Berwick Academy

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Berwick Academy
Berwick Academy logo.png
South Berwick, Maine, United States
Coordinates 43°13′50″N 70°48′15″W / 43.23056°N 70.80417°W / 43.23056; -70.80417Coordinates: 43°13′50″N 70°48′15″W / 43.23056°N 70.80417°W / 43.23056; -70.80417
Type Private, Day
Motto Latin: Dei Timor Initium Sapiente
Religious affiliation(s) Unaffiliated
Established 1791
Head of School Gregory Schneider
Enrollment 565
Campus Rural, 72 acres (29 ha), 11 Buildings
Color(s) Blue and White
Athletics conference Eastern Independent League
Mascot Bulldog
Berwick Academy
Fogg Memorial.jpg
Location Academy St., South Berwick, Maine
Area 81 acres (33 ha)
Built 2010
Architectural style Richardsonian Romanesque, Victorian, Federal, Colonial Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 78000336[1]
Added to NRHP March 29, 1978

Berwick Academy is a college preparatory school located in South Berwick, Maine. Founded in 1791, it is the oldest educational institution in Maine and one of the oldest private schools in North America. The school sits on a 72-acre, 11-building campus on a hill overlooking the Salmon Falls River, near the border between Maine and New Hampshire. Approximately 565 students in grades Pre-K through 12 (and Post-Grad) attend this coeducational day school, from approximately 60 communities in the surrounding regions of southern Maine, southeastern New Hampshire and northeastern Massachusetts.


Fogg Memorial Building in c. 1910, Berwick Academy

Berwick Academy was founded in 1791 when citizens of Berwick, York, and Wells (then villages in the Maine Territory of Massachusetts) raised $500 to teach languages, liberal arts and sciences to "the youth in this part of the country." Chartered by Massachusetts Governor John Hancock later that year and armed with a classical educational mission, the school opened in a small hip-roofed Georgian building on land donated by Judge Benjamin Chadbournes. Today this building, dubbed the "1791 House," is home to the Academy's admissions office. The 1791 House is the oldest school building in the United States that is still utilized today (Though the building has been relocated since it was built).

From its founding the school contracted with the town of South Berwick to educate local students, serving both as a private college preparatory school and the de facto public school for the town. As the town grew and industrialized, the school's dual role necessitated campus expansion. A second Academy building (1830) was destroyed by fire in 1851; its successor, designed by architect Richard Upjohn, was itself superseded by the William Hayes Fogg Memorial Building. Built in 1894 by George Albert Clough in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted, and built complete with electricity and state-of-the-art science labs, it remains the main Academy building today serving the majority of Upper School english, history, and foreign language classrooms(Science and Mathematics are taught in the Jeppesen Science and Math center.

In 1955, the contract with South Berwick terminated and the school reverted to a purely private "prep school," featuring boarding for boys, a day department for girls, and college preparation on a classical model for both. Considerable physical expansion during this period included the acquisitions of surrounding homes for dormitories and of adjacent lands for playing fields.

In the 1970s, the burdensome cost of housing students and the increasing suburbanization of northern New England dictated a further transformation from boarding academy to country day school. A Middle School was founded in 1971 and a Lower School in 1977; boarding was discontinued in 1976 and the dormitory-homes sold or converted to educational uses. In the subsequent decades the school's enrollment, endowment and physical plant have steadily increased. The school has come to occupy a unique academic position in between the 18th century American college preparatory school and the 19th Century progressive country day school – although it predates, sometimes by more than a century, most schools of either movement.

All Boys Basketball, Berwick Academy
Earliest Co-Ed Classes, Berwick Academy


Berwick is governed by a 23-member Board of Trustees, with a Head of School in charge of fundraising and the day-to-day operation of the Academy. The three subsidiary schools are headed by Division Directors. The Middle School includes a Dean of Students and the Upper School has advisors, class advisors, Grade Deans and an Assistant Director.


Jackson Library, Berwick Academy

The Academy is divided into three schools: the Lower School (grades PreK–4), the Middle School (grades 5–8) and the Upper School (grades 9–PG). The academic calendar is divided into trimesters; students typically take year-long classes, with some trimester-length elective classes in the Upper School. Students follow a rigorous academic program combining classical education and technology. Berwick has a student-teacher ratio of 8:1 and an average class size of 14 students. In keeping with the school's classical mission subjects of study are diverse and include Liberal Arts, Sciences, Fine Arts, Music and Mathematics. The Berwick curriculum balances tradition with innovation and prepares students for college while ensuring they become ethical citizens that possess "virtue and useful knowledge."

College placement[edit]

Berwick Academy has traditionally prepared students for Bowdoin, Dartmouth, Colby and Bates colleges. While these relationships have continued, graduates now matriculate at a wide variety of highly selective colleges in the United States, including the Ivy League, the Little Ivies and the Ancient Universities.

2008-2012 College Matriculation [2]

Acadia Alfred University American University (3) Amherst Arizona State University (2) Babson Barnard (2) Bates (2) Becker Bentley Berklee College of Music Boston College (2) Boston University (2) Bowdoin(2) Brandeis Brown Bryant Carnegie Mellon University Central Connecticut State Champlain Coastal Carolina University Colby (6) Colby Sawyer College of Charleston College of the Holy Cross College of William & Mary (2) College of Wooster Colorado College Colorado State University Concordia University Connecticut College (5) Cornell College Cornell University Culinary Institute of America Curry Dalhousie Dartmouth (5) Davidson Denison (2) Dickinson (2) Drexel (3) Elmira (2) Elon (4) Emerson (3) Emmanuel (2) Endicott (2) Evergreen State College Fairfield Fordham (2) Franklin & Marshall George Mason George Washington (4) Georgetown Gettysburg (3) Goucher Hamilton (2) Harvard High Point Hobart & William Smith Hofstra Hood Ithaca (4) Johns Hopkins (3) Johnson & Wales Lake Forest (5) Lasell (2) Lehigh (2) Lewis & Clark (2) Maine College of Art Marist Massachusetts College of Art McGill Merrimack Miami University Middlebury (2) Montana State University - Bozeman Mount Holyoke (3) Muhlenberg New York University North Carolina State Northeastern (3) Northwestern Ohio State University Pennsylvania State University (3) Plymouth State University Pomona Principia Providence College (2) Quinnipiac (2) Rensselaer Polytechnic (4) Rhode Island School of Design Rhodes Roanoke (2) Rochester Institute of Technology (2) Roger Williams Sacred Heart Saint Anselm’s (2) St. Joseph’s College - Maine Saint Lawrence (4) Saint Michael’s St. Olaf Salve Regina Sarah Lawrence Simmons Skidmore (4) Smith (2) Springfield Stanford Stonehill (2) Suffolk (8) SUNY Albany Trinity College (3) Tufts (6) Tulane Union (3) University of Alabama University of British Columbia University of California – Santa Cruz University of Colorado – Boulder (3) University of Connecticut University of Delaware University of Denver University of Edinburgh (2) University of Maine – Farmington University of Maine – Orono (5) University of Maryland – Baltimore University of Mary Washington University of Massachusetts - Amherst (2) University of Massachusetts - Lowell University of New England (3) University of New Hampshire (24) University of Notre Dame University of Pennsylvania (2) University of Richmond (3) University of Rochester University of San Francisco University of Southern Maine (2) University of St. Andrews - Scotland (5) University of Tampa (2) University of Vermont (17) University of Virginia (3) University of Washington Ursinus Utica Vanderbilt Wentworth Inst. of Technology Wesleyan University Western New England Wheaton College (MA) Wheelock Williams Worcester Polytechnic Institute (3) Xavier


Participation in sports is generally required for grade advancement. Middle School students are required to play three sports during their course of study, and participation in interscholastic athletics is required of Upper School students for at least one trimester per year. (Waivers are given to Upper School students participating in a sport not offered at the school.) Other after-school extracurricular activities, such as drama, dance, robotics, or independent research projects through the "Innovation Center", are offered as well. Lower school students participate in intramural sports.

Berwick currently fields teams in Golf, Soccer, Field Hockey, Cross Country, Hockey, Basketball, Swimming, Lacrosse, Softball, Tennis, Baseball and Rowing. Teams compete in the Eastern Independent League (EIL) and New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) are divided by gender and skill level.

In September 2010, a new synthetic turf soccer and lacrosse field was installed on the campus.

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • In 2011, a student was selected as a winner of the Arts Olympiad to represent the state of Maine. A few other students were also invited to participate in the workshops at the World Children's Festival.[3]
  • In 2011 a team of seventh and eighth grade students won first place in the Odyssey of the Mind competition, and bested teams from all over the globe.
  • In 2013 Berwick Academy's innovation center placed third in the Follett Challenge and the school's library won $30,000 in prize money.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ . Berwick Academy Retrieved 29 March 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Berwick Academy selected to represent Maine at World Children's Festival". Fosters Daily Democrat. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2013.