Northwood Seminar Program Gets Mixed Reviews

Noah Leddel ’23 (standing) leads a small group discussion about values in the living room at a Seminar in September 2022.

The Northwood Seminar Program, introduced to the school this past summer, has received mixed reviews from students. The weekly 45-minute-long program, which covers topics related to health and wellness, is intended to educate students on concepts and ideas they might not otherwise have the opportunity to explore and to provide a new perspective for decision-making. The seminars also earn students health credit, a state-mandated graduation requirement in New York. Seminar takes place on Monday, immediately following the only school meeting offered each week.

New students at Northwood have largely appreciated the seminars as a way to learn about valuable topics outside of their normal coursework. Olivia Levesque ‘24, a new junior on the Ski Team, praised Seminar. “I think it’s a great way to make us learn valuable things in life outside of a normal school course.” This sentiment was shared by many new students, some of whom are still adapting to life at boarding school and find the Seminars to be valuable and informative.

Returning students have been less enthusiastic. Many of these students have expressed frustration at the intrusion of the seminars into their weekly schedule and have suggested that they be held less frequently. Some have also pointed out that the length of the Seminars can feel more like a lecture than an informative discussion and have suggested that they be shorter in duration.

“They’re good, but I feel like they shouldn’t be every Monday,” Finley Donahue ’23, a senior on the Head’s Council who has been at Northwood for two years, said. “Maybe once a month. That free time could be super valuable,” he added.

Teagan Wentzel ‘24, a third-year junior who is also a student-leader, agreed. “If you’ve taken health already, I don’t think it should be required to attend Seminar. I dislike how long they are. It feels more like a lecture than an informative thing. I’m not getting much out of the ones that basically talk to you, but otherwise, they’re good.”

Overall, the new Northwood Seminar Program has positively impacted some students but has also faced criticism from others.


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