Getting to Know Montrose’s Life Compass Institute

Maevis Fahey '21, Editor-in-Chief

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“If you look at the long green wall upstairs from Mrs. Convry’s office to the science lab, you can find framed photographs of our founders, and every graduate of Montrose School… and all of their funky hairstyles!” 

On a Thursday in October, Montrose’s students and faculty gathered in the A&A to hear Dr. Bohlin speak during Common Homeroom. In honor of Founder’s Day, we heard stories about Montrose’s founders and teachers from our school’s very beginnings.

“In 1977, a group of parents and educators had a conversation at the Noonans’ house about starting a school,” Dr. Bohlin said. “Public and Catholic schools were at an all time low, and these founders wanted to focus on family, faith, as well as character and leadership.”

Forty years later, the LifeCompass Institute (LCI) continues to reflect on our school’s history and plan for we have in store for the future. Dr. Bohlin and many other members of the Montrose community have spearheaded efforts to continue character development and leadership for all members of our school. In an interview, LifeCompass Associate Director Mrs. Kris shared some insights about our exciting 40th anniversary school year: “There’s so much going on inside the school community this year. The LifeCompass model is to use your first reactions and aim towards your best self. Take challenges, be responsible, be courageous, and use your moral compass. Be fair-minded and attend to other parts of your soul. We want to share that with everyone at Montrose.”

The qualities that Mrs. Kris spoke about — taking challenges, exhibiting responsibility and courage, using your moral compass, and others — are meant to guide Montrosians through every part of their day. Mrs. Kris said: “Montrose was founded on these virtues. Our founders understood that a person cannot flourish intellectually without flourishing personally. As Dr. Bohlin has said before, these are two sides of the same coin.”

This year, the LifeCompass Institute has exciting plans to spread their message far and wide. The LCI blog will continue to post at least twice a month, covering topics like character, productivity, and making connections. “One of our pieces recently received over 70,000 views!” Mrs. Kris shared. She will also be teaching Habits of Mind (autumn) and Habits of Heart (spring) courses for all new students at Montrose. The new Habits of Heart course will focus on relationship skills and learning to better understand ourselves and the people around us. 

The LifeCompass Institute not only affects our school, but has also been making connections worldwide. Recently, Dr. Bohlin travelled to Spain to speak about practical wisdom and everyday character. The LCI has focused especially upon connecting with other institutes, so that our school can share our insights with other institutes while gaining insights in return. The Jubilee Center for Character and Virtues in the United Kingdom is just one of many of the centers LCI has created a strong relationship with.

Montrose’s own podcast, which began last year, continues to share stories from Montrose students, teachers, and alumnae. Montrose podcast host Mrs. Cahill Farella (P ‘16, ‘25) was asked about what she looked forward to the most about the coming year and the LifeCompass Institute. She responded: “As a parent and a podcaster, I’m really looking forward to the LifeCompass talks this year. The talks are always so insightful and relevant. I can always invite someone to come to one of the talks and I know it’ll be really good.”

With the new classes and talks that LCI will host this year, the institute will continue to share lessons of character and personal growth at Montrose and beyond. As Mrs. Kris said: “This year, the institute draws on forty years of experience. We’ve taken what we’ve learned and our purpose it to spread our message to others.”

To keep up with Montrose’s podcast and LifeCompass blog, visit our school website.

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