The Lyceum Academy

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The Lyceum Academy was established by Gordon Massengill in 1998 at New Hanover High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. Inspired by Aristotle's Lyceum, the Lyceum Academy educates high school juniors and seniors in an accelerated college preparatory program. Since 2000, the Academy has offered immersive courses by including excursions to Key Largo, Atlanta, Costa Rica, Italy, Ecuador, Washington, D.C., and Arizona.

The Program[edit]

The Lyceum Academy is composed of 100 students in the senior Class, and 100 students in the junior Class. These students are selected through an application and interview process, the latter of which is sometimes conducted with the aide of graduating Academy members. The 2-year-long program is scheduled to meet from 7:30 a.m. until 11:40 a.m., Monday through Friday, but weekend obligations can sometimes be required.[1]

The Lyceum Academy is often cited as a prime example of integrated education.[2] The Lyceum Academy teaches four primary subjects: English, mathematics, social studies, and science. All projects assigned to the students are designed such that a mastery of all four subjects is necessary for a decent grade. For example, the midterm project assigned to junior academy members requires they create [clarification needed] an individual from the 1800s and explain, in depth, how all four subjects impacted his or her life.

On the various excursions that the Academy members participate in, the teachers will incorporate their fields of expertise. This might include seeing a Shakespearean play, cataloging wildlife, visiting the capital and educating students about the plight of political refugees, or doing regression analysis of graveyard data.

Courses and Prerequisites[edit]

Prerequisites include:

  • Algebra 1
  • Geometry
  • Algebra 2
  • English 1
  • English 2
  • Civics and Economics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry.

These MUST be taken prior to applying. [3]

Courses offered include:

These courses should NOT be taken prior to entering Lyceum. [4]


While most schools offer AP and Honors classes, The Lyceum Academy goes beyond that by also integrating these courses through projects, oral presentations, and travel opportunities. Lyceum offers 2 types of travel opportunities: Teaching trips and Enhancement trips. Some students also choose to participate in international travel opportunities which occur immediately after graduation. These trips are offered independent of the New Hanover County Schools system and are not considered Lyceum trips.[5] Fundraising is offered to offset each trip’s costs. We have NEVER left a student behind because of financial difficulties. In addition to our annual haunted house, Lyceum Academy also hosts a yard sale and partners with several third-party companies over the course of the year where students are encouraged to try their luck at selling products such as cookie dough and coupon books to friends, family and neighbors.[6]

Teaching Trips[edit]

Lyceum encourage 100% participation in teaching trips as they cover class materials and/or provide a hands-on experience related to material recently covered in class. Teaching trips range in price from $55 to $1100 and are from 1 to 7 days in length.[7] Teaching trips begin in September of junior year with a 2-day trip to Camp Seagull where students engage in team building activities, Kiersey Temperament Sorter and Leadership seminar, and a Ropes course. Additional trips include a 5-day trip to Washington, D.C. where students explore he resources of the Smithsonian Museums, Holocaust Museum, Arlington National Cemetery , Kennedy Center, and the National Archives emphasizing US History concepts; a 7-day trip to South Florida complete with hands-on labs, lectures, and field trips each day at MarineLab Environmental Education Center in Key Largo, Florida; a 3-day trip to Western North Carolina which includes habitat studies and interactions in Pisgah and Cherokee national forests, Nolichucky Gorge, and the Grandfather Mountain International Biosphere Reserve.[8]

Enhancement Trips[edit]

Enhancement trips occur over weekends, school vacations and holidays. The costs range from $150 to $1100 and all enhancement excursions are optional.[9] The first enhancement opportunity comes prior to entering the program. Interested students are invited to participate in a 5-day scuba camp at Campbell University offering Open Water Diver certification during the last week of July in preparation for the Florida excursion, which takes place in April. The other enhancement trip takes place during spring break of senior year and focuses on reviewing concepts taught through the AP Environmental Science course. Students and teachers who decide to participate travel to Arizona for 7 days to study and interact with the 7 life zones of the Southwest- its hydrology, geology, and native cultures both ancient and indigenous. The trip includes visits to Lake Powell , Glenn Ganyon Dam, Grand Canyon , Sunset Crater Volcano, Walnut Canyon cliff dwellings, Oak Creek Canyon , the Sonoran Desert , Kitt Peak National Observatory , Saguaro National Park , Queen Mine, and Kartchner Caverns State Park .[10]

Colleges and Universities Attended[edit]

A plethora of colleges recognize Lyceum as an academically exceptional program. Many universities visit and recruit on site. Schools both in and out of state recognize the rigor of the program and give it high marks.[11]

Colleges and universities attended by Lyceum Academy alumni:


Mack, Angela (February 25, 2007). "Academics, Such As Lyceum Academy, Can Draw Students". Star News Online. 


External links[edit]