Assistant Head of School for Admissions & Financial Aid Lori Redell Reviews Admissions Process

Redell Reminisces About the Class of 2010 and Looks Ahead at Its Future


Last night, my daughter Jordan, who is graduating from Poly Prep after her fifteenth year in the school, shared with me her excitement about college admissions for her class. I could not help feeling a sense of sadness and loss, just as I feel every year, about our talented seniors leaving us to move on to the next stage of their lives. How in the world will we ever replace Sean Ryan, one of our theater leads and football co-captain, or Levi Jones, the young man who systematically organized the picnic club in the spring of his sophomore year as a relief from the end-of-year stresses all high school students experience? The loss of talent, personalities, leadership, intellectualism, diversity, creativity, and general self-awareness seems overwhelming when we consider each member of the graduating class. How will Poly ever be the same?

The answer lies in the Admissions Office. We compete mightily each year to enroll the finest students from every borough of New York City. Parents often mention how competitive it is to obtain an offer of acceptance from an independent school as sought-after as Poly. Of course, this is true. Each year, Poly receives many more applications than we can accommodate in our limited, available slots. However, what may not be as well known is how competitive the admissions process is for Poly. Our applicants have a lot of choices among independent, parochial and public school options within the city. Our Upper School applicants, in particular, have an average of eight schools on their list in the fall. Some have as many as twenty! The students who most impress us during their application process are also incredibly impressive to our peer schools.

When Erica Sollazzo, a senior who is now deciding between Princeton and Harvard for the fall of 2010, was admitted to Poly Prep in 9th grade, she was faced with a difficult decision. Should she continue in the parochial school system by selecting an honor’s program at a more familiar school or take a leap into the unknown of Poly? Her parents have since shared with me her anxiety during those first few days at Poly in her freshman year. We competed mightily for Erica and made certain that she understood the academic programs at Poly that would serve her well and the athletic competition that would foster her development as a softball pitcher.

When we enrolled eight of our current seniors from one of the top public elementary schools in Manhattan, PS 234, we were competing with other middle schools or middle and high schools around the corner. We offered these students bus rides to our Dyker Heights campus and had our current Manhattan families make phone calls to describe their children’s experience and the value of attending a school in Brooklyn. Eleven members of the class of 2010 graduated from boys’ independent schools on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where choices are made between boarding school options, Manhattan independent schools, Hill Schools and Poly. In many cases, a closer option was available, but the benefits of a Poly education won out. We were able to enroll some of our top applicants from both groups in the Class of 2010, as a result. In all, forty of our graduating seniors make the trip from Manhattan to attend Poly Prep.

Seven of our seniors took a leave from Poly Prep, only to return. The most recent, James Friel, came back to Poly after three highly satisfactory years at Regis in Manhattan. James’ heart never really left Poly, however, and his rigorous program at Regis allowed him to return for his senior year and fall right into step with advanced work in Poly’s curriculum. Three students in the Class of 2010 had offers from Stuyvesant tempting them at the end of 8th grade, but instead chose four years at Poly’s Upper School. They have contributed much to the academic muscle of their class. For example, Remy Friedman and his parents met with Upper School Division Head Bud Cox during the spring of his Form II year at Poly to learn more about the upper level academic offerings at Poly. Ultimately, they made the choice to continue his commute from Long Island to Poly each day rather than going to Stuyvesant.

Once a student enrolls in Poly Prep, they put their other choices behind them as they acclimate into their class, learn, excel and grow at our school. As I contemplate their bright college futures, I remember the “fight” to enroll the outstanding Class of 2010, a fight well worth the effort. I look forward to future reports on the successes of this class, our other alumni (past and future) and my memories of the admissions process that led them to Poly Prep.



    • Assistant Head of School for Admissions & Financial Aid Lori Redell

Date Posted Arrow down
  • Lisa Friel
    As Lori says above, Poly is such a special place that after 3 years of High School at Regis in Manhattan, my son James transferred back to Poly for his senior year. When he started middle school at Poly, he had recently lost his father. Poly's warm community - teachers, administrators, coaches and kids - put its arms around a sad little boy and helped him through a very difficult time. As a result, James has a love for Poly that will never be extinguished. James' sister, two years younger, also went to Poly starting in middle school and is still there as a sophomore in HS. She too loves it there. And as for me, their mom, I don't think they could have gone to a better school.
  • going to poly
    My family and I have made the choice of going to Poly next year for upper school. I was accepted to Bronx Science, but chose Poly anyways. It was a hard choice though, because my parents really liked that Bronx Science was sciency,and so did I, but I decided that at Poly, I'd have a better life and become more well-rounded. I've never been to private school before, so I'm really excited!
  • Joseph Saputo
    My wife Mary and I were in the same situation as the Sollazzo's with our 2 kids Joseph and Kerri. We had choices but my son wanted to try someplace new and different and challenging. It was easy to convince Kerri to go there after that. It has been a great year so far and I hope my other 2 kids will be able to attend. Our thanks go out to all the staff at Poly..Go Blue Devils!
  • joe sollazzo
    My daughter, Erica, is trying to figure out a way to stay another 4 years at Poly. I think that says it all! There could not have been another school that contributed more to her academic growth. We look forward to another great experience for our son, Robert, who will be attending this fall.
  • megan lally
    there is no doubt in my mind that poly finds the kids who want more (and are quite willing to bridge or tunnel to get there) , make a difference and find their way in a community open to them/poly has become 2 of my kids home away from home and i am most grateful for the freedom they are afforded to become
50 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, New York 11215 | (718) 768-1103
9216 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11228 | (718) 836-9800