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Cascadilla School is a preparatory school in Ithaca, New York. It was founded in 1876 as a boys' preparatory school for Cornell University. At this time Universities typically required students to be proficient in Latin and Greek. However, students from rural areas often did not have access to instruction in these subjects. Some early members of the Cornell faculty became concerned about the quality of education available to such students and founded Cascadilla School to address this inequity. However, students also pursued athletic activities such as football and crew and created yearbooks to record their activities.
Shortly after the First World War, the school fell on hard financial times. They were forced to sell several buildings and parcels of land including the Cascadilla School Boathouse which still stands and is the center piece of Stewart Park. The building immediately south of the main classroom building once housed the dormitory, a dining hall, and a gymnasium, but now has been remodeled to serve as an apartment building and is privately owned and operated.
In the later part of the 20th century, Headmaster Maxwell Kendall began to accept female students, created a board of trustees for the school, made Cascadilla independent of (although still affiliated with) Cornell University, obtained accreditation from the New York State Board of Regents, obtained not-for-profit status, and marketed the school to international students with great success.
His son, John Kendall, former History and Math teacher at the school later took over as Headmaster and successfully opened the school up to students who were looking for an accelerated approach to their education. The accelerated program allows students to earn one unit of credit in one semester. In 1999 John Kendall's wife, Patricia Kendall, officially became the Dean of Students and in 2001 she took over as Headmistress, a position in which she serves to this day.
Between 40 and 60 students from ten different countries are guided by a faculty of twelve teachers, many of whom hold advanced degrees. Typically, Cascadilla School students go on to four year colleges such as Binghamton University, Georgetown University, and New York University.
- Harry Rogers Gilson (b. 1903-d.1995) - During World War II, Mr. Gilson helped organize and volunteered in the Civil Air Patrol in northeast Philadelphia.
- Lazaro Penagos
- Charles King, first person in Detroit to design, build and drive a self-propelled automobile, 3 months before Henry Ford built his automobile. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Brady_King