Upper School

Ninth Grade Experience

There are so many leadership opportunities at Fairfield Country Day School, however, the greatest opportunity to steward the School and student body is through the ninth grade experience.

What it Means to Be a Skyhawk

Whether a young man enters in the middle school years or has attended FCDS since Kindergarten, our ninth grade program elevates their role at the school. As presidents of the Student Council, role models for the boys, and ambassadors of Fairfield Country Day School, the ninth grade students exemplify all that it means to be a Skyhawk.

Along with the advanced curriculum which includes biology, geometry, world languages and western civilization, the boys lead all-school debates seeking solutions for global issues of poverty and refugee crisis. Leadership is reinforced through off-campus adventure programs and special privileges and responsibilities afforded to these oldest boys to best prepare them for their future secondary school experience.

List of 3 items.

  • An Opportunity to Lead

    The ninth grade year is a unique one for FCDS boys. As the oldest students in the school, they are expected to serve as role models for the younger boys as well as accept certain leadership roles within the school and throughout Fairfield County. The academic work is more demanding than in the past. Truly, it is their first year of high school. As all those in the FCDS community know, there is more to the experience here than just academics.
  • An Opportunity to Grow

    While the ninth graders are delegated increased responsibilities, there are numerous benefits as well. Some are immediately evident: leading positions in the student council, yearbook, and the art and literary magazine; access to certain dining room options; and the use of the Blue Door, long an FCDS tradition. Other benefits may be less tangible at first, but are valued highly by both faculty and alumni. Interactions with teachers take on a different tone, as the dynamic shifts toward mentorship. And a conscious effort is made by the faculty and administration to assist the boys in understanding and appreciating their new role as the school’s leaders. While many friendships established at FCDS become strong ones, the ninth grade experience often cements those friendships into lifelong ones.
  • An Opportunity to Contribute

    Boys who opt to experience ninth grade as “seniors” learn how best to approach the academic rigors they face in a small group environment. This creates the ideal dynamic in which young men can engage themselves, their peers, and their teachers in intellectual discussion. At the Commencement ceremony in June, one ninth grader is awarded the Blair Award, voted on by the faculty and awarded by the Board of Trustees. The Blair Award is given to that boy that best exemplifies the qualities that FCDS values: integrity, scholarship and respect.

Gavin Guteral ’17, Choate, University of Saint Andrews

The ninth-grade year at FCDS granted me a unique amount of responsibility compared to entering a conventional four-year high school as a freshman. Being a member of the eldest group in a single-sex environment means that all eyes – both those of younger students and faculty – are on you. This opportunity to lead by example solidified values – namely, integrity and respect – that helped me navigate boarding school and beyond. Furthermore, the memories and friendships I created during my final year at FCDS have been equally as important and enduring as the values the ninth-grade year instilled in me.

Hayden Zelson ’12, Choate

The decision to remain at FCDS for my 9th grade was formative in my growth as a character, student, and person. The 9th grade experience is an excellent mixture of good times, and challenging academics. When I arrived at school following my 9th grade experience, I was prepared for the challenges that high school would bring.

Tom Balamaci ’93, Phillips Academy Andover, Brown University, Wharton School of Business

I would stress that ninth grade gives you the chance to lead: whether it's captain of a team, editor of the Blotter, president of the student council. That's a rare opportunity for a 14-year old to have at school. I went into sophomore year at Andover more confident (where the class size almost doubles anyway.) You don't miss anything by not starting as a freshman; in fact, if I was in their shoes, I'd weigh leadership at FCDS against "starting at the bottom" again as a freshman. To me, there was no question it was the right choice.
Fairfield Country Day School (FCDS) is a private, all-boys day school in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Founded in 1936 by Laurence W. Gregory, the school has admitted only boys since its inception. As per our mission: Fairfield Country Day School provides an educational community dedicated to the development of impactful young leaders of character and purpose; ready to face the everyday challenges and pivotal turning points of their lifetime with confidence, courage and compassion. Its balanced and challenging program is designed to help each student expand his desire and ability to acquire knowledge, capture his imagination, stimulate his curiosity and creativity, and enhance his self-esteem and respect for others. Each boy’s individual growth is encouraged in an environment that anticipates the future while appreciating the past.

FCDS admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

FCDS is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. We prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, marital status, or any other legally protected status.