Roundtable Q&A Discussion About Hudson College (2021)
Hudson College alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Jane Gutcher, Brian Sahely, Taylor Stockwell had to say about the school.
- 1:51 - Why you chose Hudson originally? In what ways is Hudson what you expected and what maybe surprised you a little bit about the school?
- 7:53 - What do you think the biggest impact has been on your child?
- 11:01 - What in your experience do you think differentiates Hudson from other schools?
- Show Full Video Contents
Highlights from the Q&A discussion
Jane Gutcher — current parent
When Jane’s daughter first came to Hudson College, she came into herself and out of her shell. Later, Jane's son joined the school. Now that they are both in high school at Hudson, Jane says she appreciates the school’s uniqueness in many ways. The care and individual attention the teachers give to the students are a big part of it. Another factor is the tools the school uses to deliver education, such as Hudson's student laptop program and its exceptional STEM facilities. The biggest one of all, she says, is that Hudson feels like home.
My daughter really became a changed person at Hudson College. She came out of her shell. We really realized that we made the right choice. She was coming home and telling us about the conversations she was having in the classroom, about how engaging everybody was. We came to the conclusion that, even though Hudson is a little small, it actually created a great forum for her to be able to express her thoughts and opinions. We’re really happy now.
At her old school, she didn’t feel like she had a voice. She always felt like she wasn’t being taught so much as taught at. There wasn’t this inclusive sense of learning. At Hudson College, our daughter really came out of her shell. As a female student, she didn’t feel like she had a voice.
When our family came to Hudson College, one of the things our daughter really loved was how engaging the teachers are. They asked her for her opinion. Sometimes she can have very interesting points of view, but she felt like she was validated, and that it was okay to have those different points of view. I think that’s what really made her feel more confident.
One of the things that always is important for any parent is a high level of learning. Especially when you’re going to a private school, you’re paying for the education so you hope that you are getting a return on your investment. And definitely, with Hudson, we can’t say that we have anything to complain about, given the quality of the education.
We really appreciate how both of our kids are challenged. All of their teachers, it seems like they really get to know our kids and find what really motivates them. That allows them to really push our kids to their limits, so they can write a better paper, or solve the harder math questions.
The teachers are also really inquisitive and kind and they get to know the kids. They’re really caring. From what I’ve observed, I see those as the values of Hudson College.
Things like all STEM equipment they have, or how they have a big focus on collaborative discussions in class. These are all different tools that Hudson College is using. Or the laptop program. Hudson has so many things that make it a bit unique compared to other schools.
One of the math teachers at Hudson mentioned to me last year, when my daughter was in his class, ‘Well, we allow the kids to use computers and calculators, because this is what they’ll need to do in university.’ To me it shows how Hudson is really preparing the kids — not just to finish high school, but to be able to use the tools that are out there, and not pretending they don’t exist.
Our daughter recently told us that she actually misses going to school. She can’t wait for school to start — which is really strange for a 16 year-old to say in the middle of summer vacation.
My daughter feels that she has finally landed at the right place. She feels like the whole student body and the teachers are very caring. She really enjoys the fact that she has friends in all the different grades. When she’s in school, she feels like she’s part of a family there. She loves it.
Because Hudson is such an international school, my daughter has had friends from other countries, and friends from all the different grades. I think that was really great for her.
Brian Sahely — current parent
Before his daughter started at Hudson College, Brian faced a significant challenge. Instead of simply being a dad, he found himself having to also play the role of a teacher. Brian would spend hours providing the extra help she needed. At Hudson, all that changed. Brian can now enjoy being a parent again, seeing his daughter take charge of her own education. She is now entering high school at Hudson, and her younger sister is about to begin middle school there. Brian takes added comfort in knowing they're attending a school that reflects his own values: structure, consistency, and support.
The biggest impact that Hudson College has had on my daughter is that it has given her confidence. She never used to speak up, but she’s speaking up now. She has a lot more confidence now to speak up.
The teachers at Hudson have been so supportive of our daughter. They have been unbelievable. They made her feel comfortable and they made her talents shine through. All the money we’ve spent on Hudson, everything has been worth it to date, completely.
All the values that I grew up with, Hudson matches those values, and I definitely appreciate that. At Hudson College, they mandate structure and they mandate discipline. I believe structure is very important in any school. Growing up when I was a kid, all my schools demanded that. These days, I don’t see that as often at schools around here. But coming to Hudson, the school demanded it. It reminded me of how I learned when I was a kid.
Consistency is one of the big things that has frustrated us at other schools. Hudson is pure consistency. I know what I’m expecting, I know what I’m going to get from my kid, I know what I’m going to get from the school and the teachers.
These are my three words for why I love Hudson: consistent, structured, and supportive. Consistency is very important, to not confuse the kids. Structured: you give homework, you give tests, you give exams, you expect them to be done, you expect students to behave in school, so everybody knows what’s expected from them in school. There’s no guessing game, and that’s awesome. And supportive: if a teacher sees that a child needs help, they help them. If they need to give them extra time, they give them extra time.
When we visited Hudson College, we were just impressed. It was a small school, and it seemed family-oriented, but everything that we were hoping for in a school, we got it. We met a current student, who was honest about everything: He told us about how there’s a lot of homework at Hudson, and how they support you, and how they’re very structured.
Now that my daughter is at Hudson, I never need to ask her if she has homework, or if she’s done her homework. She’s more confident and independent now. She wants to do her work, and she makes sure she gets it done.
Before Hudson College, I used to have to do a lot of schoolwork with my daughter at home. But ever since she went to Hudson, I’m now able to be completely a parent. I’ve not had to tutor her even once. There’s no more tears. I’m now able to be completely a dad, and not another teacher. It’s made our bond strong.
As a parent, nothing makes you happier than seeing your daughter coming home and being so excited to tell you all these stories about what happened at school. What happened in class, what happened with friends, what happened with the teachers — for example, how they played this game outside and the teachers were actually playing with the kids as part of their team. And you see the glowing on her face, the excitement.
Taylor Stockwell — alum
Taylor is a recent graduate of Hudson College. She transferred there from another private school and says the change was remarkable. The most significant shift was social. Previously, she felt it was an environment where students in other grades seemed 'off-limits'. At Hudson, she found a place where 'everyone was friends'. She also appreciated how diligently the teachers at Hudson pushed her. When she first arrived, the low grades she received were a shock. However, they motivated her to push herself harder and acquire valuable study skills. After graduating from Hudson, she began studying psychology at the University of Guelph.
At my old school, while it was a private school, I think the teachers were a bit hesitant to push the students to their full potential. Especially if they liked the student, they would just give them a good grade. When I went to Hudson, I met a lot of teachers who weren’t doing that. I was initially getting bad grades, and I was shocked. It really motivated me to care about school and to care about improving the quality of my work. That’s something that I’ve carried with me at university. I got so much out of Hudson College.
The tri-semester system caught my parents off guard a bit, but I think it was the best system you can have for high school, because it allowed students to have about an hour and a half every day to do whatever work they had. It gave you structured independence, which was really cool, because it taught me how to manage my time and how to have a good work ethic, so that I had time to do things I enjoyed as well. I think the way that Hudson structures its classes with semesters made it a lot easier for me to transition to university.
When I started at university, I had a lot of friends who were shocked when they found out they had to do so much reading every week, because they didn’t go to a semestered school. But that was just something that I was used to after Hudson — it wasn’t a surprise to me.
There’s so many things that I loved about Hudson College. What I appreciated most was the community. It was a small school, and everyone knew each other. How accepting the students are, that’s one thing that differentiates Hudson. There are social dynamics, but everybody is friends. That’s something that I hadn’t experienced before at my old school. It was very cliquey, and not a very comfortable environment. When I got to Hudson, I was actually initially very guarded, because I didn’t understand that people would be so nice, and that everybody could be friends. Something that would surprise people is that everybody is friends, regardless of what grade they’re in. That’s truly something that didn’t exist at my old high school. If you were in a different grade than someone, they were just off-limits, you couldn’t talk to them.
Hudson is very unique in a lot of ways. Unique in a very good way. I think if Hudson College was a person, they would be very unapologetic. They would say things that others might not think of, but that everyone could eventually come to agree with.
I think Hudson has chosen to focus on students in an extremely creative way. They really prioritize each student’s success, instead of doing things the cookie-cutter way. I think you need that to really create change, because I don’t think the education system is incredible as it is — I think it’s kind of barbaric in a lot of ways, and I really love when I see high schools coming up with new ways to do things.