TBS Goes National


Ms. McAllister

One of the beautiful pieces created by 8th grader Willow Staples that was featured in the Barnes Museum

         The Benjamin School is a very versatile school in what it offers its students, such as wide-ranging curricula that includes STEM, coding and robotics, and fine arts classes, so it is no surprise to the community that the School has been featured in multiple national endeavors.

On the artistic side, some middle school students who are in the visual arts elective were featured in the Barnes Museum over the summer. The Barnes Museum is an art gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, mainly focusing on post-impressionistic art. Middle School Fine Arts Department Chair and visual arts teacher Ms. Nancy McAllister speaks highly of the hard work and effort the young artists put into their pieces. 

Addy Walczak, Willow Staples, and Ava Reece’s pieces were accepted,” said McAllister. “Willow had two on their site. I’m really proud of the great work these ladies created. Having the opportunity to digitally send artwork to museums throughout the country has opened a new window for school and student recognition.

Having their pieces featured in such a highly revered space as the Barnes Museum is a great opportunity for young students. “It gives you the satisfaction of knowing that every effort you put forth came back and helped you,” said Staples, an eighth grader. “It was really cool when I got the email, and it’s definitely exciting because you feel like you can even go farther than that. I think it’s great to know people can see your work.” 

Pictured here (from left to right) are Ryan Fitzpatrick, Hannah Soffan, Mrs. Oster, Addy Vining, Tyler Kelly, and Mrs. Sukhu holding their 2018 CRCC first-place plaque.


As many know, The Benjamin School never fails to impress when it comes to academics. The school’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program brings science and creativity to life. It has also racked up many accomplishments and accolades. One example is the first-place award that was given to the Binary Bucs (Tyler Kelly, Addy Vining, Hannah Soffan, and Ryan Fitzpatrick) for their excellent work in robotics at the 2018 Cyber Robotics Coding Competition (CRCC) in Virginia. The four students had the top coding scores out of the entire Benjamin Middle School and were selected to represent the school at the competition. The team was led by Dean of Academics Mrs. Stephanie Oster and sixth-grade science teacher Mrs. Mandy Sukhu. Aside from winning first place, the Benjamin School was recognized for its coding motto, “No one codes alone.” The group traveled to Virginia and gave it their all at every challenge in the competition.

“[When] the competition finished, [the judges] put everybody back into the auditorium and they started announcing the winners and they were like, ‘And in third place.’ They announced the school and we looked at each other and we’re like, ‘Oh, okay, well,’ you know, we were happy for the other school. We were like, ‘Well we did the best we could.’ We figured we didn’t win. They announced the second place [team]. [It] wasn’t us. It was another school. We were happy for the other school; we were clapping for them. Then they announced us as the first place winners. And we all looked at each other like, ‘What?!’” 

The next year in 2019, the Binary Bucs returned to Virginia to compete in the competition for a second time. This time around, the coders were all girls. The Binary Bucs were the only all-female coding team in the competition. They managed to place highly once again, coming in second place. The coders on both of those teams made everyone at the Benjamin School very proud. 

Pictured here (from left to right) are Mrs. Oster, Addy Vining, Alexandra Pace, Hannah Soffan, Vanessa Zito, and Mrs. Sukhu holding their second-place plaque. (Mrs. Oster)

Pictured here (from left to right) are Mrs. Oster, Addy Vining, Alexandra Pace, Hannah Soffan, Vanessa Zito, and Mrs. Sukhu holding their second-place plaque. (Mrs. Oster)

“I was just so amazed and so proud,” said Oster, “and they were so humble about everything, both teams, but their academic sportsmanship was amazing because you watched them help other teams that they were competing against.  It was never just [about] me, me, me. It was just that academic sportsmanship is the best way. TBS represented. It was just beautiful. It was really nice. I was so proud.”


With all of these accomplishments, the school has been growing significantly.  In June of 2022, the Benjamin School was featured in a Bloomberg (U.S Edition) article titled “Wall Street’s Move South Crowds Florida Elite Private Schools.” Written by Amanda L. Gordon and Nathan Crooks, the article talks about how many large companies in New York have employees moving to Florida. The majority of these people are making it their top priority to send their children to private schools like Benjamin.

Bloomberg quotes the Benjamin School’s very own, Mrs. Amy Jablonski, who works in the Admissions office. Really the questions [Bloomberg asked] are really along the lines of, ‘Have you seen an increase in applications to your school,’ Have you seen an increase in enrollment,’ and, ‘Have you seen long waiting lists?”.

The questions Bloomberg asked about the school are good ones. According to Jablonski’s information, The Benjamin School opened the 2022-2023 school year with 1,285 students, 248 of which were brand new students. Just two years ago, the Benjamin School had 1,079 students. With these rapidly changing numbers, the school’s acceptance rate is at 45%, which is a good thing from an admissions standpoint.  

“What I would say is that these numbers allow us to be more selective,” says Jablonski. “Our application or our acceptance rate has taken a huge slope. We are only at a 45% acceptance rate this year, and we want to see our acceptance rate going down.”

Although grades are filling with more students, do not expect day-to-day school life to change. In fact, that is the opposite of what admissions and faculty want. 

This photo of the Benjamin School Fine Arts building was featured in a Bloomberg article. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg)


“We’ve hired a lot of extra teachers so that we can make sure that our faculty-to-student ratio does not change,” said Jablonski. “I think the most important aspect to understand about the school is that we want the student experience to remain the same. We want to feel like a small school where every child is known, where every child is valued, and where every child and student feels a sense of space here. We have been really strategic about the way we’ve grown the school.”

Here’s to another year of all-around excellence. What great things will The Benjamin School do this year?