Beyond the Classroom
Students in the Upper School know that their education is defined by more than academics, and Chapin supports them as they explore the world beyond the classroom. With a range of arts and athletics programs, opportunities for community service and peer leadership, and chances to direct their own learning or study abroad, Chapin’s Upper School is where students can realize their full potential.
- Club Nights
- Community Engagement
- Exchanges, Semester Away, Individual Studies, Internships & Partnerships
- Health & Wellness
- Performances & Art
- Upper School Clubs
- Upper School Robotics
Upper School students may participate in a wide range of individual and team sports.
Chapin believes that students' physical, intellectual, and emotional lives are interconnected. This tenet serves as a steadfast guide in our approach to interscholastic athletics, fitness, and health and wellness.
Our program encourages participation for all students and offers a distinct opportunity to cultivate leadership qualities, develop essential sport skills and experience the spirit of competition. We strive for personal fulfillment, while deepening integrity, resilience, and respect for oneself and others. Our athletic community celebrates and fosters a sense of belonging and a love of sport.
Chapin’s commitment to excellence through a multi-faceted approach to athletics fortifies our students' ability to thrive and lead in their lives beyond 100 East End Avenue.
Our program supports the mission of our competitive league, The Athletic Association of Independent Schools (AAIS).
As a founding member of the AAIS, Chapin competes against other league member schools: The Brearley School, Berkeley Carroll, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Friends Seminary, Hewitt School, Marymount School, Nightingale-Bamford School, Packer-Collegiate Institute, Saint Ann’s School and Spence School. Chapin teams have gone on to compete in postseason tournaments at the State and Federation levels and our squash team has competed at the national level. Our lacrosse team travels to Hilton Head, North Carolina for spring training and several teams have played in the New York City Mayor’s Cup Competitions.
A full listing of the team sports available to Upper School students is listed below. For further information please visit the Athletics portion of our website.
- Varsity cross country
- Varsity field hockey
- Varsity soccer
- Varsity tennis
- Varsity volleyball
- JV volleyball
- 7/8 cross country
- 7/8 soccer
- 7/8 volleyball
- Varsity basketball
- Varsity fencing
- Varsity indoor track and field
- Varsity squash
- Varsity swimming
- JV basketball
- 7/8 basketball
- 7/8 swimming
- Varsity badminton
- Varsity lacrosse
- Varsity track and field
- Varsity softball
- 7/8 lacrosse
- 7/8 track and field
Club nights are evening events for the Upper School, ranging from performances to holiday celebrations. These programs are fun and provide an enjoyable way for the entire Upper School community to come together. Attendance is not mandatory, however, to encourage participation, no homework is assigned for the day after these events.
Following is a list of the Club Nights:
- First Night - This event happens during the second full week of the school year. Students come together and play games, participate in talent contests, etc. It is a "Welcome Back to School" for returning students and a "Welcome to the Upper School" for Class 8 and new students. Dinner is provided.
- Halloween Club - This event includes a costume contest, scary movie, faculty skit, etc. It is one of the highlights of the year! Dinner is provided.
- Holiday Concert - This event happens just before Winter Recess and includes various performances of a wide range of music. It is a joyful way to usher in the holidays and the break! Parents are welcomed.
- Dance Club - Members of the Dance Club perform student- and faculty-choreographed pieces. Performances include a wide array of dance and music genres. Parents are welcomed.
- Drama Production - There is one mainstage Drama production per term in the Upper School. Productions range from plays to musicals to student-directed one acts. Parents are welcomed.
- 12th Night - This event happens in June. It is a time when seniors make speeches, say goodbye to the community, and thank the people who have been integral to their lives at Chapin. Snacks are provided.
Service learning is an essential part of Chapin's Upper School. Students regularly complete service projects at local soup kitchens, homeless shelters, senior citizen centers, and hospitals. Throughout the year students also plan and engage in service and advocacy efforts through fundraisers, supply drives, and volunteering for organizations such as: New Alternatives Shelter for LGBTQ+ teens, World Central Kitchen, Asian Mental Health Collective, New York Common Pantry, Project Cicero and Muslims Volunteer for New York.
While students are encouraged to participate independently in service learning and community service activities, Chapin's Upper School club system gives each the opportunity to investigate, plan, and take action in support of a cause. Chapin faculty members also play an integral role as facilitators and supporters of these activities.
Over the summer, a small group of Chapin students (and faculty advisors) attended the intensive two-week Student Global Leadership Institute (SGLI) at the Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii. The workshops, discussion and field trips begin a year-long program focused on engaging students in team-developed community engagement projects, addressing worldwide issues such as the environment, economics and globalization.
SGLI aims to develop an international cohort of youth leaders who understand and are engaged in shared global challenges and who galvanize positive social change. The Institute explores leadership development characterized by creativity, a capacity for problem solving, collaboration, communication and multicultural perspectives. The students implement the projects during their senior year supported by a diverse network of mentors, including faculty, non profit leaders and entrepreneurs.
Upper School students have multiple opportunities for self-directed learning outside of Chapin’s classrooms. Class 12 students may apply to complete an individual study, in which they work closely with a faculty advisor to design a project of personal interest. Students may apply for individual studies each term. The studies may be scholarly or creative; students in past years have compared Polynesian societies, transcribed and contextualized a Civil War soldier’s letters and designed a UV-filter for a water bottle.
Upper School students may also participate in several language and culture-based travel and exchange programs, which in recent years have taken place in Argentina, Australia, France, Italy, Jordan, Spain and Switzerland. During school breaks, the students travel with a small group of Chapin teachers to augment their language skills and to gain a better understanding of world cultures. In addition, Chapin has two student exchange programs: St. Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls in Perth, Australia, and Northlands in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which are open to students in Class 10.
Chapin students also engage in elective internships year-round, including remote positions with teams based in other parts of the world. Students work with Chapin's Coordinator of Internships to evaluate and pursue available positions in a range of professional fields. In addition, all Class 12 students immerse in a weeklong intensive internship as part of their senior spring. Chapin has ongoing partnerships with over 50 professionals and professional organizations, including Anderson & Associates, LLP, the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History, the Shubin Lab at the University of Chicago, the Griffin Lab at Johns Hopkins University, FXCollaborative, Merck Animal Health, the East Harlem School, Ariel Property Advisors, the New-York Historical Society, the MTX Group Inc., LEADERS Magazine, the Henry George School of Social Science, the Winter Show, and Chapin’s past and present Scholars in Residence, among many others.
"Who am I and how do I thrive?" is the over-arching question our Upper School students ask themselves in the Health & Wellness (formerly “Life Skills”) program. By exploring their identities, our world and the very definition of health and wellness, they learn to articulate their values and to stand up for themselves. As our students move through the Upper School, they develop the decision-making skills and emotional resilience needed to face the challenges of our dynamic world, both during their time at Chapin and beyond.
The Upper School Health & Wellness program is diverse and intimate, organized by our health educator and US counselor with support from the class deans and various other members of our community. During each academic term, students meet in small groups with Chapin faculty and expert consultants to discuss issues that range from sexuality and drug abuse to public speaking and writing resumes. Meetings take place during common times carved out during the school day. Additionally, both the health educator and counselor are available for student conversation and questions as needed, and nine students serve as Health & Wellness representatives in student Self-Government.
It is important that our Health & Wellness program be sequential and systemic in nature (guided by the National Health Education Standards) while still being responsive to the needs of our students. Frequent surveys of each class and conversations with the Health & Wellness reps, deans, and athletics teams help inform the direction of the program. This causes the curriculum to look slightly different for each class as they move through the Upper School, though a few staples remain. For example, throughout all five years of Upper School, students participate in a program which teaches students how to assess and ensure their physical safety using self-advocacy and self-defense techniques. Each year, the content builds on what students have learned in the past.
Whether they define themselves as painters, dancers, singers, actors, or all of them at once, all students in Chapin’s Upper School have a chance to express themselves creatively outside of the classroom. Each arts department — art, dance, drama and music — provides multiple opportunities for students to perform or exhibit their work. Some performances are by audition only, while others are open to any student who wishes to participate. Listed below are performance opportunities by department.
- Upper School Dance Club - student choreography
- Dance Ensemble - faculty choreography, open by audition
- Fall play
- Winter play
- Spring play or musical
- Choral Club
- Instrumental Chamber Ensemble
- Percussion Ensemble
- Holiday Handbell Ensemble
- The Kilts Rock Band
- Symphons - Classes 8 and 9 a cappella group
- Alleppaca - Classes 10, 11 and 12 a cappella group
The activities that fill Chapin’s Upper School during community time and after school are vast and exciting. Chapin’s extracurricular activities reflect fun with a purpose. Working closely with faculty advisors, students decide what their clubs should accomplish and plan related events. Clubs for the 2022-2023 school year include:
- Alleppaca (a capella singing group)
- Arabic Club
- Architecture Club
- Art Club
- Bioethics Club
- Book Club
- BREATHE (yoga and meditation club)
- Chess Club
- Chinese Club
- Choral Club
- Coding Club
- Comedy Club
- Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA)
- Dance Club
- Debate Club
- Drama Club
- Entrepreneur Club
- Ethics Bowl Team
- Film Club
- Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA)
- Instrumental Chamber Ensemble
- Investment Club
- La Lima (World languages literary publication)
- Limelight (school newspaper)
- Math Club
- Model UN
- Muslim Student Association
- Polaris (STEAM publication)
- Robotics Team
- The Kilts (school rock band)
- SAVE (environmental organization)
- Students Demand Action
- SHOFCO (Shining Hope for Our Communities club, builds awareness of/raises funds for our sister schools in Kenya)
- Spectrum (politics club)
- Students for Animal Welfare
- The Wheel (school literary magazine)
- WISE (Women in Science & Engineering)
- Women in Industry
- JV Yearbook
UPPER SCHOOL AFFINITY GROUPS
In the Upper School, affinity groups focus on the empowerment of students from groups historically marginalized in the United States. Aligned with the overarching vision articulated by NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools), our affinity group work provides a safe space for all participants to explore, unpack, and engage in conversation on the various interpersonal dynamics, beliefs and thoughts that shape our experiences as members of a community. Because of who we are, our identities and lived experiences will inform the conversations and work that we do in these affinity groups, which are supported by PC advisors. Affinity groups for the 2022-2023 school year are:
- Asian American Affinity Group
- BLAC (Black Affinity Group)
- La Familia (Latine Affinity Group)
- MENSCH (Jewish Affinity Group)
- Middle Easter Affinity Group
- Multiracial Affinity Group
Chapin's Upper School students have participated in FIRST (For Innovation and Recognition of Science Technology) Robotics for more than 12 years.
FIRST is a non-profit organization that promotes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) through various robotics programs across the nation and internationally. Participating in FIRST Robotics is an exciting opportunity for many of our students who are passionate about STEM and robotics. Click HERE for more information on FRC.
Upper School Robotics is an after-school program that runs throughout the school year. The team works together to build a robot and then competes in the annual local FIRST Robotics competition, usually in the first week of April, with a unique and exciting theme and challenge that changes each year. The Robotics season is divided into three segments:
- Pre-season (September to December): Veteran members of the team, under adult supervision, take on a leadership role by introducing the new members to FIRST Robotics and training them to use the various tools and equipment. The team also builds different parts of a robot and modifies the previous year's robot by augmenting its functionalities.
- Build Season (January to February): The team picks up a kit of parts on the day of the challenge reveal and has six weeks to build their robot, program it, and test it. Then, the team "bags and tags" the finished robot, and team members are not allowed to open the seal until the day of competition. During this process, the students work closely with adult mentors and coaches, most with a strong background in engineering, programming, and team building..
- Post-season (April to June): The team completes a debriefing and analysis of the build season and competition. They continue work on their robot, begin planning for next season, and fine-tune their designs and computer programs.
Building a robot that meets certain specifications is a challenging, exciting, and rewarding experience that allows our students to use their knowledge of physics and math to solve real problems with tangible results. FIRST's motto is "gracious professionalism," which means that all teams cooperate and compete at the same time. For example, any FRC team can reach out to other FRC teams for advice and help during the build season or even during competition. Working with a large group of people is a priceless skill that Upper School Robotics students acquire in the process. There is also ample opportunity for team members to hone their leadership skills, including acting as captains or co-captains of the team.