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Summer of Saints: Griffin Fillios '20

Summer of Saints: Griffin Fillios '20
Meredith Berry-Toon

Griffin, an incoming Fifth Form student from Ohio, is ready—and has been for many months—to start at Canterbury this fall.

Growing up, he spent two and a half years living in Shanghai, China while his dad was working for an automotive company overseas. Griffin attended an international school and spent time with his family travelling all over Asia. These years were a formative and unique experience during his adolescence and, as he puts it, "really transformed the way I think." When the family returned to their home in the States, it was a bit of reverse culture shock for them all, though, especially Griffin. "I felt like there was a disruption in my education, and I didn't like that."

For Griffin and his family, Canterbury offered a balanced mix of what he has been searching for since they returned and he started high school: the structure and independence of a boarding school, a curriculum of rigorous core courses and electives he could choose himself, and a similar type of academic intensity and cultural engagement that he once experience at his international school in Shanghai.

Griffin plans to compete on the Saints Hockey team this winter—one of the pieces of why he chose Canterbury—but not the only pull. "I'm definitely looking forward to the balance of athletics and academics," he notes. "I want to be at a place where I can do both and don't have to give up anything to make that happen." While hockey in Ohio where he lives is popular, there aren't that many options for players if they want to continue intensely with both hockey and school work. Canterbury, he feels, is that cross.

Griffin's academic interests range—literature, drawing, and astronomy are all courses he hopes to take in his two years at Canterbury—and he's excited to be able to explore them all. The AP English Literature course is of particular note on his mind. While he has already taken an AP English course at his current school in which the teacher focused on writing composition, he is looking forward to honing his skills as an analytical thinker and creative writer in Literature.

While boarding school wasn't necessary something on his radar, a few family friends who had gone away for high school recommended Griffin look into the idea of attending one. While it was definitely a difficult decision to choose to move away—"as it would be for nearly anyone," he notes—he is really happy and ready to be here in the fall.