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Academics Mesh with Red and White at Wayland Academy

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Founded in 1885 as Wayland University, this 190-student boarding and day school in Beaver Dam is today known as Wayland Academy. The nondenominational preparatory school holds the distinction of being the oldest co-educational boarding school in the United States, with the girls' dormitory built in 1888.

A liberal arts school first and foremost, Wayland gives 16 advanced placement courses and a college writing program to prepare their students for university life. Small class size ensures plenty of faculty attention for each student to facilitate the learning process. "Our juniors take a mandatory non-credit course with our two college counselors that helps them through the college search and application process," says Director of Communications Andrew McDonnell. Finding a university or college that really fits each individual is the ultimate intention.

Wayland Academy is also big on athletics in their red and white colors. With a large field house, several fields, tennis court, and pool, sports are a big part of the school for both sexes. Interscholastic sports and teamwork are encouraged here and the "no-cut" policy means that anyone - champ or rookie - who wants to play and learn will get a chance on the court or field or be able to make a splash in the water.

Throughout it all, teachings focus on a foundation of three goals. According to the school, education should first have a sense of history; second, students should be encouraged to be creative; and three, schools need to instill a solid sense of morality.

Community involvement is important for both staff and students. Volunteering and hosting events are both ways that Wayland Academy works with the community. From Humane Society and St. Vincent de Paul to the Beaver Dam Community Theatre and other local organizations, student continue to help the Beaver Dam area. McDonnell notes, "Over the last few years, the school has co-hosted free events with the public library that included bringing authors and other speakers to campus. The public also joins the school for student and faculty concerts throughout the year and our annual Lessons and Carols ceremony in December."

So, why have your kids attend preparatory over public school? "One of the biggest advantages of this school is the immersive, diverse experience our students receive, both our boarding and day students," explains McDonnell. Classmates come from all over the United States and the world, including 32 countries that include Belgium, Egypt, Korea, and Rwanda. "They get a global experience that most students won't get until college," says McDonnell, "and they leave here prepared academically and socially to face the world beyond their hometowns."

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