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Travelling 2,500 Miles to Attend a Learning Differences High School

Mr. and Mrs. David and Sloan Hunter started looking at boarding schools when they realized that their son Matt was struggling and his school did not meet his academic needs. They never imagined that the place that fit Matt the best would be 2,500 miles away. The Hunter’s had to make the decision to send their son Matthew ‘19 across the country to attend The Gow School and so far they haven’t looked back on their decision.

The Hunters confess that the distance between New York and Washington has not been easy. “There’s no question the distance is a big factor. But I don’t think there was anything we didn’t anticipate about the move. We knew that going back and forth from Washington State would take some time and effort. That part is fairly straight forward. As one would imagine, however, we don’t have the luxury of physically dropping in for a casual visit from time to time. So we rely on cell phone video calls to see how Matt is doing. Being able to not only hear him, but also see him, minimizes that distance and lets us see his level of comfort in his new surroundings. We just have to make sure we time our calls when he is free to take them!”


Here are some of the Hunter’s tips and tricks that they used for the move from the west coast to the east coast:

1.Read the Handbook

"The Student and Parent Handbook is the secret to success. I probably read it cover to cover three or four times and felt confident that the folks at Gow had this down to a science. It was the only resource I needed. The packing list contained in the handbook covers everything. We were able to purchase the majority of Matt’s academic clothes from Lands End. They have a good selection and all of the essentials. Dorm and school supplies were itemized and easily attainable.“

2.Watch out for transit times

"We managed to get the dorm and school supplies as well as his casual clothes in two larger UPS boxes. The academic clothes fit in a single large suitcase. Just be sure to ship your boxes on time. We underestimated the transit time of eight days and cut it really close to move-in day.

3.If you can, give yourself a couple days to explore

"We flew in to Buffalo on Tuesday, August 29th but move-in day wasn’t until Friday, September 1st. At first I thought I had made a mistake booking our flight that early. However, having a couple days to explore the region and relax together was nice. Sloan and I made every effort to point out the best things about East Aurora, South Wales, and the ski areas that Matt would have the opportunity to visit. I think it helped him feel more adjusted and gave us a chance to feel more connected with the communities that surround The Gow School. Plus Matt had the opportunity to meet his roommate prior to move-in which was an added bonus”.

Now three months since move in day, Matt has adjusted to life at Gow, but realizes it isn’t like his previous school. “It is structured like no other, however at the end of the day I know Gow is going to help me succeed.”