Snyder's Sandwich: The Myth Of Private School


Public school gets a bad rap. The widely held belief that sending your children to expensive private schools assures them the chance to attend the best colleges and universities in the country is a myth. I have found through my own family and friends, all over this great nation, that the cream of the crop rises to the top. 

That holds true at Sandwich High School.

It has been rated as one of the top 500 high schools in the United States by Newsweek Magazine. It is a comprehensive four-year public high school enrolling approximately 800 students in grades 9 through 12. And, through the efforts of superintendent of schools Richard Canfield, next year Sandwich High School will be housing 1,300 students in grades 7 through 12, with its new STEM Academy. Of course, SHS is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and holds membership in the College Board and the National Association for College Admission Counseling. 

In the most recent year available—2013--the school had 268 graduates in the senior class. Of those,  67 percent attended four-year colleges or universities, 22 percent attended two-year institutions of higher learning, 5 percent joined the work force, and 3 percent joined the military. Also, 41 percent of that class achieved a 3.5 or better GPA, with 23 percent earning 4.0.


As for schools that accepted Sandwich High students, principal Ellin Booras can be proud of schools such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Arizona State University, Auburn University, Clemson University, College of the Holy Cross, Drexel University, George Washington University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Howard University, Ithaca College, Loyola University, Providence College, Purdue University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Seton Hall University, Simmons College, Smith College, Syracuse University, Trinity College, and Wesleyan University all welcoming to Sandwich High students—in 2013 alone!

And, some of the best state schools in the country also opened their arms, and their classes, to Sandwich High students. These include various branches of the University of Arizona, University of California, University of Delaware, University of Colorado, Colorado State University, City University of New York, State University of New York, University of Connecticut, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Maine, University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts, University of Memphis, University of Miami, University of Michigan, University of Missouri, University of North Carolina, Ohio State University, University of Rhode Island, University of Rochester, University of South Carolina, University of Southern California, University of Tampa, University of Vermont, and West Virginia University.

There are dozens of other excellent educational facilities across the nation which also accepted Sandwich High students. They include Baylor University, Bentley University, Boston University, Bryant University, Elon University, Emmanuel College, Hofstra University, Loyola Marymount University, Northeastern University, Norwich University, Pratt Institute, Quinnipiac University, Regis College, Sacred Heart University, Saint Anselm College, St. John’s University, Stonehill College, and the United States Coast Guard Academy.

Principal Booras tells Snyder’s Sandwich that there are 203 students in the Class of 2014.

Local scholarship contributions to date for the Class of 2014 are $87,000. (Scholarships and financial aid awarded by the colleges and universities are not shared with the school system, but hundreds of thousands more would undoubtedly be part of the equation of the 180 or so students who would be attending college).

As for where the Class of 2014 is heading, it’s a bit too early to tell. Adds Ms. Booras: “Each year, we do a comprehensive exit survey with our seniors the last week in May relative to college acceptances. We will be happy to share that data with you when it is collected and compiled.” 

Dr. Canfield wrote, “Life at Sandwich High School is framed around its core values of Performance, Respect, Integrity, Dedication and Excellence (PRIDE).”

Amidst the academic excellence are also great achievements in sports and artistic endeavors, along with outstanding music and theater productions. In the past year, the girls’ volleyball, soccer, field hockey and golf team all went into post-season play. A record number of students participated in a thriving theater program, and the Sandwich Soul, band and chorus, which Town Meeting members saw and heard last week.

As Dr. Canfield writes in the 2013 Sandwich Annual Report: “Feedback from our graduates provides us with the assurances that Sandwich High School stands tall in its commitment to preparing students as lifelong learners imbued with a sense of responsibility to the global community. The Town of Sandwich can take great pride in the accomplishments of its young people.”

Some people choose private school for religious purposes.  That is easily understood.  But, for those of us who pay the highest taxes on the Cape, it’s good to know that our money seems to be bringing us something very positive in return. After all, property values are directly in proportion to the quality of the school system. Watch out, Sandwich, your pride is showing.


FOREVER GAS TAX:  Many in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were upset when the Legislature passed a “forever” gas tax, which increased at the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), without having to cast another vote. Over 12,000 residents signed a petition to get this tax on a ballot, so that residents could vote on it. But, this week, the Ways & Means Committee rejected the signatures, and the ballot initiative. They can do that, according to law. So, the same group (“Repeal The Forever Gas Tax”) is attempting to get another 12,000 signatures—and they must be from someone who didn’t sign last time. Good luck to them.  If they succeed in getting those 12,000 signatures, the petition can’t be rejected, and The People will have a chance to do the democratic thing, and vote for their taxes to be increased for life. If the CPI goes down, the gas tax would not go down with it. Fair, eh? I’m sure they will be collecting signatures again at the Cape Cod Mall and at local post offices.

HERB GARDENS DURING THE PURITAN & COLONIAL PERIOD: The Town of Sandwich’s 375th brings another in the Talk of the Town speaker series at the Sandwich Glass Museum’s Hirschmann Theater. Admission is free. Seating is limited. Doors open at 6:30 PM and the program begins at 7 o’clock. On May 28, Carolyn McMorrow presents “Herb Gardens during the Puritan & Colonial Period.” As a retired owner of three successful restaurants, Carolyn’s interests focus on cooking, baking and gardening. She lives in the oldest house in Wareham (built in 1683!) and will tell of her use and delight in heirloom herbs. Enjoy!

FLEA MARKET & ANTIQUE SHOW: You can tell that spring is in the air! The Sandwich Bazaar & Flea Market is back in action Wednesday mornings! There is literally a huge field full of dealers, every Wednesday morning in the lot adjacent to Oakcrest Cove on Quaker Meetinghouse Road, from 6 AM to noon. In June, they will be starting every Sunday, as well, from 7 AM to 1 PM. For more information, call Lisa Davis at 508-685-2767 or go to

Mark Snyder, who has written more than 1,900 articles in newspapers and magazines, and published three books, is the CEO of, the Internet’s entertainment superstation. Have a story idea? He can be reached by e-mail at, on Facebook (Snyder’s Stoughton), and on Twitter (MediaMan2009). Write him via snail mail at Box 639, East Sandwich 02537.    


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