

Hills International College

21st century

Source: A rigorous sporting curriculum and an established well-being programme ensure students thrive and reach their full potential. Source: Hills International College

Situated in Jimboomba, Hills International College is a co-ed, independent international school that’s home to 600 highly ambitious students from Prep to Year 12. Here, all students have the opportunity to excel in a place where everyone belongs.

Its rigorous sporting curriculum sees students participating in basketball, netball, golf, volleyball, dance and swimming. The Hills Golf Academy programme combines extensive physical and psychological training, biomechanics and technical development – producing renowned athletes such as Jason Day and Yani Tseng, among others, who were former attendees of the international school.

Hills International College is also linked to the Clovers Volleyball Club, a newly formed club in 2022 that trains teams for competitions and provides professional pathways for Clover athletes.

In the classroom, specialist staff, such as the Inclusive Education staff and College Counsellor, work closely with teachers and families to cater to students with various learning needs. Therapy dogs roam the College campus with staff members trained as their handlers, boosting student wellbeing.

Boarding facilities and homestay programmes provide a warm welcome for international students. Homestay families are carefully selected to ensure that they show a keen and real interest in developing a global perspective within their own homes. Click here to discover more about Hills International College.

Ridley College

21st century

Source: Graduates from Ridley are driven to explore new ideas, debate eternal questions, and solve relevant, real-world problems. Source: Ridley College/Facebook

Ridley College, a reputed co-ed boarding school set just an hour’s drive from Toronto and 15 minutes to Niagara Falls, cultivates a student-centered learning environment that allows kids to explore new ideas, debate eternal questions, and solve relevant, real-world problems.

“At Ridley, students are surrounded by peers who share their sense of purpose, who believe in the value of hard work and who are building the courage to pursue their dreams. Our students are supported by a caring, committed, and world-class faculty that is focused on cultivating the full potential in each student,” explains Ed Kidd, Headmaster of Ridley College.

With a focus on personal development based on the principles of positive psychology, a legacy of intellectual rigour, and the ideal balance between academics, athletics, and the arts, Ridley equips students with the skills, habits, and experiences they need to build flourishing lives and succeed in any future they aspire to.

Ridley’s history and philosophies are founded upon a traditional British boarding house system, with all day students and boarding students belonging to one of ten boarding houses.

Beyond its 150 course offerings and elite sports teams, students can choose from 14 interscholastic sports and over 75 student clubs and organisations, such as film club, Model United Nations, and the VEX Robotics. 

Wesley College

21st Century

Source: Wesley College

Though New Zealand’s oldest registered school is a Methodist institution, its community is multi-ethnic, multi-faith and socially-diverse. It was established in 1844 and therefore has an extensive legacy of excellence within the country.

Wesley’s boarding facilities are home away from home for students. Here, health, welfare, and food are prioritised so young ones can focus on being their best selves in all aspects.

This goes hand-in-hand with the wealth of opportunities the school provides for students to excel in spiritual, academic, sporting, and cultural aspects. As a result, graduates go on to become individuals of faith, integrity and sensitivity who hold great purpose in their communities.

Inclusivity is another aspect of holistic development prioritised here. The vibrant Wesley community includes students of Māori and Pacific Island descent, as well as other students from less-advantaged backgrounds.

Auckland Grammar School

21st Century

Source:Young men from Year Nine to 13 are educated to strive for all-round excellence in academic, sporting and cultural pursuits. Source: Auckland Grammar School/Facebook

Often referred to as ‘The Grammar Way’, Auckland Grammar School sets its standards very high, demanding excellence across all aspects of daily life.

Providing an education for young men from Year 9 to Year 13, the school offers an academic programme based on both national and international syllabi, catering for a range of students from diverse backgrounds, socio-economic groups and ethnicities. 

A history of 147 years of academic prowess has earned Auckland Grammar a reputation for all-round excellence in academic, sporting and cultural pursuits. This, paired with an innate sense of confidence and pride in all young Grammar men, is what has led so many of the school’s esteemed alumni down the path of success at Oxbridge or a prestigious American ivy league university.

The school’s strong alumni network extends around the globe, with a host of CEOs, professors, heads of state and sporting champions – including a number of gold medallists –  all carrying the Auckland Grammar name. At Grammar the educational benefit is not only about success in academics or individual pursuits, it’s about the chance to network and forge important bonds that will last a lifetime.

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