As we head towards the close of our first trimester we are getting ready to welcome grandparents to campus on November 4th, the same day we will inaugurate our new Discovery Studio with our first TEDxCaryAcademy. These events will mark the second wave of 20th anniversary celebrations at CA this year. 

We kicked off our 20th year with an employee “birthday party” to mark the occasion, and during our first week of school we gathered the entire community for a picture on the quad — with everybody decked out in new CA shirts.

We opened our first year with 244 students in grades 6-10. This year we open with 761 students. Roughly 53% of students who apply are admitted, and 85% of those accept our offer. Students of color make up 36% percent of our enrollment. Only 3% of students leave the school each year before graduation. All of these metrics place us among the most high performing of independent schools.

In 20 short years, Cary Academy has established an outstanding reputation among top colleges and other organizations. We were thrilled to have three alumni recently named in Forbes “30 under 30” and to see seven others come back to speak at our TEDx on Friday. 

Cary Academy’s founders envisioned a college preparatory school that serves as an engine for student-centered, technology-rich instruction embedded in a liberal arts tradition. We owe a great deal to those who have come before to build what Cary Academy is today. As I mentioned in my opening convocation speech to the Upper School students, we pay this forward by reinforcing our community values and culture each and every year. Our school history now gives us a proud heritage, but it is renewed with each generation of families and students who pass through the halls.


Media wall being installed in the Discovery Studio.

Moving our programs forward

At the beginning of T2, we will formally open the new Design Lab and Discovery Studio in Berger Hall. We’ve removed the grand staircase to make a new space in the ground floor, which will be used for MS robotics and as a multi-purpose art classroom. We’ve removed the raised seating in the old Lecture Hall to create a more flexible space, which can be used with no furniture (dances, art shows), with 140 chairs in lecture format, or with tables as a seminar space. The room will have two white “write walls” and a multimedia wall for presentations. The room will be ideal for our first TEDx. 

We’ve got a lot of great things planned for the coming year. Here are just a few highlights that will emerge from our strategic plan:

  • We will continue our curriculum review process, with science and math in the program development phase and the English and social studies departments beginning their review and research phase;
  • we will launch a new computer science department and a Microsoft credential program;
  • we will form a new communications team and review the new weekly email that we launched this fall;
  • we will move to the next phase of our master facilities plan, which involves detailed planning for a new science center;
  • we will launch a girls lacrosse program and an athletic leadership development program;  
  • and, we will continue to celebrate our 20th Anniversary with a musical revue in February.  

We have much to be proud of during this anniversary year, and we stand in a position of strength to build an even stronger school moving forward.