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Berwick Academy
Berwick Logo.jpg
Latin: Dei Timor Initium Sapiente
(The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge." - Prov. 1:7)
South Berwick, Maine, United States
Coordinates 43°13′50″N 70°48′15″W / 43.23056°N 70.80417°W / 43.23056; -70.80417Coordinates: 43°13′50″N 70°48′15″W / 43.23056°N 70.80417°W / 43.23056; -70.80417
Type Private, Day
Religious affiliation Unaffiliated
Established 1791
Head of School Greg Schneider
Faculty Approx. 140
Enrollment 560
Average class size 19 students
Student:teacher ratio 12:1
Campus Rural, 81 Acres, 11 Buildings
Color(s) Blue and White
Athletics 13 Interscholastic Sports
27 Interscholastic Teams
Athletics conference Eastern Independent League
Mascot Bulldog
Average SAT scores 627 Writing
611 Reading
613 Math  (2009)
Fogg Memorial Building, Berwick Academy

Berwick Academy is a highly selective college preparatory school located in South Berwick, Maine. Founded in 1791, it is the oldest school in Maine and one of the oldest private schools in America. The school sits on a 72-acre (29 ha), 11-building campus on a hill overlooking the Salmon Falls River, near the border of Maine and New Hampshire. Approximately 560 students in grades K through 12 attend the coeducational day school, primarily from the nearby regions of southern Maine, southeastern New Hampshire and northeastern Massachusetts.



Fogg Memorial Building in c. 1910, Berwick Academy

The school was founded when the citizens of Berwick, York, and Wells (then villages in the Maine Territory of Massachusetts) raised $500 to teach languages, liberal arts and sciences to "the youth in this part of the country." Chartered by Massachusetts Governor John Hancock later that year, the school opened in a small hip-roofed Georgian house on land donated by Judge Benjamin Chadbournes. The "1791 House" remains part of the campus today and is home to the Academy's admissions office.

From 1791 the school, now a college "prep" school, contracted with the town of South Berwick to educate local students. As the town grew and industrialized, the Academy's dual educational role necessitated campus expansion. The William Hayes Fogg Memorial Building, built by George A. Clough in the Romanesque Revival style, was completed in 1894 to house both the Academy and the South Berwick Public Library. Landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted, and complete with electricity and state-of-the-art science labs, it became the primary Academy building, as it remains today.

In 1955, Berwick reverted to a completely private status with an exclusive college preparatory program, in accordance with the intent of the Ancients. Berwick became a boarding school for boys, with a day department for girls, and expanded its facility by acquiring land for playing fields and old homes for dormitories.

During the 1970s, Berwick transformed from a boarding academy to a country day school, although it was neither historically nor academically part of the Country Day School movement. The founding of a Middle School in 1971 and a Lower School in 1977 and the discontinuation of boarding in 1976 were accompanied by significant enrollment and physical plant expansions which have continued to the present day. The school since has come to occupy a somewhat unique academic position in between the traditional American college prep school and the more progressive country day school - although it predates most prep schools by decades and the country day school movement by a century.

All Boys Basketball, Berwick Academy
Earliest Co-Ed Classes, Berwick Academy


Berwick Academy is governed by a Board of Trustees, with a Head of School in charge of fundraising and the day-to-day operation of the Academy. The three subsidiary schools are headed by Division Directors.


Jackson Library, Berwick Academy

The Academy is divided into three schools: the Lower School (grades K–4), the Middle School (grades 5–8) and the Upper School (grades 9–12). The academic calendar is divided into semesters and quarters; students typically take year-long classes, with some semester-length elective classes in the Upper School. Students follow a rigorous academic program combining classical education and technology. In keeping with the school's classical mission subjects of study are diverse and include Liberal Arts, Sciences, Fine Arts, Music and Mathematics. The Academy has implemented "Learning with Tablets", a one-to-one notebook program, which requires each student to purchase a tablet PC in the seventh grade.

College placement

Berwick Academy has traditionally prepared students for Bowdoin, Bates, Colby and Dartmouth colleges. While these relationships have continued, graduates now matriculate at a variety of highly selective colleges in the United States, including the Ivy League and "Little Ivies."


Participation in sports is generally required for grade advancement. Middle School students are required to play three sports during their course of study, and participation in interscholastic athletics is required of Upper School students. (Waivers are given to Upper School students for other extracurricular activities, such as drama or dance.) Lower school students participate in intramural sports.

Berwick currently fields teams in Golf, Soccer, Field Hockey, Cross Country, Hockey, Basketball,swimming, Skiing, Lacrosse, Softball, Tennis, and Baseball. Teams compete in the Eastern Independent League and New England Preparatory School Athletic Council and are divided by gender and skill level.

Interscholastic sports teams are known as the "Bulldogs", though during the Academy's years as a boarding school the nickname "Vikings" was sometimes used.

Notable alumni

Some notable alumni of Berwick Academy include:




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