Talk with students at Dwight Global Online School about student life, and you will learn it isn’t just one element that makes it exceptional.
It isn’t only the creative House system, or the vast array of virtual clubs or traditions. It’s not just the reliable homeroom camaraderie, or the fun and helpful weekly Advisory meetings that students rave about.
It isn’t even exclusively the exciting in-person opportunities at Dwight brick and mortar campuses all over the world, including New York City, Seoul, Shanghai, Dubai, and London.
What really makes DG’s student life stand out is the global perspective of the talented and passionate students themselves, and the school’s emphasis on building strong, consistent, and abundant opportunities for interactive student involvement distinct from academics.
“Our students come from all over the world, but what they have in common is that they all want to learn while feeling a part of something bigger than themselves,” said Dean of Students Dr. Anthea Lake. “We may live in different time zones and countries but we come together as one.”
I especially love how our students are always willing to participate in extracurricular activities. We are an online school with a strong sense of community and camaraderie. That’s the foundation for what makes us a great online schoolDr. Anthea Lake
One way the school builds community is through its house system. At the start of the year, students are assigned to one of four houses: red, blue, yellow, or green. Each house has a captain who encourages students to get involved, providing students with a feeling of belonging and tradition and offering them a chance to be leaders.
The houses compete throughout the school year in various contests, and the winning house accumulates points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points is the winner.
“It’s less about winning and more about bonding and making lasting friendships,” said Dr. Lake, who introduced the house system to Dwight Global. “The houses form such strong bonds, and that gives our students confidence and spirit.”
“Students are drawn in from the moment they are sorted into a house at the beginning of the school year, ” said senior Samantha Randall, Head of Green House and co-president of Student Ambassadors. “Immediately, students find a fun, supportive group they will always be able to rely on. We are always there for one another, whether during a large school event or in our everyday classes!”
Dwight Global senior Daniel Reichfeld, president of National Honor Society, thinks clubs are a fantastic way to have fun, relax, and meet people with the same interests. Students can choose from nearly 30 virtual clubs, or create their own.
“One of the clubs I lead is Math Club, where math lovers get together and practice for national and international mathematics competitions,” said Daniel. “The clubs are also really flexible with everyone’s schedules. Club leaders determine the best time for everyone. That way, you’ll most certainly get to join, no matter what part of the world you live in.”
“Something I really like about the clubs at DG is that they don’t have to be scholastic in any way.” he continued. “My friend created the Mixed Media Club, a place where we get to talk about our geeky interests ranging from Harry Potter to musicals. We play trivia games, rank our favorite movies, or talk about whatever new piece of media came out that week.”
Below are a sampling of other Dwight Global clubs:
- Science Club
- Creative Writing Club
- Parliamentary Debate Club
- Diplomatic Leadership
- Global Issues Network
- National Honor Society and National Juniors Honor Society
- Book Club
- International Mindfulness Clubs
- Lexicon & Spelling Bees Club
- Student Ambassadors
- Dwight Daily
- Public Policy & Activism
- Language Clubs
Dwight Global is unique among online schools for offering students multiple opportunities throughout the year to visit Dwight physical campuses worldwide. Students attend orientation, conferences, performances, competitions, and other events and activities.
“My first in-person experience was performing at Carnegie Hall when I was in eighth grade, and it’s something I’ll never forget,” said senior Caroline Hendrickson, Head of Red House and co-president of Student Ambassadors. “The moment I stepped on that beautiful stage, the gilded tiers of seats barely visible, I was struck by the fact that this was Carnegie Hall–one of the most iconic artistic places in the world.
Caroline continued: “But what meant the most to me was the time I spent backstage. I shared a dressing room with a group of dancers from Shanghai. We didn’t have a language in common–not literally–but we quickly found that that’s not as large a barrier as it seems to be. I was dancing ballet and they were dancing a traditional Chinese dance, but we had the same passion in our hearts.”
Samantha said she’s been lucky to participate in a multitude of in-person Dwight experiences since freshman year.
“Orientation is packed with fun events; we’ve visited the Top of the Rock, the World Trade Center Observatory, walked the Brooklyn Bridge, and attended a Yankees game. My favorite part of orientation is simply the interaction between both students and faculty; we spend lots of time just walking around the city, and I love walking with a teacher that I may have already had or might have in the future, just getting to know them as a human being,” she said. “The energy at this event is unmatched. As we learn about the school itself, we also learn about each other and ourselves.”
Samantha has also attended STEAM Weekend, which takes place at Dwight New York and brings students into the science labs.
“I remember using a bunsen burner for the first time and learning about chromatography paper during one weekend, where our goal was to solve a “murder mystery” using science,” said Samantha. “We also attend Broadway shows and visit museums. I’ve been to the Museum of the City of New York, as well as a tenement home museum on the Lower East Side. I return from STEAM feeling well educated, and also having had a great time!”
Advisory, Student Ambassadors, Student Buddies, and more
Dwight Global Online School also offers students weekly advisories, a weekly newsletter, homeroom time, and a chance for students to work as student ambassadors.
Daniel said attendance to advisory meetings is optional, but there’s always a huge student turnout whenever one is hosted.
“After all, advisories are one of Dwight Global’s many “interactive spaces” where students get to be around each other in a non-academic setting,” he said.
“These events are led by faculty and by students themselves,” Daniel continued. “Both faculty-led advisories and student-led advisories are a blast. I had the opportunity to lead a student success panel with a couple of my peers. We talked about how to excel at Dwight Global by managing time properly, using different study habits, and sharing our own secret tips. We kept it fun and interactive by allowing students to give their own suggestions, which resulted in an advisory session where everyone learned something and benefited from it.”
Student Ambassadors are involved in the admissions side of Dwight Global, working with DG’s Director of Admissions, Ms. Madison Awalt.
Ambassadors have three jobs–speaking about Dwight Global at Virtual Open Houses, speaking with prospective students and answering their questions, and taking on Student Buddies at the beginning of the school year to help new students feel comfortable and acclimate them to an online environment.
“The Student Buddy program introduced me to my best friend,” said Daniel, who also serves as a student ambassador. “Student Ambassadors act as bridges between Dwight Global and prospective students. We give these potential peers of ours a glimpse into what it is like to be a student at this wonderful school. Dwight Global’s incredible dedication to integrating students gives everyone the brick and mortar experience, sometimes even going beyond that!”
Dwight Global Online School creates community among its parents, as well, with a vibrant and active Parents Community that provides unique opportunities for parents and students to come together to explore common interests in different parts of the world.
“Dwight Global Student Life is special because of its close-knit, vibrant community,” said Samantha.
In an online school, where one might expect to feel isolated, Dwight ensures that everyone feels engaged and involved in things they are truly passionate about.
She continued: “The sheer amount of ways to become involved in DG Student Life speaks to the quality of the environment itself; students find smaller families within our larger community, whether that is through the house system, clubs, or advisory sessions. New students are integrated seamlessly into student life, often leading various activities by the end of their first year in the school. A welcoming environment creates a sense of comfort with one another. We know that we will always have a home at Dwight Global.”
Visit Dwight Global here to learn more about the school and its academic programs, admissions, and the Dwight global network of schools. In 2021, DGOS was ranked #2 Best Online High School by Newsweek.
Written by Caroline Crosson Gilpin