Choate Rosemary Hall
(commonly referred to as Choate
) is a preparatory school for students in grades 9-12 located in Wallingford, Connecticut
. There is also a post graduate program. With both boarding and day students (who make up nearly 25 percent of the student body), the school has been co-educational since 1971. Today, students come from nearly all fifty states and twenty-four countries. A diverse pool of ethnicities represents almost 30 percent of the student body. The admission rate is approximately 24 percent. Nearly 30 percent of the student body receives financial aid to pay the substantial tuition, and the average amount of aid given is 70 percent of the tuition.
From its shared roots over a century ago as The Choate School and Rosemary Hall, through their merger in 1974, Choate Rosemary is part of The Ten Schools Admissions Organization
, along with several other New England-based boarding schools.
Choate offers courses in English, mathematics, science, foreign languages, history, ethics, political science, economics, and a range of electives. In addition, the school offers a concentration program in the arts and a science research program. The Capstone Project during senior year allows students to focus on one type of academic area (such as the Capstone for Creative Writing).
Choate also offers a range of extracurricular activities, including eighty-one interscholastic teams in thirty-two sports (the school has a traditional athletic rivalry with Deerfield), academic clubs, and student-run publications.
The campus encompasses a blend of architectural styles from colonial homes and Georgian buildings to dramatic modern structures designed by noted architect I.M. Pei. 116 houses, dormitories, and classroom buildings grace the large campus. As of the June 30, 2007, the school's endowment was approximately $267 million.
There are many traditions kept by Choate Rosemary Hall. Among them are Matriculation, President's Day, Deerfield Day, the Physics Phlotilla, the Last Hurrah, the Garden Party, and Commencement.
President's Day is a day off from classes, declared by the headmaster on the night before. It is during the winter term, and is the subject of much speculation.
Deerfield Day, held during the last days of fall term, marks the end of the fall sports season. It culminates in matches between Choate and Deerfield in varsity girls and boys soccer, varsity boys' football, varsity girls' volleyball, and varsity girls' field hockey. Sub-varsity level teams also compete. Choate hosts a bonfire and pep rally the night before. During Dress Like Deerfield Day several days prior, the whole school dresses up in green or in very preppy outfits to make fun of Deerfield.
Another tradition, the Physics Phlotilla, takes place during the spring term. Students gather on the banks of the Science Center Pond to race makeshift cardboard boats, testing the principles of buoyancy—and often sinking.
The Last Hurrah, the year's last formal social event, is similar to a high school prom. Seniors prepare for the event by taking Senior Dance Lessons, where they learn ballroom dances. Each year, there is a dance contest, where students compete in the dances they have learned.
Garden Party, which is a Rosemary Hall tradition, takes place in the spring. Senior girls invite a junior girl and a faculty member. They exchange flowers, take pictures, and pass on Rosemarian traditions to the class of rising senior girls. A slideshow is also presented. Boys, in turn, have created a makeshift Garden Party, known as the "Parden Garty" and have recently been included for the slideshow portion of the event.
On the weekend (Friday evening through Sunday, with the exception of a few Saturday classes per year), many students can use the opportunity to "hang out" around campus or enjoy the weekend trips offered by the Student Activities Center (SAC). The John Joseph Activities Center has the Tuck Shop (Choate's cyber cafe), mail room, and school store. It is also home to pool, foosball, and air hockey tables, as well as video games, TV, a PlayStation, and a dance floor used every Saturday for the weekly dances.
COSA (Committee on Student Activities) runs all weekend activities at the SAC. Many formal balls, dances, and festivals each year at Choate are held in the Hill House Dining Hall.
Choate offers a wide array of sports. Most sports are offered in varsity, junior varsity, and thirds sections. Thirds sections are for newcomers or first-timers to a sport. Also, there is a selection of intramural sports that act as fun exercise without the hectic schedule of an interscholastic sport.
Competitive fall sports consist of cross-country, field hockey, football, soccer, volleyball, and boys' water polo. Crew in fall is considered an intramural sport. Competitive winter sports are basketball, ice hockey, squash, swimming and diving, and wrestling. Intramural sports include aerobics, dance, senior weight training, yoga, winter running (winter only), rock climbing, fitness and conditioning, strength training for girls, and senior volleyball. Spring sports include co-ed archery, baseball, crew, golf, lacrosse, softball, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and girls' water polo.
, previously known as The Choate News
, is the weekly newspaper at Choate Rosemary Hall. Now in its 101st year, The News
is one of the oldest high school newspapers in the country. The News has excellent coverage of both schoolwide and local events. Recently, The News covered the Choate-Karl Rove conflict in which Karl Rove was scheduled to be the commencement speaker but students strongly opposed. The News has also covered the access hole that was once found on the school's website in which confidential documents such as faculty salaries and student grades were open for public use.
In 2006, the 99th editor in chief, Thomas Kaplan, launched a fund raising campaign to make the News financially independent from Choate--like the Andover Phillipian and the Exeter Exonian are from their respective schools. In conjunction with the 100th editor in chief, Corey Sherman, the faculty adviser, Zachary Goodyear and the Choate Development office, Kaplan planned a News Centennial celebration to take place during the 2007 alumni weekend.
Dean of the Annenberg School of Communication, Geoff Cowan, was the keynote speaker and he was joined by various Choate alumni who are prominent in journalism today. The News still relies on Choate for funding and enjoys a great deal of editorial freedom; however, it is still campaigning to become financially independent.
Facilities and buildings
, the prominent architect, designed two buildings on campus, the Paul Mellon Arts Center (known as the PMAC) and the Carl C. Icahn Center for Science (formerly the Paul Mellon Science Center). These buildings are near each other.
Other main buildings on campus include Hill House Dining Hall, Paul Mellon Humanities Center, St. John's Chapel (pictured above), St. John Hall (mathematics building), Steele Hall (language building), Andrew Mellon Library, Pratt Health Center, Worthington-Johnson Athletic Center (formerly the Winter Exercise Building, or "Winter Ex"), the Student Activities Center, and Archbold (admissions building and upper form dormitory).
Freshman year, students are generally housed in dorms next to each other, separated by gender. Girls are put into Nichols or Squire Stanley and boys into "Mem" (Memorial Hall).
- Edward Albee, playwright
- Lauren Ambrose, actress (did not graduate, left after her sophomore year)
- Florieda Batson, hurdler, member of U.S. team at 1922 Women's Olympics
- Chester Bowles, Governor of Connecticut, Undersecretary in the Kennedy Administration, Ambassador to India and Nepal, Responsible for bringing Svetlana Alliluyeva (Stalin's daughter) into political asylum.
- Arne H. Carlson, Former Governor of Minnesota
- Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel
- Julie Chu, Olympic hockey player
- Glenn Close, actress
- David Colman. writer, New York Times columnist
- Jamie Lee Curtis, actress
- Bruce Dern, actor
- John Dos Passos, writer
- Michael Douglas, actor
- Paul Draper, winemaker of Ridge Vineyards
- Caterina Fake, founder of Flickr
- Bruce Gelb, former president (and son of the founder) of Clairol, former ambassador to Belgium
- Paul Giamatti, actor
- Philip Gourevitch, journalist, editor of The Paris Review
- Langdon Hammer, Yale English Department Chair
- Amanda Hearst, heiress
- Buck Henry, comedian
- Jung-Wook Hong, Korean Congressman, Former President of the Korea Herald
- Kim Insalaco, Olympic hockey player
- Bob Kasten, U.S. Senator
- John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the United States
- Whitman Knapp, federal judge
- Herbert Kohler, president of the Kohler Company.
- Alan J. Lerner, songwriter
- Alan Lomax, folk musicologist
- Ali MacGraw, actress
- M. Taylor McDonald, biologist, explorer, zoologist
- Paul Mellon, philanthropist
- Tift Merritt, singer/songwriter
- Robert Mosbacher, Secretary of Commerce
- Nicholas Negroponte, founder of MIT Media Lab
- Douglass North, Nobel Laureate in Economics
- Victoria Nuland, permanent U.S. Representative to NATO
- Tony Powell, Radio Talk Show Host
- Angela Ruggiero, Olympic hockey player, competitor on hit T.V. show The Apprentice
- Bill Simmons, sportswriter
- Tom Dey, director
- Martha Schwendener, lead singer/songwriter of Bowery Electric
- Adlai Stevenson, Governor of Illinois, UN Ambassador, two-time Democratic presidential candidate
- James Surowiecki, author, New Yorker staff writer
- Ivanka Trump, fashion model and businesswoman
- Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuk, Prince of Bhutan
- Bruce Nelson, History Professor, Dartmouth College
- The fictional character of Charles Emerson Winchester from M*A*S*H* listed Choate as the prep school he attended before going on to Harvard Medical School.
- The fictional character of Clifford Calley from The West Wing attended Choate before going on to Brown University and Harvard Law School.
- In Jon Stewart's Naked Pictures of Famous People, the narrator in the "Breakfast at The Kennedy's" story attends Choate as the roommate of John F. Kennedy.
- The fictional character Al Pike, from Catcher in the Rye, who used to date Jane Gallagher and showoff at the swimming pool (doing the same dive over and over, wearing tight swimming trunks), went to Choate.
- The television show The Family Guy had a character who attended Choate during the episode Road to Rupert, in which Stewie and Brian traveled to Aspen, CO to retrieve Rupert, Stewie's stuffed teddy bear. The show's creator, Seth MacFarlane, is good friends with Choate alumnus, Barclay DeVeau.
- In the television show Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law one of Harvey's rival lawyers, Evelyn Spyro Archingduke, prepped at Choate before getting his law degree at Yale.