Peter Quinn, Headmaster: It’s not about your grades. It’s about your transformation.

 

You will not judge your time at Peddie based on your academic success or college acceptances.

The Peddie experience centers on transformation. Our alumni share stories about how Peddie opened their minds and helped them reach for goals they had not imagined before. They don’t talk about how Peddie got them into college X.

What’s most important is how much you grow during your time at Peddie, in what ways you use the exceptional opportunities available here and how you aspire to that “highest quality of citizenship.”

There are many exceptional opportunities to grow at Peddie. Here are my top three.

1. CHAPEL

Chapel talks and performances challenge us to think more broadly and to open our minds to different opinions. At times somber, humorous, esoteric, commonplace, soothing or jarringly controversial – our fellow community members and guests aim to inform us, respecting us enough to believe that with better information, clearer focus, or a new perspective, we will act more responsibly and kindly than we otherwise would have.

Chapel challenges us to be better citizens. Not just law-abiding, but people who actively and assertively make our communities better, uniquely and according to our interests and talents. It’s called entrepreneurial citizenship, and it’s Peddie’s greatest purpose to help you become that kind of citizen.

 

Entrepreneurial citizenship requires that you follow a moral standard that is transcendent and pure, and that transcends different cultures. Any community - a school, a town, a nation - can obey the laws and yet allow immeasurable injustice.  Examples are plentiful across the scope of history.  Chapel challenges us to be just and to serve justice writ large on a scale writ personal.

2. THE ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE

We’ve designed our academic experience to create articulate, capable and ethical citizens. Our teachers encourage you to:

  • Be curious
  • Read insightfully and analyze the worth of competing ideas
  • Write compellingly and understand the importance of honesty
  • Calculate precisely and thoughtfully
  • Thoughtfully and responsibly weigh the difference between what appears to be true and what is actually right.

 

It’s the learning of those habits of heart and mind that is most important – not the grade. With your teachers’ instruction, support and encouragement, you will leave us more broadly capable, diversely articulate and mindfully ethical.

3. OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM EXPERIENCE

All over campus, we have opportunities to put thoughts into action! Your school life outside of class provides the chance to practice being the kind of citizen Ambassador Walter Annenberg referred to in his oft-cited “strive for the highest quality of citizenship” mandate.

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Daily school life, in the dormitories, on the stage and field, in a club meeting, or at a community and service opportunity is the laboratory in which you can test your hypothesis of what your contributions will be.

What will your contribution be? What will your story be about? Will difference will you make? There’s a play that needs a cast, needs a crew, and needs a pit band – will you help? There’s an activity that appeals to you, and you’ve got time, will you commit? There’s a sports team that wants a better record next year; will you practice in the off-season? There’s a peer who has been treated poorly; will you stand up for that person? There’s a practice we have at Peddie that bothers you; will you address it? There’s a quiet hero in your midst; will you follow the example?

I don’t want to minimize the importance of outstanding academic achievement. At the same time, I want you to know that academic success is not the absolute standard against which you should measure your time here or your life after Peddie. Your habit of citizenship in the broadest sense is a more important goal to reach for, and a more joyous activity to guide your life because it can encompass everything you do. As a nation and a world, what we need most is that combination of entrepreneurial citizenship and moral guidance based on the belief in the dignity and worth of each person.

What will your story be? Find out more about what it’s like to be a student at Peddie.