It's a social world out there.

Here is what I need you to do.

Posted on: July 22, 2009

Convincing someone of something won’t just happen. Being convincing, in a real way, begins with something much bigger. Before you can convince others of something, you must have already fully convinced ourselves of its worth. Truly believing in something is the only way you will be able to make a legitimate argument for it. This means more than just, hey check this out, I like this, and it means join me in backing this up.  I would argue it also means investing yourself in continued learning on the subject, whether it is a person, animal or organization. The whole process of finding something to believe and invest in takes time and emotional connection; I would argue this is much easier said than done. So you’re probably saying, does this girl believe in anything?

I will admit, there not many things in life I am deeply passionate about. Is this a bad thing? I would argue no, I’m 24 years old and have just now begun to find things in life that are truly rewarding to me.  I was lucky enough this year to find something that honestly touched my heart and made me believe in its cause. This thing is Stoneleigh-BurnhamSchool and its devotion to educating young women.

Stoneleigh-Burnham School has been educating young women since 1869. I like to lead off by mentioning that none of the five schools that have formed SBS were finishing schools. The deeply rooted goals of Stoneleigh-Burnham School lie in giving young women the tools they need to be productive members of society.  Thousands of girls have left SBS to become bright successful young women; a SBS alumna might be your surgeon, child’s teacher or local news anchor. Stoneleigh-Burnham School is a place that leads young women into successful career paths.

So now you are wondering what the problem is, SBS sounds like a great school providing young women with what the need to be successful in the real world.  It will be no surprise to hear that the School is struggling because of the economy and its recent down turn.  We have seen a decrease in enrollment due to families who are trying to cut costs. It has also become apparent that parents and alumnae are also no longer to give as much to the School as they were during better times.

Why is this problem, shouldn’t the school be able to function off of endowment and tuition and fees paid by current students? The answer is no, tuition and fees account for only 75% of Stoneleigh-Burnham School’s expenses, thus we rely on annual fund donations every year. Your gift of $10,000 would be an indescribable help for the 2009-2010 school year. Your money could allow SBS to accept a student in need of financial aid, or buy art, dance or equestrian supplies, in whichever shape your funs could take the School would be exceedingly grateful.

You must consider what makes Stoneleigh-Burnham School worthy of your money, why should you chose to donate here when so many others need funds as well. I will start with how important and worthwhile single-sex education is for adolescent girls.  There is clear evidence in many forms that girls perform better in a single-sex environment.  A recent story in the Sunday Times (London, England) writes in support of an all-girls environment, stating;

“Getting the best for girls has always been a vexed issue. Do they do better in single-sex schools or when taught alongside boys? In recent years single-sex schools have been tarred as old-fashioned and antiquated, a throwback to the Victorian era, but a report published last week looks like the last word on the issue: girls really do better in single-sex schools.

The study, by The Good Schools Guide, followed 700,000 girls and found that those who sat GCSEs in single-sex state schools all did better than could have been predicted by their scores at the end of primary school.

By contrast, 20% of those who attended co-ed schools did worse than could have been expected from their school records, aged 11. The effect was even more marked among less clever girls.

Janette Wallis, who commissioned the research, said: ‘To disregard the evidence of this study would be a mistake. We never expected to see such a difference.’ According to Wallis, although her research focuses on GCSE results, the findings hold true for sixth-form study too.

‘Attending a single-sex school is likely to have a positive impact on girls’ academic performance up to the age of 18,’ she said. “ (1)

This Sunday Times excerpt in just one in thousands that have been written around the benefits of a single-sex education. I can tell you as a young woman who attended co-ed schools all my life, that there is huge benefit in an all-girls education.  Having worked with, taught and lived at SBS, I have seen young women grow socially, emotionally and physically in ways that they would have been unable to in the company of boys. This sounds cliché, I know, but I can’t tell you how true it really is. In an atmosphere like the one provided at SBS young women have the ability to teach one another, while in a co-ed environment turn to competition rather than camaraderie.

This year as I watch girls turn into young women right before my eyes I realized just how much a single-sex boarding school education can give someone.  Girls from Korea, Taiwan, China, Mexico, Germany and across the United States come to Stoneleigh-Burnham School each year and learn about life. They learn things many won’t until adulthood, true respect, friendship and social skills to name a few.  This School does more than your run of the mill high school, give to Stoneleigh-Burnham School and you will give a young woman a top-notch high school education. The School needs your funds to make the 2009-2010 school year an amazing one for a girl who deserves it.

Whether she came from Rwanda having lost parents in the 1994 genocide or St. Marrten where she lived in a beach side villa, she needed Stoneleigh-Burnham School and the education it provided her. Without your financial support Stoneleigh-Burnham School may not be able to continue to provide a high quality education to young women.  Take the time to think about how influenced you were by your middle and high school teachers, how those years truly shaped life, give your funds Stoneleigh-Burnham School needs to continue to positively shape the lives of young women from across the world.

1) Learning the true benefits of a single-sex education; Girls’ schools have been under a cloud, but new research shows they are still top of the class, says Sian Griffiths.(Features). March 22, 2009 p6Sunday Times (London, England), p.6. Retrieved July 21, 2009, from Academic OneFile via Gale:
http://find.galegroup.com/gtx/start.do?prodId=AONE

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