"We were driving to Auburn one weekend, and I said to my husband, 'You know, I think we might want to think about letting Rhett go shadow at Randolph.' A lot of his friends have done that through the years. 'We just ought to let him try and see if he likes it,'" says Randolph mom Jana.
So began the family's Randolph journey. Their son, Rhett '19, joined our Upper School last year. Jana and Dane share why they are glad they finally made the decision to come to Randolph.
This year Rhett is a Student Ambassador, so if you attend an admissions event, like Preview Day on October 19, you might get to hear his reasons #whyRandolph as well.
Juniors attend a series of college planning seminars with Mr. Allen and Ms. Forinash.
When it came time for the shadow day, I mentioned to someone in the Admissions Office that my husband was pretty skeptical about Randolph. So instead of touring the School, the Admissions Office arranged for us to meet with Rusty Allen, the Director of College Counseling. Mr. Allen listened to our concerns and he addressed every single one of them. We spent an hour in his office talking, and when we left, Dane said to me, “If Rhett wants to go, he can go.” And I'm like, “Wait a minute. I'm not even there yet!” – Jana
After we met with Mr. Allen, I told someone that even if Rhett decided he didn’t want to come here, I'm so thankful that we’d had that visit because I sure appreciate Randolph a lot more, and I'm proud to be from a city that has a school like Randolph. We had to come here and see it for ourselves. – Jana
"I'm proud to be from a city that has a school like Randolph."
After the visit day, I asked Rhett, "I'm sure you love the smaller classes, but what's something unexpected that you loved about Randolph? Like something weird?" And he said, "All the backpacks." And I said, "All the backpacks, what do you mean?" He goes, "All the backpacks lying in the hall." And I said, "I don't get it." He goes, "Mother, nobody is worried about their stuff being stolen. It is a whole different kind of world.” - Jana
In the beginning of the year, he started out kind of rocky in math, and he thought, "I don't know. This is not gonna be good. This is rough, and I'm having to catch up some.” And we said, “Go to your teacher. You have her cell number. She will meet with you any time. She said that at the Back-to-School Night.” And he said, "Yeah, but …" and we said, "Go to her." So he did. When he came home, he explained, "I went to her, and I told her, ‘I'm a good math student, and I like math, and I don't want to not like math, so can you help me?’" And it was all good. She saw the kind of student he was, and they worked through it. That's one real example of how he took something and figured out how to self-advocate, and he wasn't intimidated to do it. It gave him confidence. – Jana
The work here is harder, but it's not busy work; they're studying to learn, and it's different. We had noticed that a lot of the boys who went to Randolph who were our older son's age seemed very well adjusted to life in general. A little bit more sure of themselves. And now we are seeing that with Rhett. He likes having somebody believe in him, believe that he's going to do the right thing and have that expectation of him. So that just reinforces something to him, and he thrives. Our kids know when they are doing fine, but they are too young to know what it is to thrive. - Jana
The difference this year was watching him get up in the morning. It's how he carries himself. It's how he is more confident because he knows who he is, and the teachers believe that he's that kind of person. It almost makes me cry because when you see your son have that, that's going to make him a great man. I want him to be that confident and solid person. And Randolph—the teachers and the atmosphere—is giving him that. I tell people I just can't believe that we will get three years here. - Jana
In athletics, our son had to sit out a year because of the transfer, but he had the opportunity to pick up lacrosse because it's a club sport. He's played lacrosse for a whopping three months and loves it to death. He's excited about playing football for Coach Flanagan this coming year, and they're excited about him. - Dane
As a new student, coming to Randolph in the 10th grade, Rhett has a little more appreciation of where he is going to school. When they played Auburn High School in lacrosse, all these Auburn fans said, 'Your school is so beautiful.' We were sitting in the stands, looking at the cows, looking at the mountains, with the whole school behind us, and they were talking about what a wonderful facility it is. It made me proud to be here. - Dane
Above: The family enjoys the small school feel of a home game. Below: Rhett with his brother, Dane Jr. after a game this fall.
Last year, Rhett received an award for an essay he wrote about community service. The teacher told him what had made his essay stand out. It was just a little bit of feedback, but it’s valuable. Just that tidbit of information taught Rhett something about himself.
When we went to our first parent-teacher conference, Rhett had made all As, so we expected everything was great. We sat down, and all his teachers had written comments: I see this that you're doing in class, and you have done this, and you do this well, and I hope you continue to do this ... I just cried; they'd known him three months at that point, and they knew him as well as I do. Those kinds of things mean so much to me. For my kid to read those comments, and for me to know he is spending most of his day with these people who know him, that's huge to me. - Jana
We didn’t really understand what Interim was all about until we got here. I had the idea it was about travel, but there are also Habitat housebuilding trips and great opportunities for internships. Rhett shadowed Dr. Janssen for his Interim and loved it. Dr. Janssen planted a seed in him about what it takes to get into medical school. Church mission trips with a medical aspect are a great way to get experience. This summer, he and I are going on our church’s mission trip. It's going to be awesome. Rhett’s Interim experience opened and expanded his horizon for thinking about his future. - Dane
I love the pictures of Blue Crew, where Rhett and the football team are role models for the younger kids from the Lower School. I think that is such an awesome thing for a school to do. - Jana
"I think Randolph is the best decision we've ever made for our child, one that we'll never regret."
We thank Jana and Dane for sharing their story and some of the photos that accompany this post. If you have a story to share, please contact our Communications Office. If you want to learn more about Randolph, check out these posts, (Questions from the Floor, More Questions from the Floor, Got Questions? New Students Have Answers), consider attending an admissions event, or call the Admissions Office (256-799-6103).