Day and Boarding; Grades 6-12

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Aneka Bell

Female teacher in front of blue blackground smiling."Pennington is very student-centered. This is a school that takes into consideration not only how to teach each child, but also how every child learns.

My biggest hope for my students is for them to be successful. I tell them that I don’t care if they remember glycolysis or the Krebs cycle years from now, because what I really want them to leave Pennington with is a sense of self; the knowledge that they can do whatever they set their minds to. I recognize that everyone gets to the finish their own way. And it's my job to help my students realize that, while their ways of getting to the finish line may be different from each other, they will all make it there on their own.

I teach freshmen, and teachers of freshmen create a kind of Pennington bubble for them. It is warm and fuzzy and nurturing. It enables us to teach the necessary skills. So if they fall, they fall. But in the bubble, they can fall. And then they learn from it. We give students the skills that they need so that when they do face a setback or a challenge, they’ll still be able to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and continue to move forward.

Sometimes in our society, we feel that we need to be like everybody else, and it can be hard to think or to say, ‘I’m not going to be like you, I’m going to be like me.” I believe that here at Pennington, you are given the permission to be yourself. One of the things I like most about Pennington is that we recognize our differences, but we also celebrate them. The students come out and support other students at every venue, and their teachers are also there for them. And that I think is wonderful."