Doane Stuart

My “Why” – An Alum/Current Parent Shares

It’s emails like this that make our hearts swell. What a wonderful way to start the day. 

From an alumni/current parent:

Doane Stuart (DS) is the safest, most welcoming, friendly, and caring school that I have ever encountered.  After a very poor boarding school experience, my parents moved me to DS, where I completely turned around academically and developmentally. I loved the two years I spent at DS.  That love, and sense of belonging, was directly reflected in my academic turnaround, and ultimate early acceptance to the college of my choice.  

My sister joined DS, as a sophomore, class of ‘83, also after a poor boarding school experience.  My parents enrolled my brother, directly, in the class of ‘85, following middle school.  We all got into our first-choice colleges.  My sister, Mary, got her BA from New England College, and my brother, Andrew, went to my father’s alma mater, William’s College, for his BA, followed by Yale, for his MA/MBA.

That brings us around to now…When our Maggie reached school age, we first tried the local school district, which was a horrible experience.  Maggie entered way ahead of her academic peers; the kindergarten teacher essentially parked her, and several other similarly prepared kids, while they brought the rest of the class up to speed.  Maggie and said peers actually regressed, due to boredom, to the point where her behavior was becoming an issue.  Knowing (public school) was not going to work, we looked for alternatives.  

After (trying a Catholic school) we started looking at alternative schools, which brought us back around to Doane Stuart…..kind of on a whim, being an alumnus, I called and asked if we could stop by, impromptu, to look around, and speak with someone in admissions.  Kathleen Bracken invited us to drop by directly, which we did.  We were met at the ground floor door, where I could access the building, in my power wheelchair.  We did a brief tour, and sat down and chatted…We were so impressed with this conversation that we made an appointment to bring Maggie in for an interview, several days later.  

Maggie is uber shy……but it did not take long before she came out of her shell.  We spoke with the fifth-grade teacher, and then the fourth-grade teacher.  A group of fourth-grade girls, who heard there was a new kid on a tour, literally interrupted their recess, to come in and greet us…….we were stunned by that.  On the way home that day, we asked Maggie for her thoughts……to our surprise, she immediately suggested she would like to switch schools, and “Daddy, please make that happen”….…   

Maggie is happy, excited, and curious about learning.  Every day, she is excited to go to school, often egging us to get out the door…..and she comes home, bubbling over, reciting her day’s learning adventures.  That is the same Doane Stuart experience I had, so many years ago.


Arthur “Tad” Hoddick, ‘82

1 thought on “My “Why” – An Alum/Current Parent Shares”

  1. My son, Matthew, just started at DS this past Sept. Matthew had come from another private school in the area, but had a hard time fitting in. Matthew dreaded going to school. Since starting at DS, Matthew has been a much happier child. He states he really likes going to DS and really feels like he fits in. He has made some friends and says that everybody is nice and welcoming. Matthew actually asks me to drop him off early for school now, so he can spend some time with friends before school starts. Thank you for offering such a warm and welcoming environment and of course, the amazing teachers and education!!

    Pamela Jackson

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