Roxbury Latin puts emphasis on character, rigor

10/12/2017, 6 a.m.

When Mahamud Hashi was a sophomore at Roxbury Latin, he played in a soccer game that, to the outside viewer, was of little consequence. On a rain-soaked field, Mahamud’s junior varsity team faced a fierce league rival. “It was a pretty scrappy game,” he recalls, “and competitive the whole way through.” The game was tied late in the contest, and the referee called a foul on the opponent, granting R.L. good field position and an important opportunity. “James Jaffer took the free kick,” Mahamud remembers. “He placed it in the box. I headed the ball, which bounced off the post, and then Ben Stick finished it off.” Mahamud joyfully recounts the moment his team netted the final goal, and clinched a thrilling victory.

Now a senior at The Roxbury Latin School in West Roxbury, MA, Mahamud recalls this moment with less emphasis on the victory itself, and more on the atmosphere: the intensity of the match, the camaraderie of his teammates, the support of the fans, and the thrill of the moment. “At a lot of other schools, people wouldn’t take a JV game that seriously. It just wouldn’t matter. But I knew that my teammates and coach were taking it very seriously.” Mahamud also points to the enormous fan support on the sidelines that day: “It felt like my entire grade was there to support us—it felt like a varsity game. I remember our excitement—we ran over to the bench and gave each other hugs. It was a great celebration of something we had accomplished together.”

Such moments are common for R.L. boys. They suggest that competition is alive and well at the school—that boys are given opportunities to get out onto the fields, to bear down in tight spots, and to fight hard for their team and their school. Whether it is a moment on the playing field, like Mahamud’s, or another instance, like that fluttering inhale before a boy voices his first words on stage, Roxbury Latin provides boys the chance to strive for something great in a safe learning environment. Moments of peak focus and concentrated exertion test boys’ mettle and prove to them not only their talent, but also their courage to answer the call. Roxbury Latin believes that these lessons—learned in classrooms, on athletic fields, in concert halls—are transferrable moments of discovery that prepare students to enter larger contexts and to engage broader communities, having forged their resolve and honed their skill.

Mahamud lives in Roxbury and attended Roxbury Prep Charter School before entering Roxbury Latin as a freshman. As seniors, he and his 49 classmates are helping to lead the student body this year. A small school of 300 boys (an easy, ten-minute commute from Forest Hills), Roxbury Latin is dedicated to preparing boys for lives of purpose. Through rigorous academic training and a consistent focus on character development, the school instills in boys a sense of what is true and virtuous, charging them to honor and defend those virtues throughout their lives.