Providence Day: Profile
In a larger high school, Garrett Ellison would be a rarity. Not only is he the student body president, he's also a football player, technical director of the theater, and a member of the swim team. But in a school as small as Providence Day, with a senior class of 125, students aren't trapped in cliques. "You can be both a theater kid and in the SGA," says seventeen-year-old Ellison. "As you get older, you start to realize you can be friends with everyone."
Ellison is a prime example of the well-rounded students that Providence Day is trying to create. In addition to his activities and community service, he juggles a challenging course load that includes three Advanced Placement classes. But the school's teachers and coaches understand students' busy schedules and often push back tests and assignments to help them during busy weeks, says Ellison, a friendly teen wearing Converse sneakers, jeans, and a black collared shirt.
"We're trying to challenge them with some degrees of rigor and yet we are supporting them as best as possible through other means," English teacher Eric Hedinger says.
A PDS "lifer," Ellison has gone to Providence Day since kindergarten. As a lower-school student, he looked up to the older kids. Now students he doesn't even know high five him when he's wearing his football jersey. Ellison says he appreciates the school's enthusiastic teachers and the small classes, where students feel comfortable sharing their opinions and personal experiences. He's had rare opportunities like attending a leadership conference in Costa Rica and going on an art history trip to Italy.
Ellison will be sad to leave Providence Day come graduation, but he feels prepared for college: "I'm looking forward to being able to go out and see how I stack up against other people."