Inspired to Greatness
Students at The Hun School of Princeton enjoy a personal, innovative academic environment
by Stephanie Twining

The Hun School of Princeton is an independent college preparatory school perched along three hilltops in Princeton, N.J. Serving 600 day and resident students in middle school, upper school and post-graduate programs, The Hun School is a 24-hour, culturally diverse campus, in one of the most academically-minded communities in the world. Graduates attend an extensive roster of competitive colleges and universities.

The 45-acre campus has three distinctive areas. Students call it “live, work, play,” in reference to the life of balance that is encouraged and the facilities that reinforce it. Behind historic Russell Hall, dormitories flank an iconic expanse of lawn known as the Mall. Students, faculty and families play tennis, Frisbee, and beach volleyball on the Mall, as well as enjoy an annual carnival held in honor of the school’s founder each spring.

“The relationships built in our relaxed, joyful atmosphere are the foundation for trust and mentorship in the classroom,” says Headmaster Jonathan Brougham. “Character and conduct are reinforced through a shared community expectation. Students regularly join faculty for dinner, on day trips to historical sites, to university programs, and for excursions to New York and Philadelphia. We are very proud to be able to combine teaching with camaraderie.”

The Chesebro Academic Building is spread across another hilltop, adjacent to the middle school and activity center. In the fall of 2010, the school began a new academic schedule with more room for project-based learning and interdisciplinary collaboration. Students acquire 21st century skills from faculty who take the time to know them personally. They learn ethics and leadership skills, the ability to communicate with exceptional written and oral skills, and receive advanced college preparation.

Traditional courses might take place around a Harkness table or among a sea of iPads. Or, a student can produce his own episode of CSI in collaboration with his media arts, theatre and forensic science teachers. Lessons are dynamic, innovative, personal and un-prescribed.

“At Hun, it’s not only the adults who teach, even though we have great teachers,” says Upper School Head Ryan Hews. “Our students are frequently inspired by one another. Peer groups are powerful influences. Therefore we often facilitate learning among students, and guide them to their own understanding.”

On the outskirts of campus lay the Landis Family Fine Arts Building, James M. Byer ’62 Family Amphitheatre, athletic center and fields. Arts and athletics are an integral part of The Hun School experience. A number of Hun School alumni have achieved fame through the arts and even more have enjoyed collegiate and professional athletic careers. However, without the pressure of greatness, both are disciplines that all students are required to explore.

“Kids discover their talents, likes, and dislikes through the arts. At Hun, their creativity and self-confidence grow in a safe environment, among supportive friends,” says Fine Arts Department Chair Dave Bush.

Likewise, The Hun School is well known for its athletic achievements. But, the powerhouse perception is an external one.

“Yes, we have highly completive teams at the varsity level … winning is fun!” explains softball and field hockey coach Kathy Quirk. “But our overall program is built on a teaching philosophy. We want to encourage teamwork, wellness and commitment through sports.”  

176 Edgerstoune Road, Princeton