Boston Latin School, Boston, MA is by any standards an old public high school. Age often brings with it experience and excellence. Such is the case with Boston Latin School. It got its beginnings in the early 17th century and its teachers , students and programs today continue to make it a public school easily competitive in its accomplishment with many private schools and academies in the nation. What makes Boston Latin School the jewel of the Boston Public School system and the dream school for many Boston students? Tradition, selectivity and alumni support seem to be central.
The Latin School Tradition. There are no other public schools in the U. S. today that can match the tradition of Boston Latin School, Boston, MA . This proud institution was established a full year before the founding of Harvard University. With an opening date of April, 23, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA now stands as the oldest public school with a continuous existence in the nation.
There is more to the Boston Latin School, Boston, MA tradition than simply age. BLS has stood the test of time, it is true. But while it was doing so it was education some of the brightest minds in MA . Young people graduating from BLS went on to become teachers, doctors, lawyers and hold prestigious positions in the Boston and Massachusetts communities.
From the beginning BLS has prided itself on teaching students the humanities and also teaching them the importance of “dissent with responsibility” which has led students to think as we would say today “outside the box”, to challenge the establishment but to do so with regard to the good of society . BLS has always demanded high personal and academic standards from its students. There diploma from BLS has connected each graduate with an unsurpassed tradition of achievement by men like Cotton Mather, John Hancock, Ralph Waldo Emerson, George Santayana, Sam Adams, Arthur Fiedler and Leonard Bernstein.
With great frequency those who read local papers in Boston discover that this or that important citizen in Massachusetts, especially in the Boston area is a graduate of this noble public school. It is no wonder that young students in Boston looking ahead to their high school years see BLS as the pinnacle of educational opportunity and many strive to attain it.
Recognition for the this fine old school comes not just locally. in 1981 Money Magazine rated BLS as one of the 12 top public schools in the nation. In 1992,94 and 95 Redbook Magazine rated BLS as the best school in Massachusetts ( public or private ). Former Headmaster of Boston Latin School, Boston, MA., Cornelia Kelley was the latest in a long series of educational innovators who added to the BLS mystique through the addition of new music and arts facility on the campus of BLS and presided over the construction of an incredible new high school library , the envy of schools across the state and beyond.
Selectivity. Boston Latin School, Boston, MA has kept its record of accomplishment at the maximum level in part because of its selectivity. BLS is a public school which means that no tuition is charged here. Students are not denied entrance to BLS for lack of funds. What gets you into Boston Latin School first of all is being a Boston resident. But beyond that BLS is known to Boston parents and students as an exam school. People don’t go to BLS because it is their neighborhood school. They go here only if they qualify via the exam process.
In Boston, MA there are three examination high schools. There is Boston Latin Academy in the Dorchester section of Boston, the O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science in the Roxbury section and Boston Latin School in what is called “the Fenway”. section of the city. Admission to all of these schools comes as a result of the evaluation of school grades attained in grades 5-7 and an entrance exam administered to all applying students.
The success rate of BLS in forwarding students to top colleges and universities each year is no accident . It is at least in part the result of pre-screening which sends only the brightest students along to BLS for college preparatory work.
Just as selective is the recruitment of teachers to man the ranks of the faculty at BLS. Well prepared and degreed teachers are the norm here and all enter with the knowledge that they have a great reputation to uphold. The benefit of course is that teaching students at BLS generally means teaching very few students who are disruptive or without academic ability.
Alumni Support. One is often amazed by the quality of the equipment and extra opportunities that seem to present themselves to BLS students. Most are less amazed when they become aware of the Boston Latin School Association. As old as many public schools themselves, the Boston Latin School Association was founded in 1844 in an attempt to provide financial support for the school library.
As one might imagine those who have attended this prestigious high school recognize the roll their high school alma mater played in their education and are financially in a position to give back something in return. And they do, annually. Today the alumni association continues to respond to the needs of BLS through fund raising activities like wine tasting parties and alumni dinners in chapters spread across Massachusetts and beyond.
Without the financial backing of the Boston Latin School Association it is unlikely that BLS, as a public high school, would be able to provide its students with many of the extras that they now take for granted.
Boston Latin School is a one in a million institution. It’s students have much to be grateful for – a noble tradition, the chance to go to school with academically advanced students and an excellent faculty and the support of a well to do alumni association bent on maintaining school excellence. One would only wish that every child could have the benefits of such a “public school” education