Behind the Shield Blog: Joining the Eternal BSM Family
The summer before our kids started at BSM, we already felt like we were a part of the community. My son Matthew, an incoming 9th grader, was encouraged to attend BSM summer lacrosse practices even before he had stepped foot inside the school. I remember it was late June and I dropped him off for a two-hour practice on the turf field. I was anxious. I didn't know what to expect, and I didn't know if he would fit in. I came back a little early to spy on the end of practice, but when I looked out on the field, I didn't see him. I thought something must have gone wrong. When practice was over, and the players started coming off the field, I realized why I had not seen him. He started practice in a miss-mash of equipment and gear from his old school and club team; but when he came off the field, he was completely decked out in BSM equipment and gear. I didn't recognize him because he looked exactly like all the other players that had been there for years. He was already fitting in and school didn’t officially start for another couple of months. The coaches and older players wanted to make sure the new guys felt welcome and make them feel like they were part of the BSM family.
I asked him about the new equipment, and he said, “That’s how we do it at BSM.” He used the word “we.” It made a huge impact. It was at that moment that I knew my son had made the right choice to become a Red Knight. A picture taken of Matthew that day in all his new BSM LAX gear even made our Christmas card that year.
Later in the school year, our 7th grade daughter Catherine had a similar experience. She ended up ski racing for the high school team, and once again I was nervous that she would not fit in. She was younger and she was new. I was worried that the older kids may not be as welcoming with a junior high student. When I went to her first race, I was blown away by what I saw. The older kids not only wanted her around, but they also protected her, and treated her like a little sister. They cheered harder for her than I did that day as she raced down the course. It was truly amazing. I looked at the older girls on the ski team and I said, "That’s it - that's what I want my daughter to be like when she is in high school."
Done correctly, high school should be a family experience - It “takes a village” as they say. In other school environments, it can feel like one size fits all. At BSM, it is completely different. We were asked to get involved right away and we really felt like we had a voice in the community, like we mattered, like we belonged. BSM made it clear we were all in this together.
At BSM, there are so many different types of people, and so many different opportunities, that everyone has the ability to fit in, to feel comfortable, to feel like they belong, and to feel like they can contribute to the community.
I recently helped set up for the open house and I could not believe how many sports, clubs and activities were available to BSM students. I went to a self-proclaimed "top prep school in New England" and I know we didn't have anywhere near the number of opportunities available at BSM. It's doubtful that in the moment, current BSM students realize how lucky they are. When they look back after graduation, however, I have no doubt they will understand how fortunate they were to attend BSM and how fortunate they are to be part of the eternal BSM family. I know my kids will.
Our family volunteers whenever possible for school functions, committees, etc. One of the things I like most about those commitments is the opportunity to speak with families new to Benilde-St. Margaret’s. I tell new BSM families the same thing I tell my kids: “Life is not a dress rehearsal. If you want to matter, get involved. At BSM you don’t have to look hard to find ways to do just that.”