Founded in 1794, the Cheshire Academy is one of the oldest and most exclusive schools in the United States. It attracts many students from around the world to the town of Cheshire, Connecticut.
This region is steeped in the educational culture of New England, where some of the most prestigious universities in the world are to be found. Although not a large school, Cheshire boasts an impressive and diverse list of prominent alumni that includes captains of industry, musicians and athletes. Cheshire prides itself on its state-of-the-art facilities, including a fiber-optic network with 30 megabyte access to the internet, wireless access from all academic areas of campus, three computer labs and two mobile wireless laptop classrooms.
Cheshire Academy encourages students to participate in a variety of activities, but students have excelled in a number of national competitions related to mathematics and computing. Teaching at Cheshire revolves around a student-centered approach to learning and a moral code that is used as a guide to help students develop character.
A storied academy
Cheshire Academy was the tenth private academy ever founded in the US, putting it way ahead of other college preparatory schools in terms of tradition and legacy.
The academy was founded in 1794 as an Episcopal academy. This was a liberal school even in its earliest days. The charter roster included boys and girls, and students weren’t bound to be Episcopalian or even Christian for that matter.
Cheshire Academy grew and evolved during the 19th Century. By the 1850s, the schools strong international reputation was well established, with dozens of Cubans enrolled. Today, the academy welcomes students from more than 30 countries across the world. That’s a staggering level of diversity considering there are less than 400 total students enrolled.
In the early 1900s, the academy’s legacy was intertwined with that of Yale, and most students enrolled expressly for the chance to prepare for the rigors of this Ivy League institute.
A moral foundation
Underpinning Cheshire Academy’s educational philosophy are the “Eight Pillars of Bowden.” These are respect, responsibility, caring, civility, citizenship, morality, fairness and trustworthiness. In the earliest days, this secular code of conduct helped instill sound morals in students without requiring them to subscribe to a particular faith.
The Eight Pillars play an active role in campus life, and the average student can go into great detail explaining the impact of each virtue and how it factors into everyday life. Throughout the year, students and faculty share their thoughts on the Eight Pillars during the morning meetings.
The pillars are taught in class and at official functions, and they’re reinforced on campus by teachers who double as advisors, coaches and dorm parents. Guided by this moral framework, students are sculpted into proactive learners with the skills to take on the most demanding universities on the Eastern Seaboard.