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.
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.
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.
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).
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