A Transformative Experience in the Lives of Our Students
VES is a safe and powerful environment in which students and faculty learn to live together with purpose and accountability. It's also a community where we participate in deeper learning that extends throughout and far beyond the academic day. VES’ goal: happy, healthy, high-achieving kids.
Through the full breadth of our programs—academics, student and residential life, character and spiritual development, faculty advisory, athletics, the arts, and service learning—VES students acquire the core competencies essential to succeed in today’s world.
VES strives to deliver a world-class student and residential life program that serves the needs of our teenagers. Our program success is reflected in both the great kids growing Toward Full Stature in our community and our 97% retention rate—one of the highest retention rates of boarding schools in the nation; the national average for attrition at boarding schools is 10.5%.
VES has held steady at only 3% attrition over the past three years.
Students, their parents and our graduates speak about VES as a transformative, life-changing experience. Come learn about it firsthand. We look forward to being an important part of your child’s journey Toward Full Stature.
Our Student and Residential Life Program
VES created the Student Life Program—a four-year student-development curriculum that is unique among boarding schools. Our faculty, who are expert at helping teens navigate their journey to adulthood, leverage the latest science about the adolescent brain and the challenges teenagers face today to guide students in real conversations, provide practical tools and teach students how to live healthy and productive lives.
4 Main Challenges for Teenagers Today
VES addresses the four main challenges related to brain function and development in the context of learning and multitasking, stress and memory, sleep, addiction and decision making:
Substance Abuse → social norms, prevention
Stress and Anxiety → mindfulness, exercise
Technology → navigation of electronic media
Health and Wellness → sleep, nutrition, managing relationships
Building Skills Year-by-Year
From their first days on campus, students participate in the Student Life Program. In 9th grade, the focus is on Self. We introduce them to solid study skills, proper sleep habits, mindfulness and stress reduction, nutrition and the importance of exercise—all with the goal of setting them up for success. Sophomores.
In 10th grade our students focus on Community. They learn the Importance of values, diversity and inclusion, and being citizens of the world. We explore societal, communal and personal values and the role those play in decision-making, relationships and leadership. We then help students apply these values to the world around them and how they live within the VES community and as global citizens. Juniors.
In 11th grade students focus on honing their Leadership skills. With outside speakers and hands-on exercises, students explore their own leadership styles and strengths. At VES, juniors lead and participate in service learning projects that allow them to practice their leadership skills in an authentic setting. Students also have the opportunity to serve as Junior Resident Assistants. Seniors.
In their final year at VES, students begin to articulate their Legacy. They practice their leadership skills and prepare for the transition to college. They now have the skills they need to apply for and assume the highest level of student leadership available at VES—including Head Counselor, Honor Committee Chair or serving as members on the Counselor Body and Honor Committee. Our hope is that all of our seniors will be “everyday leaders,” providing the school community with a healthy and caring culture.
Leadership and Service Across All Grades
- Each year, students participate in service learning and giving back in the community in meaninfgul ways.
- They learn about digital citizenship to help them navigate the challenges of electronic media in the 21st century.
- Student Council members and Class Representatives take ownership of organizing activities for their classes and the school.
- Students take on a variety of leadership roles in the more than 30 clubs on campus.
- We encourage leadership through many other venues—in the classrooms, advisory groups, dorms, on the athletic fields, in chapel and hosting prospective students on campus.