Vermont Academy

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Vermont Academy
Seal of Vermont Academy.png
Saxtons River, VT, USA
Type Private Boarding/Day
Established 1876
Head of School Sean Brennan
Faculty approx. 50
Enrollment approx. 230
Average class size 10
Campus Rural
Color(s) Orange      Black     
Mascot Wildcat
Vermont Academy

Vermont Academy (also called "VA") is an American coeducational boarding/day school and college preparatory school for grades nine through twelve and also offers acceptance for students seeking a post-graduate year. Founded in 1876, it is located in Saxtons River, Vermont. The school is coeducational, and college-preparatory, with a 515-acre (208 ha) campus. There are 228 students from 30 states and 12 countries (46 international students - 20%). Tuition and room and board for the 2011-2012 school year at Vermont Academy is $45,600. Tuition for day students is $25,800.

Vermont Academy embraces the concept of having students actively participate in a class as opposed to passive learning. Whether it is building and programming a robot in Physics, or tapping maple trees in late winter to retrieve sap, Vermont Academy students are using their hands while stimulating their minds. This is a model that crosses all disciplines and has been adopted by all departments. The English students practice public speaking, the language learners put on skits in the target language, and history students participate in state-wide competitions where they defend their research in front of a panel of judges. The Academy's goal is to discover the possibilities that lie beyond the traditional four walls of the classroom and work with students in more progressive methods that encourage and stimulate different types of learners.

The Academy's impressive array of athletic offerings and outdoors programs focuses on this type of experiential education. After the last class of the day, even more learning takes place on the fields and in the forests of its 500+ acre classroom. The on-campus ski hill is busy in the winter with skiers practicing their jumps; the miles of cross-country trails are full of runners, bikers, and Nordic racers preparing for their next meets; varsity and junior varsity athletic teams compete weekly against teams from all around New England. From dawn to dusk, Vermont Academy students are busy and engaged in a variety of academic and athletic activities that challenge their brains and encourage them to engage with one another and with nature. This type of “hands on learning” produces the all-around excellence of a Vermont Academy student and prepares them for a life full of activity beyond Saxtons River.


The school was founded in 1876. It originally included a lower school for younger boys and the school gave "special attention to life in the open".[1]

In 1934, Dartmouth College president Ernest Martin Hopkins recommended a fellow Dartmouth graduate for the job of headmaster of Vermont Academy. Laurence G. Leavitt was headmaster for 25 years, during which time he doubled enrollment, retired the school's debt and made many improvements to the school's campus.[2]


  • 7:1 student-teacher ratio
  • Honors and AP level classes
  • Science Center: Classes include advanced biology, biochemistry, kinesiology, robotics, bio-ethics, physics
  • Foreign Languages: French and Spanish (5 levels), Latin, Russian, Mandarin
  • Learning Skills Center: Available to all students, 5 full-time faculty members
  • Advisor Meetings: 6 advisees per advisor; four meetings per week
  • School accreditations: NEASC, NAIS, TABS, ISANNE, AISNE

Athletics and outdoor activities[edit]

The school offers over 20 interscholastic sporting activities: alpine skiing, baseball, basketball, crew, cross country, dance, equestrian, field hockey, football, freeski, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, mountain biking, Nordic skiing, snowboarding, softball, track and field, ski jumping, soccer, and tennis.

The school has five playing fields and two practice fields; a skating rink, with artificial ice-making and maintenance system, and recently refurbished locker rooms; six tennis courts ("composition" courts, newly resurfaced); a 13-station ropes course; a mountain biking course, 20 kilometres (12 mi) of trails (for cross-country running and skiing, snowshoeing, and walks); and a winter sports park, complete with snowmaking, three different-sized ski jumps, a modest ski slope, lighting, and a grooming machine. Off-campus activities include alpine skiing/snowboarding; an equestrian program; and Outdoor Challenge (hiking, rock-climbing, kayaking, canoeing, camping).

The school belongs to the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council and competes primarily in the Lakes Region League.

Studio and performing arts[edit]

The Academy offers theater productions (3 per year, plus cabarets and coffee houses); music (theory and composition, jazz and chamber ensembles, vocal ensemble, and private music lessons); dance; studio art (painting, drawing, pottery, 3-D art, portfolio development); filmmaking; and photography.


Buildings include a 350-seat performing arts center built in 2006, a newly renovated Learning Center, new Library, campus-wide wireless technology, a dance studio with Harlequin hard-wood sprung floor built in 2004, a fitness center and locker rooms in a renovated gym built in 2004, and an observatory with high-powered telescope built in 2003. There are separate dormitories for boys and girls. There is space for 60 girls and 111 boys. There is a Winter Snow Park on campus for skiing, snowboarding, and jumping which was built in 2003.

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°08′30″N 72°30′31″W / 43.1417444°N 72.5087004°W / 43.1417444; -72.5087004