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Encyclopedia > Episcopal Academy
The Episcopal Academy
Esse Quam Videri
("To Be Rather than to Seem")
Established 1785
School type Private
Religious affiliation Episcopalian
Headmaster Hamilton Clark
Location Merion, PA, USA
Campus Suburban
Enrollment 1,135 total
440 Upper School
260 Middle School
435 Lower School, Kindergarten, and Pre-Kindergarten
Faculty 164
Average class size 15 students (Upper School)
17 Students (Lower and Middle School)
Average SAT
scores (2005)
646 verbal
652 math
Average ACT
scores (2005)
Athletics 30 sports teams
Color(s) Blue and White
Mascot Churchmen
Conference Inter-Academic League
Homepage www.ea1785.org

The Episcopal Academy is a private, coeducational secondary school with students from Pre-K to 12th grade. The school has 1,135 students and 164 teachers. Its main campus is currently situated on the Main Line in Merion, PA, with a satellite campus in Devon, PA. The school plans to relocate both campuses to a newly purchased campus in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, by the 2008-2009 school year. 1785 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... Private schools, or independent schools, are schools not administered by local or national government, which retain the right to select their student body and are funded in whole or in part by charging their students tuition rather than with public (state) funds. ... Official language(s) None Capital Harrisburg Largest city Philadelphia Area  Ranked 33rd  - Total 46,055 sq mi (119,283 km²)  - Width 160 miles (255 km)  - Length 280 miles (455 km)  - % water 2. ... Illustration of the backyards of a surburban neighbourhood Suburbs are inhabited districts located either on the outer rim of a city or outside the official limits of a city (the term varies from country to country), or the outer elements of a conurbation. ... The Main Line is a collection of affluent towns in suburban Philadelphia named after the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad (currently Amtraks Keystone Corridor and SEPTAs R5 line). ...



The Episcopal Academy began operation in 1785, and has undergone many changes to become the school that it is today.


The Episcopal Academy was founded in 1785 by the Rt. Rev. William White at Old Christ Church in Philadelphia, PA as an all-boys school focusing on education in Greek, Latin, mathematics, and business. Its first campus was located on the east side of Fourth Street and was directed by Dr. John Andrews, the Academy's first headmaster. However, when Dr. Andrews and several of his faculty members left to teach at the University of Pennsylvania in 1798, The Episcopal Academy was reconstituted as a free school. In 1816 it became a Second Classical Academy, in 1828 again a free school, and at some points the Academy did not even operate as an educational entity. The Most Reverend William White, 1795: Oil on Canvas The Most Reverend William White The Most Reverend William White (1748 – July 17, 1836) was the first and fourth Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA (1789; 1795-1836), the first Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania (1787-1836, and the... The University of Pennsylvania (Penn is the moniker used by the university itself [2]) is a private, nonsectarian research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ...

In 1846 the school was reconstituted yet again, this time as a Third Classical Academy, and has operated continuously ever since. In 1850, the school moved to a building at Juniper and Locust Street, and remained there until its 1921 move to its present day location in Merion, PA.

Move towards Co-Education

While female students did attend the Academy between 1789 and 1818, a plan for co-education was not implemented until 1974. In 1974, females were admitted to Kindergarten, and then to one higher grade each year thereafter. The class of 1984 was the first co-educational class to graduate from the Academy.

Establishment of a Second Campus

A second campus in Devon, PA was established in 1974 for the education of students in kindergarten through third grade. The Devon campus is now used for students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, and is planned to be re-located, along with the Merion campus, to the new Newtown Square, PA campus in 2008.

Notable Alumni

Some notable alumni of the Academy include:

  • Lionel Barrymore-Actor
  • Fitz E. Dixon-Philanthropist and Owner of several professional sports franchises in Philadelphia
  • M. Night Shyamalan-Producer and Director
  • Robert Venturi-architect and winner of the Pritzker Prize
  • Wayne Ellington-top rated high school basketball player in '06 class, currently attending UNC Chapel Hill , 2,000 point scorer
  • Gerald Henderson-Ellington's team and classmate, currently attending Duke University, 2,000 point scorer

Lionel Barrymore Herbert Lionel Blyth (April 28, 1878 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – November 15, 1954 in Van Nuys, California) was an American actor of stage, radio and film. ... Manoj Nelliattu Shyamalan (born August 6, 1970), known professionally as M. Night Shyamalan, is an American film writer, director, and producer. ... Robert Charles Venturi (June 25, 1925 -) is a Philadelphia-based architect who worked under Eero Saarinen and Louis Kahn before forming his own firm with John Rauch. ... Jerome McKinley Gerald Henderson (born January 16, 1956 in Richmond, Virginia) is a former shooting guard who had a 13 year career in the National Basketball Association from 1979 until 1992. ...

Present: "Mind, Body, and Spirit"

The Episcopal Academy today is a highly prestigious school boasting a 100% four-year college matriculation rate, numerous athletics teams, and a chapel program that meets every other day during the school day. The Academy's motto is "mind, body, and spirit," and it strives to enrich these three sectors in every student's life.


  • Head of School: Hamilton Clark- former headmaster of Sewickley Academy in Sewickley, PA.
  • Head of Upper School: Geoffrey Wagg
  • Head Chaplain: Rev. James Squire

Sewickley Academy is a private coeducational college preparatory school located in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, in the United States. ...

Academics: "Mind"


The Academy is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools under the Academy's "Accreditation for Growth" protocol. The Academy's mission statement is:

"The Episcopal Academy educates qualified, motivated students to grow intellectually, physically, and spiritually, and to share their talents generously. We are a coeducational community of learners and teachers working to achieve excellence through a strong academic program, comprehensive athletics, and vibrant arts. Our school's Episcopalian heritage with its respect for all faiths forms the basis of our life together."

The Academy also maintains a Beliefs Statement, which is required by the Middle States Assocation. The Academy maintains the following beliefs:

  • The pursuit of learning is a work for a lifetime. Learning emerges from and builds on experience and discovery.
  • A healthy lifestyle, including appropriate education and lifelong physical activity, enhances individual mental and spiritual health. Athletic competition and sportsmanship contribute to the mental and spiritual well-being of individuals and communities.
  • Everyone has inherent worth as a creation of God.
  • Every individual shares responsibility for the community.
  • Individual moral integrity and a core of common values are essential to every community.
  • Mutual respect among people of varied backgrounds and perspectives leads to positive, beneficial relationships.
  • Individuals thrive in a safe, nurturing environment where they can be comfortable in taking risks and where they can develop their talents.

The 12-Day Schedule

The Episcopal Academy's upper school is a college preparatory program. It operates on a 12-day schedule, with seven periods each day. Each period or "block" is assigned a letter from A-F or Z. Z Block was rumored to be renamed G Block in favor of alphabetical conventions, however such a change has yet to be made. Except for Science classes, each class 'drops' once every twelve days. This drop always occurs during the period before lunch, and unless currently under disciplinary sanctions or in their freshman year, students have a "free" during this block, where they are neither required to be in class nor in a study hall.

Once every six days, the class that normally meets during "X Block" is 'open', and instead of attending that class students have a two-period long Science class. This is typically when students will complete a lab.

The year is broken into two semesters, with each semeseter representing one-half of a credit (a one-credit long course will meet during both semesters). Unless they have special permission from their form dean, students are required to take six classes a semester.

Graduation Requirements

Graduation requirements are as follows:

  • 4 Credits (years) of English
  • 3 Credits of Math (including Algebra 2 and Geometry)
  • 3 Credits of Laboratory Science
  • 3 Credits of History (including U.S. History)
  • 2 Credits of the same Foreign Language (the Academy offers French, Spanish, Ancient Greek, and Latin)
  • 1 Credit of Religion
  • 1 Credit of Arts, in at least two of the three areas (music, theater, and visual art)

The College Guidance Program

Students begin meeting with their college guidance counselors during the winter and spring of their junior year. These meetings are "kicked-off" with one large class meeting in late January, where students find out who their counselor is and are lectured by a member of a college admissions office. Generally, each student is required to attend at least three one-on-one college guidance meetings, including one with the student's parent(s).

The class of 2006 continued the Academy's 100% matriculation to four-year colleges 'streak'. In 2005, 21 of 111 students (19%) matriculated to Ivy League schools, with two other students matriculating to the United States Naval Academy. In 2005, the Academy's average SAT scores were 646 verbal and 652 math. In that same year, 146 students took 266 Advanced Placement exams. 100% of students who took the Calculus BC, Spanish Language, Latin Vergil, and Physics B exams received what the college board considers a "passing" score (a 3 or above).

The school honored 25 National Merit Scholars in 2005: 11 Commended, 6 Semi-Finalists, 6 Finalists, and 2 Scholars.

Athletics: "Body"

In addition to its stellar academics, the Academy also boasts a stellar athletics program. Both boys and girls teams compete in the Inter-Academic League. For boys, this league includes The Haverford School, Malvern Preparatory School, Chestnut Hill Academy, Penn Charter, and Germantown Academy. For girls, this league includes Penn Charter, Germantown Academy, Notre Dame Academy, and the Agnes Irwin School.

The Athletics Requirement

The Academy has a sports requirement, which requires all students to participate in athletics during each of the three seasons. Freshman are required to participate in three inter-scholastic sports, while sophomores and juniors may elect to participate in the "Fitness" option for one season. "Fitness" consists of organized athletic activities three days a week, and community service two days a week. Seniors are permitted to take a "Senior Cut," that is they do not have to participate in any athletics for one season so long as they never received an "unsatisfactory" effort grade in any sport during their four years in the Upper School.

Signs that the new administration (that arrived at the Academy in 2003) may be considering making changes to the athletics requirement appeared during the 2005-2006 school year. In the spring of 2006, all upper school students completed a survey of their opinion on the current athletics requirement.

Sports Offered

The Academy has the following sports teams at both the Varsity and Junior Varsity levels:

Fall Sports

  • Cross Country (boys and girls)
  • Field Hockey (boys and girls)
  • Football (boys)
  • Soccer (boys and girls)
  • Tennis (girls)
  • Water Polo (boys and girls)

Winter Sports

  • Basketball (boys and girls)
  • Ice Hockey
  • Squash (boys and girls)
  • Swimming/Diving (boys and girls)
  • Winter Track (boys and girls)
  • Wrestling

Spring Sports

  • Baseball (boys)
  • Crew (boys and girls)
  • Golf (boys and girls)
  • Lacrosse (boys and girls)
  • Softball (girls)
  • Tennis (boys)
  • Track (boys and girls)

Episcopal Academy - Haverford School Day

Every November, the two great Inter-Academic rivals meet to compete against each other in Cross Country, Football, Soccer, and Water Polo. The venue alternates each year between the two schools. The 2005 EA-Haverford Day took place at the Episcopal Academy. At the Academy, the day is referred to as "Haverford Day", and is preceded by "Spirit Week." Spirit Week is marked by different dress days, including an "80's Day", a "Clash Day", and a "Blue and White Day." There is also usually an activity during lunch throughout the week, such as a tug-of-war and a school "Wing Bowl". Every year Episcopal students design a tee-shirt bashing Haverford (and vice-versa), which is sold to the student body during Spirit Week. Recent years' ideas have included spin-offs of the "D.A.R.E" program and MasterCard commercials.

Spirit Week concludes with an Upper School Pep Rally on Friday. Classes end for the day at 12:40 and students converge on the football field for skits, music, and "Deadman". Varsity sports practices immediately follow this Pep Rally, and students not involved sports help decorate the campus for the upcoming event.

In recent years, head shaving has become a major part of Spirit Week. Traditionally, underclassmen would be grabbed out of the hallways by upperclassmen throughout the week and return a few minutes later with a shaved head, or sometimes worse. Recent crack-downs by the new administration now forbid head shaving to take place before the Thursday of spirit week, and also require parental permission for Freshmen and Sophomores to shave their heads. A recent controversy emerged when the new varsity boys soccer coach forbade his team from shaving their heads for the 2004 and 2005 Spirit Week, however the team complied fully and no incidents emerged as a result of the ban.

On Saturday the two schools collide and compete against in the four sports. Episcopal Academy won in 2003 and 2005, and the two teams tied in 2002 and 2004. The winning school takes possession of the infamous "sweater" for the year, which is half of an Episcopal Academy sweater and half of a Haverford School sweater.

EA - Haverford Day and the week preceding it is a time of immeasurable school spirit and comradery. Teams often meet on the Thursday night before for a team dinner. The actual day is attended by virtually the entire student body, and a large number of parents and alumni. The Saturday is concluded with the "Can Dance," which is a dance that takes place at the school where the day's competitions did not.

The Addition of The Agnes Irwin School

The 2005-2006 school year marked the addition of Agnes Irwin to EA - Haverford Day. This was a topic of great controversey and a poll conducted during the fall of 2005 by the Scholium, the school newspaper, indicated that only 8 students in the entire upper school approved the addition of Agnes Irwin Day. The administration began delegating with student organizations including the Athletics Assocation, and finally decided to hold the girl soccer and girls field hockey games "under the lights" at neighboring St. Joseph's University Friday night. With the exception of cross country, all other girls competitions took place on Friday during the day, and girls cross country raced immediately before boys cross country. Friday night was a huge success and Episcopal Academy students almost unanimously agreed that the addition of Agnes Irwin only enhanced the experience.

Episcopal Academy - Germantown Academy Day

More colloquially referred to as "EA-GA day", this day was started in the Spring of 2005 and features a Saturday of competitions, both varsity and junior varsity, of Episcopal Academy versus Germantown Academy. The games are not nearly as highly attended as the Episcopal Academy - Haverford School Day games, and the dance that was scheduled to occur afterwards was cancelled in 2006 due to a lack of interest. Germantown Academy is Americas oldest nonsectarian day school, founded on December 6, 1759 (originally named the Germantown Union School). Germantown Academy (also referred to as GA) is now a K-12 school in the Fort Washington suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, having moved from its original Germantown campus in...

2005 - 2006 Boys Basketball Team

The boys basketball team, coached by Daniel Dougherty, gained national attention in 2005 and 2006, mainly due to two of its team members, Gerald Henderson '06 and Wayne Ellington '06. Both were nationally ranked high school basketball players. Henderson has signed to play for Duke University while Ellington has signed to play for the University of North Carolina. The team played at the Palestra twice during 2006, and the first of those two games was nationally broadcast on ESPN. Who is the masked man? Duke University is a private coeducational research university located in Durham, North Carolina, US. The school, which officially became Duke University in 1924, traces its institutional roots to 1838. ... The University of North Carolina is a sixteen university system which comprises all public four-year universities in North Carolina, United States. ... The Palestra is an historic arena on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, adjacent to Franklin Field in West Philadelphia. ... ESPN (formerly an initialism for the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network) is an American cable television network dedicated to broadcasting sports-related programming 24 hours a day. ...

Community Life: "Spirit"

The Academy prides itself in the community it has created, and believes that its Chapel program is the central point of the community.

The Chapel Program

Upper School students meet once every other day for a morning chapel service in Christ Chapel. The service is typically thirty-minutes long and consists of hymns, prayers, and an address by the chaplain, a member of the faculty, a student, or a guest. An elected student vestry plans most aspects of the chapel program.

Community Service

The Academy also runs an extensive community service program, and organizes weekly visits to a soup kitchen in Philadelphia, and monthly visits to a nursing home and to a facility for adults with AIDS. The Academy also participates in a tutoring program where students help younger children with their homework after school. In addition, the Community Service office sponsors other special events throughout the year, including a clothing drive, a toy drive, and a blood drive.

Can Drive

In conjunction with EA-Haverford Day, the two schools run a can drive from October through November. The can drive is sponsored by the student vestry, and each year is a huge success. In 2005, Episcopal Academy alone collected well over 20,000 cans.

External links

  • School website



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