By Megan Seckman

Here are five skills from West End School you can apply to your own kids at home.

Table Manners. Each boy is required to put a napkin on his lap, properly use a knife and fork, keep elbows off the table, and sit up straight. If a woman enters, all boys stand and they jockey over who gets to pull out the chair for her.

Respect for authority. West End School teaches students that there will always be an authority figure who will hold you accountable, so you need to learn to respect that relationship. For example:
If an adult is speaking, you are not. If you want something bad enough, you should be willing to cut your hair for it, even if your new dreads are your most prized possession. If an adult asks you to do something, you must trust that they have your best interests in mind.
You must give up luxuries in order to achieve your goals (i.e. no phones, gaming devices, or girls at WES).

Cleanliness. There is no janitorial staff at WES. All students are required to clean the classrooms, bathrooms, and dormitories. Although Debbie says this is the most painful part of the day — she’s seen a boy take 45 minutes to sweep seven stairs — it is integral in building responsibility and respect for self and those around you.

To be a man is to be responsible. “We always say ‘This isn’t a hotel,’ and we expect academic success and the development of discipline and study habits. We are trying to get these young men the future they envision.”

Everyone must participate. At WES every student, regardless of ability, must be part of the sports teams. Debbie says the development of skill is amazing to watch from 6th to 8th grade. The students all graduate as student-athletes.