, Newburyport, MA


February 5, 2014

My years in all-boys schools


I feel most fortunate that I had the opportunity to experience this type of education. Following graduation from Newburyport High School in 1942, I went to a private military academy. It was an all-boys school in Virginia. The experience was terrific. Not having girls around didn’t cause any problems. We were too occupied with school work and sports to care. Because of WWII, I could only attend for one year. The next year it was the U.S. Army. There were females in the military then, but none where I spent my time. Again, I’m pleased because we had to concentrate on being a soldier.

As in school, not having that distraction of girls around worked to our advantage. Oh, we got to a USO dance occasionally. This took up all my time for 2 1/2 years. Following the end of the war I went off to college. Where did I end up going but to an all-male Boston College. Back then, there were no girls on campus. That worked out fine too.

Graduating from there, my first job was teacher-coach at an all- boys prep school. My second job was at St. John’s Prep. That was pretty tough because the students were all serious about school. There was no fooling around. It was hard for a first-year teacher. You had so much to learn. After three years I was able to get a teaching job in public schools in Newburyport. But all those years were beneficial to me. I’m certainly glad I had those years in separate schools and situations with just guys.

Going to co-educational schools is great too, but I really don’t know what I missed. About all schools are co-educational today. There are a couple of things I don’t understand. One is, why is it so expensive? Another is that there are dormitories for girls and those for boys, so why do they need co-ed dorms? I’m certainly grateful for the way things were in my day.


Robert “Boots” Chouinard lives in Salisbury.

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