Low student-teacher ratio. A rigorous curriculum. Welcoming community. These are just a handful of reasons why Washington Academy was so memorable to Nina Nikoličová. The breath-taking nature of Maine — the state with the lowest crime rate in the US — and the wide range of clubs and activities served as the icing on the cake.
The Czech Republic alumna was one of WA’s top 10 graduates of the Class of 2015. Following this, she majored in Communications at the University of New York in Prague before completing her postgraduate degree in Human Resource Management at the University of Edinburgh — a Russell Group institution. Nikoličová is now a recruiting coordinator at the computer software company Pure Storage.
The opportunities that were awarded to Nikoličová as a WA student played a big role in her success. From the individualised attention received from her teachers and the welcoming community that made the self-professed introvert feel at home to meeting people of different cultures that taught her to be more open-minded, the WA experience proved invaluable.
A diverse education
WA is an independent secondary school that educates students from grades nine through 12. At the heart of WA’s academic culture is the idea that everyone on campus — from new students to experienced faculty — should be lifelong learners who are both curious and adaptable to new and unexpected changes.
The Academy’s 75-acre campus is located in a safe, rural community in coastal Downeast Maine, just two miles from the Atlantic Ocean, where the air is clear and the water is clean. Here, students are prepared for university-life and beyond.
“My favorite class was AP statistics with Mrs. Axe. Although the class was quite challenging — it was actually a university-level course taught at WA — I gained knowledge that proved to be helpful when I was conducting the statistical analysis for my undergraduate thesis,” says Nikoličová.
WA understands that an “A” isn’t the only measure of students’ success. Their curriculum is ideal for any learner — students can choose from vocational offerings in boat building and nursing to AP classes and college courses offered both locally and online.
Students can also gain hands-on learning experience in specialty classes such as Outdoor Leadership, Marine Biology, and Coastal Ecology.
There are also opportunities for students to flex their creative muscles through WA’s visual and performing arts programme. This acts as a pathway for students to explore and celebrate diverse perspectives and talents, and to challenge their creative and expressive abilities.
A welcoming community
The warmth and friendliness of the WA community are second to none, as echoed by Italian alumnus Antonio Di Casola: “Despite my initial difficulties with the language, I had no problem making new friends.”
“At WA, there was not a single moment where I felt uncomfortable,” he adds. I always felt that my culture and my religious and political beliefs were treated with respect. The kindness of the people I was surrounded by always made me feel at home.”
Nikoličová concurs. “All of my teachers, peers, advisors and residential life staff were super welcoming. From the very first day I set foot in WA, I felt like I was at home. I knew that I could reach out to any of them, and they will go out of their way to support me,” she says.
Robust curriculum aside, it’s not all work and no play at WA — athletic excellence is also a tradition at the Academy. Students can choose a variety of team and individual sports, including soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, swimming, and golf to discover new talents and develop lifelong passions.
Alum Chang-hyun Shim from South Korea says one of his most memorable memories at WA was sports. “I played soccer. It was great to play as it helped me to understand the American culture better.”
WA’s location in Maine also provides students with excellent recreational opportunities, including kayaking, sailing, fishing, hiking, and nature walks.
A Life Changing Student Experience
Ultimately, students graduate from the WA well-prepared for the academic demands of their chosen university and develop the skills of a lifelong learner. “Studying at WA provided me with an excellent world view and taught me how to think critically,” Nikoličová shares. “Because of this experience, I was later able to successfully obtain my undergraduate degree from the University of New York in Prague and a postgraduate degree from the University of Edinburgh.”
If you’d like to experience Washington Academy for what it truly is, the school offers a virtual tour where you can view the campus, meet teachers and experience Maine remotely. Click here for details. To learn more about the student experience at Washington Academy, access a variety of videos on the Apprenticeship Programme, Fly Fishing Club and Community Service Day, and more by clicking here.