Leslie & Patrick Knott
proud parents of Sarah '16
As a student from a good suburban Columbus high school, I met several CSG peers at a college admissions event. We all had similar academic qualifications, but every one of these girls had something more. As a 16 year old, I couldn’t define it, but I knew I didn’t have it and that if I had a daughter, I wanted her to be like these young women. When our daughter was 18 months old, my husband and I came to an admissions event, and he quickly understood why I was so passionate about a school I had never attended.
Fifteen years have flown by, and the qualities I saw in those girls have been realized in my daughter. She is confident and inquisitive, just as she was when she started at age 3, and at age 17, she hasn’t lost her enthusiasm and curiosity about the world. Her poise in all kinds of situations is remarkable, and her relationships are strong and respect for and from others is evident.
‘All girl by design’ means just that – girls learn differently from boys, and at CSG, girls learn how to learn. From the earliest years, faculty and staff take the girls’ natural curiosity and wonder and turn it into experiences wherein lessons are learned intrinsically, not in an abstract, sterile classroom setting. My daughter knows how to find out the information, organize it, analyze it, come up with the appropriate result – an answer, a hypothesis, an opinion – and then communicate it. It isn’t memorization, drill, or rote learning; it is real-life learning, and it starts at age 3. When my daughter started in the 3/4 class, she and her classmates were given the task of taking care of the squirrels in Squirrel City by the Form I girls who had conceived and built it (with adult help) during their time in the PYC. Last year, my daughter, who was then in Form XI, and her 4/5 “brain buddy”, along with their classmates, designed a full size treehouse so that the little girls could be a part of Squirrel City. Parents helped build it, and it is a treasured addition to the PYC playground – the children have seen their vision brought to fruition, and the younger ones have enhanced a tradition.
All girl by design doesn’t end at academics. My daughter is a multiracial only child, and she is graduating with 52 sisters who are a rainbow of races and religions, with different socioeconomic backgrounds and diverse interests. They may not all be best friends, but they celebrate one another’s successes and provide support in difficult times. She has had fantastic friendships with older girls who were some of the best role models I could have asked for, and because of their examples, she has developed similar relationships with younger girls. Whether these girls have been here for a year or a lifetime, CSG has worked its magic to make them a family.
All girl by design also includes extracurricular activities. In Upper School alone, she has represented CSG as a Gold Key Ambassador, an athlete, a Grace Note, a Thespian, and a teacher. In Lower School, she performed in operas staged in conjunction with Otterbein University. She has had the opportunity to learn in exciting locations: Yellowstone National Park in Lower School, Spain in Middle School, and the US Virgin Islands and China in Upper School. She has had leadership opportunities galore, serving as section leader in choir, team captain in lacrosse, set crew lead in plays, and co-chair of games for Senior Day. The breadth of experiences, combined with the fact that every leader she encounters is female, makes it safe place to try new things and a rich canvas from which to choose.
All girl by design means that I have a young woman who will not just fly, she will soar after she leaves 56 S. Columbia. In a letter she wrote to Michelle Obama, she summarized better than I can what her CSG education has meant to her (it impressed Mrs. Obama enough that she responded with a handwritten response!). The most succinct quote from it is this: “Every girl is special, and every girl has the potential to be great.” Hearing our Lower School girls sing “I am a promise, I am a possibility” each year at Lower School Day fills me with joy, because girls leave CSG believing that with every fiber of their beings.