When Peter Yuanye Liao’s family began the hunt for an enriching education abroad, only one school stood out: Washington Academy (WA). Just from pictures, they could tell its New England campus exudes warmth, safety and connection. Furthermore, the Academy has a strong reputation when it comes to academics.
“There weren’t too many distractions for me, meaning I could fully concentrate on my studies,” says Liao, who is from China. “I really wanted to improve my English proficiency and experience the rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) courses designed for preparing for university.”
Today, the student has excelled in both his Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Every accomplishment was celebrated in the spacious Talbot Dormitory, where a multinational student body unwinds after jam-packed days of fulfilling discovery. “One reason why I enjoy living on campus is the diversity — I now have friends from all around the world,” Liao enthuses.
Surroundings are plush and discussions are passionate within these spaces, understandably so when no two study plans are ever the same. WA’s customisable curriculum caters to every need and aspiration. The individualised approach was set in place to assure every learner reaches their full potential well before college or university, guaranteeing a smooth journey ahead to their next academic step.
On-campus AP courses cover the basics, namely English Literature, US History, Calculus, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. WA students also have access to online AP courses through the state of Maine programme AP4ALL, which covers Computer Science, Environmental Science, European History, Macro and/or Microeconomics, Psychology, Spanish Language, Statistics, US Government and World History.
Students are even welcome to choose an early leap into college life by taking classes by the University of Maine at Machias (UMM), University of Maine, or Thomas College. Each session translates into both high school and college credit.
Academics aside, interests and passions are nurtured as well thanks to an expansive lineup of passion-building courses. “Signature Programmes allow me to customise my schedule with classes specific to my interest,” says student Wren Fraser. Future-focused options abound.
Digital Design and Animation classes were made for budding creative innovators keen on surveying and creating art in a Virtual Reality environment while using image editing, animation, and digital drawing to put art principles into practice. Meanwhile, with Engineering lessons, students uncover both the improvement of everyday objects and technologies and the development of new prototypes.
“I’m very happy to have had the opportunity to take this class,” says student Josiah Brown of his Engineering lessons. “I am enjoying coming up with solutions to the problems we are facing. Problem-solving is not only a skill that’s useful in engineering but in all aspects of life. We will be faced with problems in need of a solution every day.”
Those more interested in exploring our earth’s natural wonders are spoiled for choice as well. For example, Coastal Ecology classes entail environmental research and restoration activities in a number of ecosystems. It exposes students to forest ecology and management, river and lake water quality assessment, soils and geology, wetland surveys, and wildlife management.
“Learning about food chains and habitats taught me how fragile they all are,” enthuses student Gavin Bixler.
The Marine Biology course focuses on hands-on research and the research of others through engagement with active marine biologists. Students can expect to grow algae, brine shrimp and soft-shelled clams, work at Down East Institute in a wet laboratory; conduct research in the intertidal zone of WA’s local coastline, and much more.
“This class provides a great field experience with hands-on learning about the ocean — right in our backyard,” says Marine Biology student Noah Roos.
Other Signature Programmes include Robotics, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Marine Technology, Marketing, Modern Day Apprenticeship, Outdoor Leadership, Personal Fitness, Lab Band, World Languages, Culinary Arts, Law: Law and Order, Introduction to Personal Finance, International Business and Economics, as well as Graphic Design and Publication.
Those with learning differences or challenges, and unsure of how they can best leverage such a lineup, will find comprehensive answers to their queries at WA’s Centre for Dynamic Learning. Here, a suite of certified special educators in the state of Maine draws from several years of combined experience to provide learners with all the individualised guidance they need to make informed decisions.
To help customise your child’s journey to academic success, click here.