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Roxbury Latin puts emphasis on character, rigor

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Roxbury Latin puts emphasis on character, rigor
Mahamud Hashi (Photo: COURTESY ROXBURY LATIN)

When Mahamud Hashi was a sophomore at Roxbury Latin, he played in a soccer game that, to the outside viewer, was of little consequence. On a rain-soaked field, Mahamud’s junior varsity team faced a fierce league rival. “It was a pretty scrappy game,” he recalls, “and competitive the whole way through.” The game was tied late in the contest, and the referee called a foul on the opponent, granting R.L. good field position and an important opportunity. “James Jaffer took the free kick,” Mahamud remembers. “He placed it in the box. I headed the ball, which bounced off the post, and then Ben Stick finished it off.” Mahamud joyfully recounts the moment his team netted the final goal, and clinched a thrilling victory.

Now a senior at The Roxbury Latin School in West Roxbury, MA, Mahamud recalls this moment with less emphasis on the victory itself, and more on the atmosphere: the intensity of the match, the camaraderie of his teammates, the support of the fans, and the thrill of the moment. “At a lot of other schools, people wouldn’t take a JV game that seriously. It just wouldn’t matter. But I knew that my teammates and coach were taking it very seriously.” Mahamud also points to the enormous fan support on the sidelines that day: “It felt like my entire grade was there to support us—it felt like a varsity game. I remember our excitement—we ran over to the bench and gave each other hugs. It was a great celebration of something we had accomplished together.”

Such moments are common for R.L. boys. They suggest that competition is alive and well at the school—that boys are given opportunities to get out onto the fields, to bear down in tight spots, and to fight hard for their team and their school. Whether it is a moment on the playing field, like Mahamud’s, or another instance, like that fluttering inhale before a boy voices his first words on stage, Roxbury Latin provides boys the chance to strive for something great in a safe learning environment. Moments of peak focus and concentrated exertion test boys’ mettle and prove to them not only their talent, but also their courage to answer the call. Roxbury Latin believes that these lessons—learned in classrooms, on athletic fields, in concert halls—are transferrable moments of discovery that prepare students to enter larger contexts and to engage broader communities, having forged their resolve and honed their skill.

Mahamud lives in Roxbury and attended Roxbury Prep Charter School before entering Roxbury Latin as a freshman. As seniors, he and his 49 classmates are helping to lead the student body this year. A small school of 300 boys (an easy, ten-minute commute from Forest Hills), Roxbury Latin is dedicated to preparing boys for lives of purpose. Through rigorous academic training and a consistent focus on character development, the school instills in boys a sense of what is true and virtuous, charging them to honor and defend those virtues throughout their lives.

Roxbury Latin’s small size naturally fosters lasting relationships. Our faculty professes to know and love each boy, and the careful work of advisors allows the school to fulfill this fundamental promise. Each boy has an adult in the community with whom he meets weekly. That support, along with learning specialists, dedicated classmasters, and teachers who are available and eager for extra help sessions, ensure that boys are cared for and supported throughout their R.L. years.

For the second summer, Mahamud worked as a counselor at the Roxbury Latin Soccer Clinic, one of the school’s many summer enrichment offerings. He volunteers his time serving as a big brother to a new seventh grade boy. Mahamud recently returned from an overnight camping trip in New Hampshire, where a group of senior leaders and faculty orchestrated an orientation experience for boys new to the school. Even with a demanding course load, Mahamud prioritizes contributing in these ways. This generosity and selflessness that Mahamud exhibits is common among boys on campus. Students regularly give their time to tutor other boys, lead activities, and pitch in where needed.

“Your classmates become your family,” says Mahamud. “When I first arrived here, I didn’t feel quite as comfortable talking openly with my peers, or sharing with them as I do now. After spending so much time together and getting to know your classmates, it’s easy to confide in them. You begin to realize how much you have in common, and you find a new family here at R.L.” Mahamud feels the school’s structure helps generate these lasting peer bonds. “You are always with a different mix of kids—in the lab or at lunch or for group work.”

Mahamud sees the people of Roxbury Latin—the students and adults—as one of its greatest assets. He values the relationships he has formed as a true friend to many of his classmates and a selfless supporter of the larger school community. He is one of 300 motivated and capable boys who attend Roxbury Latin and ensure that it remains a vibrant environment of learning and growing. Roxbury Latin is a distinctive community comprised of boys from various backgrounds contributing various talents. To learn more about Roxbury Latin, please visit www.roxburylatin.org, or contact us at admission@roxburylatin.org or 617.477.6317.