Perspective: The Four Year Survivor

The term “four year survivor” is used at Northwood to describe anyone that has gone to our school from freshman year to graduation. At a school where the majority of the senior class enrolls for their junior year, this is a special occurrence. In my graduating class, there are ten four year survivors. Seniority, a type of social ranking that increases the longer you’ve been at Northwood, makes being a four year survivor much better.


“Four-Year Survivors” from the class of 2016.

Northwood runs on traditions: this is one thing that I learned straight away my freshman year. When Mr. Good was headmaster, we had school meeting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with almost no missed days all year. We also had 6:30 breakfasts and 4:30 study halls as a form of punishment for anyone that got in trouble. Now, it feels as if the school doesn’t have simple punishments anymore.

Aspiring four year survivor Aude Marie 18’ said “I like being a four year because it means you’re getting the full Northwood experience.” The first time four year survivors were recognized in Epitome, Northwood’s yearbook, wasn’t until 2003. It is likely that the term “four year survivor” was coined much earlier in Northwood’s history, but records of its existence don’t appear until the 21st century.

The current graduating four year survivors spent their first two years here under Headmaster Ed Good while our last two years have been under Michael Maher. Good was the traditional type, he was someone who was difficult to get to know and strict at all times. He trusted the faculty members to do their job and worked as an overseer. Maher is almost the exact opposite, you will always see him saying good morning and asking how you are.

Not only were these headmasters significantly different, but also the school itself is completely different now compared to my first two years. The winter schedule used to have classes in the morning, sports in the afternoon and more classes at night. Today, winter schedule now consists of sports in the morning with classes after lunch.

Another prominent change to the school has been the addition of the Headmaster’s Council. The Headmaster’s council is a group of seniors hand-picked by Mr. Maher. The group often meets with Mr. Maher to discuss what is happening in the school and also to handle some disciplinary actions.

Another new change is in admissions. This year, Northwood received a record number of applicants, forcing the acceptance rate below 40% for the first time in school history.

I am happy that I got to experience at Northwood under the guidance of both Ed Good and Michael Maher. The two headmasters have had different approaches to running the school, but both have worked well. Maher’s vision for the future is promising, and I believe that being a four year with two very different headmasters has completed my Northwood experience.


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