For Petey Webster, being a student at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School has been a transformational experience. He reflects on his final year at the School with much appreciation for the memories he’s made and the people he’s met during his time here.
Petey, a day student from Franklin, North Carolina, is originally from South Georgia. He moved to the mountains and started attending Rabun Gap in seventh grade. Petey spends most of his time in the Rearden Theater’s orchestra pit and is a major contributor to our music program. He’s been a part of the orchestra for many performances, including the musical and Cirque.
Petey serves in a leadership role as a Gap Guide and is a member of the Chess Club. He also works with our Lower School afternoon program in the spring. He was this year’s recipient of the Rabun Gap Alumni Association scholarship.
Why did you choose to attend Rabun Gap?
I chose Rabun Gap because it was a new experience, and I am so glad I did. The longer I am here, the more that I realize Rabun Gap chose me to be molded into the person I am proud to be today.
What is the best part about being a student at Rabun Gap?
For me, the best part is definitely the people. Rabun Gap sets forth the principles that structure it, and it is the people who fit these guidelines that make the experience truly unique and wonderful.
What is it like to be a day student? What would you say to prospective students from the local area who might be thinking about attending Rabun Gap?
It is difficult at times commuting such a long distance to school and I am on campus so much for various activities that it almost seems like I am a boarding student. For prospective students, I would advise managing time wisely and to plan on commuting to campus often because if you are involved in any programs that the school offers (and you will be because the school offers so many amazing opportunities) then you will be on campus a lot.
What makes Rabun Gap special to you?
The Rabun Gap experience is so special to me because it has had such a huge impact on making me a better person. It has exposed me to so many new opportunities and continues to create beautiful, lasting bonds with people and my surroundings.
What are your plans after you graduate? What are your plans for college?
I would love to go to college for political science and law. I am looking for colleges that resemble Rabun Gap in values and size because I know that I will always want to be a part of a community as amazing as Rabun Gap.
What is your favorite memory from Rabun Gap so far?
I have so many wonderful experiences on campus, but many of my favorite memories have been about adding traits to myself. Every time I learn something, make a new friend, gain a new skill, or overcome a difficult situation, I hold that memory close because those are the experiences that develop us as humans.
What advice would you give to another student who just came here as a student to Rabun Gap?
I would say to take advantage of everything Rabun Gap has to offer. Even though I am very comfortable around individual people, I don’t always do well when it comes to interacting with large groups. This degree of shyness has caused me to miss out on so many things because I was afraid. I highly advise putting those fears aside immediately and jumping in, because Rabun Gap is full of amazing people who want you to succeed and who understand that making mistakes and failing are not only human but are the building blocks of experience and learning something new.
Which Rabun Gap teachers and/or coaches have had the biggest impact on you during your time here so far?
Every teacher I have had has always spent an unprecedented amount of time making sure that I always achieved my best self. However, the teacher who has pushed me far more than anyone else ever has is Ms. Allegra. Ms. Allegra sees all the things that I do and never fails to add one more thing to my agenda despite my heated protests about its improbability and ridiculousness. She has gotten me involved in things that I love that I always assumed I wasn’t fit for and has broadened my musical capabilities tenfold. There is no doubt that Ms. Allegra has truly shaped my Rabun Gap experience in every way and has supported me in making decisions and broadened my confidence in trying new things.
You are involved in helping at the Lower School after school. What do you do there? What do you like about working with Lower Schoolers?
In my one season that Ms. Allegra hasn’t commandeered me for musical services, I enjoy helping with the students of the Lower School. I help them with work and the occasional scraped knee, but mostly I am out there playing with them. I enjoy this not only because I love children because I admire their creativity and innocence, but I also enjoy getting to be a kid again myself. I am looking forward to returning to my duties this spring!
Tell us something interesting about yourself that we don’t otherwise know.
Something that I don’t think many people know about me is that I am an only child and that has always played a large role in my personality.
What interests do you pursue outside of the classroom? Do you have any hobbies?
Since history is my favorite subject, I enjoy collecting coins, watches and clocks, and other items of historical significance. I also enjoy being outdoors especially in cool weather. In my spare time, I like to metal detect, walk around in the woods, and restore old items.