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Roxbury Latin dedicated to preparing boys for lives of purpose

Special Advertorial Section — Student profile: Senior Hamilton Coiscou

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Roxbury Latin dedicated to preparing boys for lives of purpose
Hamilton Coiscou (Photo: Photo: Mike Pojman)

“Looking back, I see how fortunate I have been. I realize that not everyone gets to experience all that I have.” Hamilton Coiscou, a senior at The Roxbury Latin School in West Roxbury had this to say as he reflected on a recent service project in the city. As a pallbearer at the burial of a deceased homeless man in Boston, Hamilton was struck with newfound appreciation for his supportive community of friends and family. “Just to think how I might have lived that life and had no one to claim me, no one to be at my funeral—it forces me to step back and cherish what I have.”

Roxbury Latin seniors have joined in this service initiative at the school for the past five years. The service project is named Ave Atque Vale, meaning “Hail and Farewell,” an allusion to the poet Catullus’ elegiac tribute to his dead brother. For Hamilton and for his 53 senior classmates, the experience serves as a reminder of our humbling dependence on one another.

Such is the sensitivity and awareness that Roxbury Latin hopes its students will gain during their years in the school. A small school of 300 boys (an easy, 10-minute commute from Forest Hills), Roxbury Latin is dedicated to preparing boys for lives of purpose. Through rigorous academic training and a consistent focus on ethical formation, the school endeavors to instill in boys toughness and tenderness, as well as a driving impulse to lead and serve in their communities.

Roxbury Latin has a robust program in which academic curricula challenge boys to think deeply and consider the impact they wish to make in this world. Beyond the classroom, boys get involved in a number of extracurricular activities, including sports, music, drama, community service, public speaking, debate, Model United Nations and student publications. Students strive for excellence in all that they do, and they do a lot. This intimate community relies on broad participation in order to maintain its healthy programs, and boys are encouraged to take risks by involving themselves in new activities. Exposure to these many programmatic offerings serves to challenge what is comfortable and familiar for boys and to encourage their growth through new experience.

Through his own active involvement in school life, Hamilton has ventured forth from his Dorchester home and traveled the world. School-sponsored trips to Canada, Italy, France and Greece have enhanced his knowledge of the cultures and languages he has studied in French and Latin and History classes. Such travels have also invited Hamilton to consider the world through a wider lens. He is now more aware of the contexts in which he lives, and he operates more independently. “I was so much more dependent on others before [my trip to] France. My parents would wake me up each morning and drive me everywhere. Living with a host family and being on my own [for that month-long immersion experience] definitely helped me to mature.”

Roxbury Latin’s athletic program has provided Hamilton opportunities to learn new sports and to flourish in those he has chosen to pursue. There is a strong emphasis on participation and competitive, fair play within the school community, and Hamilton provides a wonderful example to younger boys of how hard work and consistent effort can yield impressive results. He recalls the experience of breaking the school record in the 100-meter distance during a track meet last spring: “I remember coming off the blocks. I was with this kid who had won the 100-meter last year, but there was a gap and I was behind. Anyone who knows track knows a gap is a hard thing to make up in that short distance. I remember crossing the finish line and yelling out because I had put all of my energy into it. I had no idea I had even won the race.” Hamilton is captaining the Varsity football team this fall, and he will captain the track and field team as they endeavor to reclaim the league title this spring.

Roxbury Latin’s small size naturally fosters lasting relationships. The school professes to know and love each boy, and the careful work of advisors allows the school to fulfill this fundamental promise. Each boy has an adult in the community with whom he meets weekly. The work of supporting a student does not stop there. Learning specialists, direct contact with teachers for extra help sessions, and ever-vigilant classmasters ensure that boys are cared for and supported throughout their time in the school.

As a senior in his sixth and final year at Roxbury Latin, Hamilton feels a responsibility to help younger students adjust to the rhythms and expectations of the school. He is working all year alongside a seventh-grade boy in his first year at Roxbury Latin. Hamilton plays the role of big brother in this relationship, helping to anticipate moments of the year and shepherd his younger partner through the experience. Hamilton is also a senior leader in the Sixie Seminar, a program that invites younger boys to discuss questions of character and integrity and social pressures. Hamilton will be crucial in guiding boys through those formative conversations. He recently returned from a camping trip in New Hampshire, where he helped organize and lead seventh-graders through an orientation experience.

“Good leaders set good examples,” Hamilton reflects. “People are always taking note of your actions, so you have to be accountable at all times.” Hamilton understands that he has benefited from his opportunities at Roxbury Latin. He is a scholar-athlete, a world-traveler, and a natural leader. He understands that he must now help others as they embark on their journey through the school.

He is one of 300 motivated and capable boys who attend Roxbury Latin and ensure that it remains a vibrant school of learning and growing. Roxbury Latin is a distinctive community comprised of boys from various backgrounds who offer various talents. If you would like to learn more about Roxbury Latin, please visit the school website (www.roxburylatin.org), email the admission office at admission@roxburylatin.org, or call the office at 617.477.6317.