Before, describing the world of Baltimore (Baltimore Prep/North Baltimore) it is important to make several key descriptions about the physical and geographical layout of Maryland and more importantly Baltimore City and County. First and foremost, contrary to other parts of the nation the idea of town or township does not exist. In other words, Baltimore County is not broken down into a series of townships each with their own mayor and municipal services. Instead, the area of Baltimore County is broken down into neighborhoods or communities outside and surrounding the city of Baltimore. In addition many of these areas are not separated by vast areas of fields or forests but are actually connected to each other. Baltimore communities can be described as liquid, flowing into each other with no clear distinction. Such distinctions are only made for reasons like providing area codes and rec. councils. In addition no one from these communities say that they are from these areas; everyone says that they are from Baltimore. However, if one Baltimorean is conversing with another Baltimorean about where they live then these area names become applicable. Those who attend private schools are the by-products of the school and of the area they live in.
Baltimore County, while containing a decent population, does not have the markings of a densely populated area. Most of the communities are fairly forested and would resemble the distant suburbs of many other metropolitan areas. Therefore, the northern part of the city is very suburban in nature and is hardly distinguishable from the residential communities that surround the city. This suburban atmosphere also differs from suburban atmospheres of the rest of the country. The suburbs of north Baltimore are incredibly wealthy. Many gated communities exist and most of the houses are well above half a million dollars. There are incredibly rich areas in the northern part of the city such as: Roland Park, Guilford, and Homeland. These houses were the old summer homes of the incredibly wealthy Baltimore merchants. Most of the houses look more like castles. Interspersed among these giants are massive English Tudor country homes and expansive Georgian Colonials. The streets are lined with trees and an almost surreal atmosphere of wealth is created. There is nothing like a nice spring day watching lacrosse in the north of Baltimore city. Let it be known that the wealth does not end in north Baltimore, but rather expands up Falls Road, York Road, and Dulaney Valley Roads into the more country-like but still suburban areas. Worthington Valley (home to Cal Ripken and Peter Angelos among others) Hunt Valley, Ruxton, Caves Valley, Greenspring Valley, Monkton, Sparks, and Phoenix are some of the nicest areas in Maryland. Phoenix was the richest zip code in the nation in years past. Hunt and Worthington Valleys hold annual foxhunts and contain the homes of super rich, aristocratic people. Caves is also the residence of many wealthy individuals and houses the Caves Valley Country Club, whose 250,000 dollar admission fee can only be afforded by members like Michael Jordan.
Finally, and as I have made quite clear, it is important to note that Maryland is one of the richest states in the country (3rd by 2005 standards). In addition, Maryland is also ranked the best state for education. It is essential to keep these later two points in remembrance when talking about what I will describe as Baltimore Prep. Baltimore Prep is a collection of private and parochial schools located in Baltimore City and immediately surrounding the city. It is important to realize that the parochial schools are nothing more than private schools under the guise of a Catholic institution.
These schools are within a stones throw of each other making them fiercely competitive in all aspects. For example Boys’ Latin, Gilman, Friends, Roland Park, Loyola, and Bryn Mawr are all within about 1 mile from each other. The schools themselves have great tracts of land that they use for campuses and many historic buildings for classrooms. These schools are extremely wealthy with vast endowments, which they invest for new more up to date buildings, especially athletic facilities. Most of these schools can argue that they are older, richer, and nicer than a majority of colleges in the country. Some have endowments upwards of 50 million dollars from alumni donations. It would follow that the tuition for a school in the Baltimore Prep area is quite substantial.
The students that attend these schools are from very well to do families that are able to pay for the tuition that the schools demand. Many Baltimore Prep students are die-hard Republicans thus influencing life in a preppy world. Since dress code is a major component of student life I will address what is required garments. For girls, there usually is a skirt with some type of collared shirt. For men, one must wear a sport coat, tie, kakis, belt and dress shoes. However, this is taken very liberally. Many boys wear hot pastel colors such as pink, baby blue shirts, yellow pants, multicolored belts, pants with whales, lacrosse sticks, ducks or other emblems on them, a variety of shoes, etc. However, once people go out a sort of unofficial dress code is followed and Ralph Lauren Polo is the unofficial sponsor of Baltimore Prep. Girls have pink poke-dotted ribbons, some type of polo shirt, and Oakley sunglasses. Boys, during the summer wear kaki sorts with polo and during the winter almost always wear kaki pants. Most kids don’t own jeans until they go to college. Clothiers of choice, excluding Polo, among the children include: Lacoste, Le Tigre, and Vineyard Vines. While people wear Abercrombie and American Eagle, most Prep kids considered these clothing outfitters as trashy or sub-preppy and everyone knows or shops at Cohens.
As I have mentioned earlier, another extension of the dress code is the type of car that you drive. Most parking lots are filled with some type of SUV, mostly Jeeps or Suburbans. If one does not drive an SUV they more than likely drive some other type of expensive car such as Mercedes, Lexus, Acura, Audi, Land Rover, or BMW and of course there are always the real high-end cars like Porsche.
Lacrosse is the only sport to be played in the Baltimore area. In other words, lacrosse is “god” and every private school has a team. These teams compete in the toughest league in the entire nation, the MIAA, and consistently destroy all out of state teams with vary few exceptions. Lacrosse is life and it often defines who you are at a school. During the regular season lacrosse games draw hundreds and hundreds of people to watch their games, especially if it is a heated rivalry between two MIAA schools. The MIAA playoffs and championship are the most important sporting events for Baltimore Prep. These games are held mainly at Johns Hopkins University or Towson University in order to hold the massive number of fans that come to watch the games. So if you go to a Baltimore private school and its May you are either playing in the MIAA championship or you are drunk watching it. Therefore, lacrosse also creates solidarity between schools and it is not uncommon that players from different schools will hang out with each other.
The social life at these schools is something quite extraordinary. While students at other high schools around the country engage in underage drinking, Baltimore Prep takes it to the extreme. Every weekend there is some house party or field party in hundreds of kids will show up. This is extremely evident when a Baltimore Prep kid goes to college and they out drink the senior college kids. It is also important to mention we play Beirut not beer pong. Prep kids get offended when people call it beer pong. These parties are almost always result in the calling of the police, the destruction of the house, unfortunately drunk drive (but we are damn good at it), in addition to an accident or two. But assuming nobody gets hurt or dies, parent’s money is almost always able to rectify the situation. Besides house parties, field parties, and lacrosse games other aspects of social life come to the forefront such as Preakness and time spent at Ocean City (Maryland of course since New Jersey sucks balls).
Why do people attend these schools? First, people attend these schools because of tradition. A parent, grandparent, uncle/aunt, cousin, brother/sister has attend a school and in the tradition of your family you too would go to a private school. Often people of the same family attend the same school but this is not always the case. Secondly is because of lacrosse. Since Baltimore Private School lacrosse is the best in the nation, players who seek to go to the best lacrosse colleges would naturally want to play for the best high school teams in the nation. Finally, is because the families that attend these schools have the money to do so, otherwise they would not be there. What is a few thousand dollars to us, after all its only money.
When one graduates from these schools he or she will never be beyond it while still living in this area. Many graduates are associated with the schools that they went to numerous years before. It is not uncommon that during job interviews in this area that they ask the high school that you attended.
As students and graduates of the Baltimore Prep schools we are the richest, best looking, and most athletic kids than any other people in the country. I have some news for you, we are better than you, and we know it, and we act it. So get used to it. The truth hurts. If you do not conform to what we like, we will let you know it and proceed to make fun of you. Get used to it and accept it, that is just the way it is.
Baltimore Prep Schools include:
Boys Latin School of Maryland(BL)
Calvert Hall College
St. Paul's School
Mt. St. Joseph's
Notre Dame Prep(NDP)
Roland Park Country School (RPCS)
St. Paul's School for Girls
Mt. De Sales