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Roxbury Latin prepares students for college and life beyond

10/12/2011, 1:45 a.m.

With fewer than 300 boys in grades 7-12, The Roxbury Latin School, located in West Roxbury (an easy 10-minute commute from Forest Hills), is a small school that strives to prepare its students not only for college, but also — more important — for life. It is hard for boys at Roxbury Latin to “fall through the cracks” because we pride ourselves on knowing and loving every boy. At Roxbury Latin there are a number of extracurricular activities that expand and challenge the abilities of our students. We offer programs in sports, music, drama, community service, public speaking, debate, Model United Nations and school publications. Our boys possess richly diverse talents and do not confine themselves to only one or two extracurricular activities.

One boy, Kani David of Roxbury, now beginning his senior year, has taken full advantage of the academic and extracurricular opportunities at Roxbury Latin. Since his arrival in the ninth grade from the Roxbury Preparatory Charter School, Kani has excelled in the classroom, taking a demanding course load and consistently earning honors grades. Last spring he earned an excellent score (4) on the Statistics Advanced Placement Exam, and he is currently taking two other AP courses (Calculus and Economics).  

Kani admits that his academic achievements did not come easily. “I was used to being one of the smartest kids at my previous schools,” he remembers, “but at R.L. I was surrounded by students working just as hard as I was and was faced with more challenging classes.” Yet, after growing acclimated to that new rigor and rising to the challenge, Kani began to appreciate Roxbury Latin. “We can have a casual conversation in class, but we always relate the discussion to the books we are reading,” he said. “The students like to have fun, but they are willing to work hard. I never feel like I am being forced by my teachers to learn the material, because the fun atmosphere they create is conducive to learning.”  

Kani’s passion for learning, cultivated at Roxbury Latin, will serve him well as he continues his studies in college. After attending the LEAD summer business program on at the University of Virginia, he has become interested in that school, as well as Duke University and Boston College. Kani still plans to apply early to his first choice — Harvard University.

Beyond the classroom, Kani has also found success at Roxbury Latin by participating in sports and other activities. He is now captain of the varsity cross-country team, a sport that did not interest him at first. But several teachers encouraged him to stick with it, and he now is thankful for that guidance.

“I am glad I was pushed out of my comfort zone by adults here to try new things,” he said. “It has made all the difference in helping me form relationships with peers and grow as a person.”

In addition to running cross-country, he has been on the varsity track and field team for three years, and he plans to run long-distance events for the team this spring. Outside of the athletic realm, Kani sharpens his public speaking skills in the Debate Club, has been a part of the drama program, and acts as a tour guide for the Admission Office.  

Kani’s willingness to engage and give back to his community extends to his life outside of school. Every year he has returned to his former charter school to be a tutor for younger students, to help the next generation receive the same educational opportunity that he has earned and experienced. This speaks volumes about Kani’s character. And this devotion to a range of school and community activities is actually common among boys at Roxbury Latin. The school’s participatory culture helps boys realize that there is more to life than one’s own pursuits.

Students who attend Roxbury Latin are well prepared for the challenges and opportunities of life, because they understand and embrace the words etched into a frieze in our dining hall: “From those to whom much has been given, much will be expected.” Kani is an excellent example of the motivated and selfless boys who proudly belong to the Roxbury Latin community.