Sewickley Academy

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Sewickley Academy
Sewickley Academy Crest.jpg
Amici, Honor, et Virtus
Friendship, Honor, and Achievement
315 Academy Avenue
Sewickley, PA 15143 Coordinates: 40°32′38″N 80°11′27″W / 40.54389°N 80.19083°W / 40.54389; -80.19083
Type independent, secular, coeducational preparatory school
Established 1838
Headmaster Kolia John O'Connor[1]
Head of school

Dr. Cricket Mikheev (Lower School)
Evan Kurtz (Middle School)

Dr. Peter Lau (Senior School)
Dean Ken Goleski (Senior School)
Trevor Adams (Middle School)
Grades PK-12
Enrollment 618
Color(s)      Red
Athletics conference PIAA, WPIAL, Midwest Prep Hockey League
Mascot Panther
Endowment $34 million[2]
Tuition $15,825 Pre-Kindergarten
$17,220 Kindergarten
$21,470 1st-5th
$24,995 6th-8th
$26,670 9th-12th[3]
Affiliations National Association of Independent Schools

Sewickley Academy is a private, secular academy located in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. It currently contains 660 students.[4] It is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools. The school’s colors are red and black, and the mascot is the Panther.


Located approximately 12 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, 660 students attend SA on a single, 16-acre campus, which includes 60 classrooms, nine science labs, five computer labs, two robotics labs, two libraries with a total of 33,600 volumes, two student publishing centers, a digital design lab, and a media center.

The campus is equipped with five tennis courts, four athletic fields including a turf field, two gymnasiums, and a fully equipped fitness center that supports 22 varsity teams.

The Academy utilizes two greenhouses and a school garden that creates an outdoor classroom and experiential learning center. The arts programs are supported by visual and performing art studios, a ceramics studio, music practice rooms, a black-box theater with seating for approximately 130, Rea Auditorium with 570 seats, and the Campbell Art Gallery.

Early Childhood, Lower, Middle, and Senior Schools: 315 Academy Avenue, Sewickley, PA 15143

Frick Field: 200 Hazel Lane, Sewickley, PA 15143

Nichols Field: 624 Beaver Road, Sewickley, PA 15143


Sewickley Academy is the oldest independent school in western Pennsylvania. Founded in 1838 as a boys’ school by William Nevin and John Champ, it was housed in Squire Way’s brick house that still stands on Beaver Road in Sewickley. Boarding students came from southern states including Virginia and as far south as New Orleans, Louisiana. They came by steamboat and by rail, joining local day students from the Pittsburgh area.

The school underwent several iterations: it was moved four times around the Sewickley area and closed briefly three times, once because of the Civil War when southern students returned home and some teachers and older boys joined the war effort. The school reopened in 1865 as a day school. Two local girls’ primary schools closed in the early 1900s and, integrating these girls into its program, the Academy became a co-educational day school when it settled onto its present campus in 1925.

Under the leadership of Headmaster Cliff Nichols (1951 – 1981) the school began to expand slowly from a neighborhood school to a more regional school. The Academy only educated students through Grade 9 for much of its history. Students left Sewickley to attend boarding schools and other schools in the Pittsburgh area to complete their secondary education. In 1963 Nichols hired James E. Cavalier to build a Senior School, one year at a time. The first class graduated from the new Senior School in 1966.

A fire destroyed the main building on January 10, 1970, however, Nichols and the Board of Trustees enacted a capital campaign that repaired the main building and added several additional buildings to the campus. Later, the school enacted a Master Plan from 1998 to 2000 that transformed the campus once again, adding a new building for the Middle School, a library for Middle and Senior Schools, and reconfiguring multiple other buildings on campus.

The current Head of School is Kolia O’Connor. The school recently celebrated its 175th anniversary since its founding in 1838 and the 50-year anniversary of the inception of the Senior School.[5]


Cum Laude Society[edit]

Sewickley Academy has been a member of the Cum Laude Society since the earliest days of the Senior School in 1966. The faculty members of the Sewickley Academy Cum Laude Society select students from the senior class to become candidates for induction into the Sewickley Academy chapter of the Cum Laude Society. Selections are made based on the record of academic achievement earned by the student through the end of their junior year. The Cum Laude Society instructs its member chapters to not consider service, athletics, leadership, or other non-academic factors in selecting candidates for induction. The Cum Laude Society argues this on the basis that these qualities are recognized in other contexts. The Cum Laude Society is looking first and foremost at the student’s record of academic achievement.

Support Services[edit]

Sewickley Academy enrolls a diverse student body with a variety of backgrounds, skills, talents, and interests. Recognizing that students develop, learn, and grow in a variety of ways, the Academy is committed to working with teachers and parents to help children understand their unique personalities and learning profiles. Parents are considered valued "partners in education" and are consulted and closely involved in individualized planning on behalf of each child's personal and academic success.

The Support Services team coordinates with faculty and families to ensure that every child has both an academically and socially enriching experience Pre-K through Grade 12. Consultation and services are provided in the areas of learning (reading, math, speech/language, and executive functioning skills), counseling, and health. The Academy provides direct support to students through one-on-one and/or small group sessions, as well as classroom-based facilitations in coordination with faculty to help teachers identify and support their students’ personal and academic strengths.

Each division has a formal structure to facilitate comprehensive student support. All three school divisions have resource teams that meet weekly to discuss students who come to their attention via teachers, students, and/or parents. The resource team's primary goal is to ensure that the needs of students are addressed in a timely and meaningful manner, while respecting confidentiality and "need to know" guidelines.[6]

Financial Aid[edit]

A strong financial aid program supports Sewickley Academy's commitment to diversity within our student body. Qualified, motivated students are encouraged to apply to Sewickley Academy irrespective of financial need. Approximately 18 percent of students receive tuition assistance.

Grants are awarded on the basis of demonstrated financial need. Financial aid is available to students in Pre-K through Grade 12.

The financial aid program at Sewickley Academy is need-based. Aid decisions are guided by financial data submitted to Financial Aid for School Tuition (FAST) by Independent School Management (ISM), and by review of the application data by Sewickley Academy's Financial Aid Committee. There are no merit-based scholarships available at Sewickley Academy. All aid is need-based.[7]

Global Studies[edit]

Global Studies Vision Statement: Sewickley Academy’s Pre-K through Grade 12 Global Studies Program enables students to cultivate a globally informed personal identity and equips them to be creative leaders and constructive citizens in the service of building positive partnerships with others near and far.[8]

Through a combination of content knowledge and 21st century skills (critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, entrepreneurialism, written or oral expression, intercultural competency, creativity, adaptability, and resilience), the program introduces its youngest students to diverse cultures and traditions and provides opportunities for international travel and service learning. Students in Grades 8 through 10 may apply to the Global Studies Certificate Program.[8]

At Sewickley Academy, international travel is viewed as an opportunity for students in the Middle and Senior Schools to practice newly acquired skills and global competencies by engaging directly with people in other countries. Five exchange partnerships with schools in England, Australia, Spain, Germany, and China offer students the chance to form friendships around the world while experiencing another culture from the unique perspective of a home stay. In addition, faculty design a variety of travel experiences each year that incorporate specific learning goals, are connected with course content or language immersion, or involve international service learning. Recently, students have taken on leadership roles in organizing service travel options to countries such as Ireland and Haiti. These initiatives are supported and encouraged by the Global Studies Department.

For students in Grades 8 through 10 who are passionate about global issues and wish to take this learning to a higher level, Sewickley Academy offers a Global Studies Certificate Program. The program incorporates academic and experiential learning components and is designed to develop global competence and other 21st century skills.[9]

Global Studies at Sewickley Academy seeks to broaden every student’s perspective so that knowledge of history, culture, geography, and languages results in students being motivated to make a difference in the world.

Service Leadership[edit]

The core values of the Academy provide the foundation and inspiration for the Service Leadership program. Through curricular and extra-curricular initiatives, the program introduces and develops an understanding of the inter-relationships among all people: locally, regionally, and globally. As a result, students come away with a deep sense of responsibility to lead through service to others.

All Academy students participate in individual and group volunteer service projects including but not limited to food and resource drives, on-site volunteer work, and student-sponsored and organized fundraisers.

Senior School students must record 55 hours of service (independent of school-led initiatives) to graduate.[10]


Sewickley Academy is dedicated to being a community that represents and celebrates different backgrounds, talents, interests, and divergent yet informed opinions. Its goal is to elevate an inclusive community that allows all to feel welcomed. The Academy firmly insists that every person is an important member of our community and that their voices should be shared.

The school is intentional about creating systems and safe spaces that make this happen for its students, faculty, and parents. Inclusive curriculum, diverse clubs, student led opt-in series, and Seeking Educational Equity through Diversity (S.E.E.D.) cohort groups for students, parents, faculty, and staff create positive protocols for difficult conversations.[11]

College Guidance[edit]

With 100 percent of graduates continuing on to four-year colleges, great care and attention are given to guiding and supporting students and their families throughout the college selection process.

Two full-time college counselors provide students with individual attention and counseling throughout the college process. They enjoy getting to know the students and working with them to investigate and discover colleges with the right fit, evaluate the likelihood of admission, and discuss how to present themselves to the colleges and universities to which they are applying. The importance of consistent, open communication among the student, parents, college counselor, and colleges is emphasized.

A successful college search will result in students being admitted to colleges and universities which fit the unique interests and goals of each Sewickley Academy senior. Students gain admission to a wide variety of outstanding schools including the most selective private colleges, public universities, and fine arts schools in the nation.[12]

Interscholastic sports[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]



  1. ^ "Administration". Sewickley Academy. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Charitable Organization: Sewickley Academy". Open Endowment. 2013. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Tuition & Fees". sewickley Academy. Retrieved May 1, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Quick Facts". 
  5. ^ "Our History". 
  6. ^ "Support Services". 
  7. ^ "Financial Aid". 
  8. ^ a b "Global Studies". 
  9. ^ "Global Studies Certificate". 
  10. ^ "Service Leadership". 
  11. ^ "Diversity". 
  12. ^ "College Guidance". 
  13. ^ "Distinguished Alumni". Sewickley Academy Website. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  14. ^ "Astronaut Bio:Edward Michael "Mike" Fincke". NASA Johnson Space Center Website. March 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 

External links[edit]