CCDS Upper School Students: Are We Living Up to the Expectations Other Divisions Give Us?


Ali Zimmerman, News Editor '26

“As Country Day Upper School Students, there are certain things expected of us and certain roles we must play in the CCD community.”

How many times have we heard this statement? I thought it was time to finally figure out exactly what is expected of US students and what role they are supposed to play.

The Country Day community involves many different groups of people such as the Upper School, Middle School, and Lower School students, faculty, alumni, parents, and staff. I interviewed people from many of those groups to see if they all agreed on what is expected of an Upper School student.

First, I spoke to some US students themselves.

“US students are role models. They’re people you can rely on and look up to. They can help out the younger kids. They’re connected with everyone else in the upper school and the other divisions too.”

“So far I’ve noticed that Country Day Upper School students are very helpful to the younger students for sure. More so than at my other schools.”

I received many comments like these with the common theme that US students are expected to help the Middle and Lower school. The question is, do we think that we stand up to this expectation? “I think as a whole we do. We’re connected. Students Helping Students is the biggest club. And many students have started going down to the lower school to help them with their math lessons.”

Middle School and Lower School had similar views on the role of Upper Schoolers. A second grader said, “Upper School students are nice. They show me what to do. And are helpful.” Members of the class of 2028 stated that “they model what we should do in our future. I think they do this in certain circumstances. Sometimes they contradict that, but everyone does at some point,” and “overall, I have many role models in the Upper School.”

As a parent of two current CCD students, alum, and head of school, I turned to Mr. Zimmerman in search of an answer to the question of what’s expected of Upper Schoolers:

“The role of a CCDS US student in the community is to lead through service. To be a student at CCDS is to be among the most fortunate humans ever to walk the earth; consistent with ancient biblical wisdom (Luke 12:48, “to whom much is given, much will be required”) and modern comic book axioms (Spider-Man, “with great power comes great responsibility”), we, therefore, expect CCDS students to model servant leadership by serving others and improving the human condition.

In my experience, US students regularly live up to these expectations and make significant contributions to the community. In fact, if you look around the Cincinnati community, you see CCDS alumni making a difference in almost every sphere of human endeavor. These examples should serve as an inspiration but also an expectation for current students.”

In my final interview, an interview with the head of the Upper School, Mrs. Weinheimer, I became aware of some interesting thoughts:

“I think primarily they’re here to set an example. They are role models for the younger community showing them what’s possible and how to be themselves. When we say be yourself people are like ‘oh yeah of course,’ but I think it’s really cool when Upper School students embrace their weird quirk. It’s just really powerful for other people to see. And I think that’s really important.

On a more practical level, they really do lead. They decide what our clubs are, and they are shaping the identity of Country Day. When people ask what Country Day is about, it really is the US students. As a whole, I think they really do stand up to these expectations of being a leader and a good person to look up to. Being a role model isn’t always getting it right every time. Every once in a while I think we have to redirect the leadership.

Sometimes students wait for adults to lead. It might be messy but there’s something valuable in them doing it themselves. Part of being in the community is getting out of the community too. It’s the everyday interactions like helping someone in the grocery store who can’t reach something on the shelf. Then they’re wearing a CCD sweatshirt and they’re asked if they go to school there and suddenly someone sees Country Day in better light.”

I, for one, think that is more than enough insight into the expectations of Country Day’s Upper School students. It’s important to take this feedback and be the leaders everyone in the community believes us to be, including some of the student body.