Veteran journalist Lauren Gilger — known for her work covering small communities — recently captured The Orme School’s sense of community and history in her story: From Horsemanship to Robotics, Students Thrive At Arizona Boarding School.
I often get asked directly, or, rhetorically, “are there boarding schools outside of New England?”
To which I reply, “heck, yes.”
Boarding schools beyond New England aren’t as numerous, or concentrated, but, they often offer educational flavors and experiences that you can’t get from their better known New England cousins.
The Orme School is one of the western boarding schools that offers flavors and experiences unlike most of its kin.
Rural, Orme is a working cattle ranch; it’s small, and worldly, at the same time. It is, like any boarding school, a world of its own.
Instead of in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, or the Midwest, Orme is an hour north of Phoenix (not a hotbed of boarding education) but a great place for Orme, and its students, to be different.
“It’s most definitely like a little town. We have ‘Intro to Horsemanship’ this year and, I think, horse training, which I did my sophomore year. We had a colt-breaking class,” Orme student Remington “Remy” Phinny explained to Gilger.
“There’s gardening, horsemanship, swimming, football, there’s robotics. The 3-D art program was a big selling point,” added upperclassman, Elijah Smythe.
Beyond the student comments, Gilger adds, “They said there’s also glass blowing here, blacksmithing, sustainability class and, of course, cattle branding in the spring.”
Like many small schools, Orme began as a school run by a family, and their values continue shaping the school’s mission today.
Sheila June as junior Sheila June tells Gilger, “I just wanted something different, you know? And Orme offered that.”