Barak Blackburn » Boarding Student Life




Dorm Life: MacDuffie boarding students are part of a supportive multicultural community, living together in double and single rooms in newly refurbished dormitories with a caring residential life staff. Students build strong relationships with other boarding students from the United States and from around the world, as well as with residential staff, many of whom are also their classroom teachers and coaches during the school day.

Social Life: Boarding students develop friendships with day students from nearby towns by attending classes together and by participating with them on athletic teams, performing arts groups, and other extracurricular activities. Day students often invite boarding students to visit their homes on weekends and for longer holiday periods such as Thanksgiving and Winter and Spring Breaks.

Dining: An important part of each student’s day, and MacDuffie offers healthy, appetizing meals three times a day for all boarding students in our state-of-the-art dining facility. Our chef plans well-balanced meals that appeal to the multicultural tastes of our domestic and international students.  Menus are prepared using fresh ingredients and are served by a courteous and helpful dining staff.

Weekend Activities: Boarding students weekend activities take advantage of the regional attractions, beauty and culture of New England, and include apple picking, pumpkin carving, skiing, roller skating, classical and popular music concerts, museums, athletic events, fairs, theater performances, and shopping trips to area malls. Students also take advantage of the wide range of events and activities at nearby colleges such as Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke and Williams, as well as the many colleges and universities in Boston, only 90 minutes away. Special weekend trips during the year are often planned to Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. as well.

See The MacDuffie School go camping! Labor Day weekend, boarding and day students attend the Hulbert Outdoor Center for a weekend full of fun, adventure, and teambuilding exercises. Our students enjoy camping in tents, archery, canoeing, arts and crafts, a high ropes course, the opportunity to build and grow friendships and much more!

Photo of Barak Blackburn

Barak Blackburn

Librarian; Creative Writing Teacher; Residential Point Person; Residential Assistant


B.A., Binghamton University
Barak Blackburn joined the MacDuffie residential program in the spring of 2021, and now is all-in on MacDuffie, continuing to be part of the residential community as a point-person, but also serving as the librarian, creative writing teacher, advisor for the literary magazine and newspaper, and helping out in the technology department. He comes to MacDuffie after significant tenures at The Bement School and Rectory School, having experience in teaching, coaching, residential life, administration, development, and technology. Prior to working in independent boarding schools, Barak worked in the tech field, and was profiled in the Boston Globe. He’s been a zine publisher for over 25 years, his work having been featured at the show at the New Museum in New York City. He is also a tabletop game designer, having written numerous roleplaying and story games. He graduated from Binghamton University with a degree in Creative Writing, where he was an award-winning and published poet, and is currently enrolled at Chicago State University in the Library and Information Science program. He serves on the board of Artspace in Greenfield, and The Bodhana Group, who advocate for therapeutic gaming. In his spare time, he loves fantasy football, tabletop gaming, sequential art, and writing and publishing.