Independence. Confidence. World-readiness.

Since 1834, Worcester Academy has been in the business of nurturing students to excel and to internalize those three qualities necessary for future success. How do we do it?

"Achieve the Honorable," our school motto and the most recognizable phrase in our school lexicon, sits as the foundation of our core values – Honor, Respect, Community, Personal Growth, and Challenge. It's the phrase every member of the WA community is expected to live up to every day.

Through our thoughtfully designed curriculum and an abundance of extra-curricular activities, we give our students an environment filled with expert guidance, plenty of options, and, of course, challenge.

We develop cultural competency and global perspective through our diverse community. Roughly 20% of our student body comes to us from outside the United States, so you'll be making friends with fellow students from Southborough to Somaliland. Our city campus gives every Hilltopper the opportunity to experience the vitality, diversity, and excitement of a city rich in heritage, culture, and the Arts.

Who are you, and what do you have to contribute to your community?

Come to Worcester Academy and find out.

List of 5 items.

  • Mission and Core Values

    Worcester Academy’s mission is to instill in its students the desire to learn throughout life, to engage passionately with the world around them, and to be honorable persons of strong and resourceful character.

    We are a community – curious, thoughtful, generous, and thriving in our diversity. We embrace each of our core values as essential to the mission of Worcester Academy and as testimony of our beliefs and commitments.

    Integrity, honesty, respect, fairness, and responsibility inform our actions and beliefs. These attributes are the foundations for "Achieving the Honorable" in both our public and private lives.

    We believe in the inherent worth of every person, celebrating difference in a community rich with diverse gifts and talents. We seek commonality in our relationships regardless of title, background, or individual abilities and challenges. We also accept responsibility for sustaining the world around us, from the campus to the global environment.

    The act of learning brings all members of this community together. We share a belief in the importance of serving others through both leadership and generosity. A respectful and compassionate approach to citizenship guides our actions on this campus and in the wider world.

    Personal growth may be measured in many ways; the most authentic, however, is when we are true to ourselves. We seek to fulfill our potential by building habits of mind and body that promote growth in knowledge and understanding, ability and confidence, poise and leadership. By doing so, we nurture a desire for life-long learning and a commitment to excellence in all phases of life.

    Attaining excellence in a changing global environment requires adaptability, creativity, and intellectual courage. We seek relevance in our work, and provide a rigorous yet nurturing environment in which we all may thrive. We value hard work and the disciplined application of knowledge and skills in our learning and institutional practices.
  • History

    1834 to Today
    Founded in 1834, Worcester Academy celebrates more than 175 years of achievements by our students, faculty, alumni, trustees, and heads of school. And while many famous alumni have passed through Worcester Academy’s doors, it is our school motto, “Achieve the Honorable,” that has remained the inspiration for each and every student and alumnus.
    Talk to any graduate and he or she will tell you about receiving great real-world preparation for life, as well as having been transformed by the Academy experience.  Every graduate has a host of good memories about exceptional faculty and classes, and friendships that have lasted a lifetime.  And, each can tell you the value of working hard at Worcester Academy to ensure future success.
    However, to truly appreciate the Worcester Academy legacy, one must first understand our beginnings.
    Established as the Worcester County Manual Labor High School, the Academy first opened its doors as “a school for the education of youth in languages, arts and sciences; for promoting habits of industry and economy; and for inculcating the principles of piety and virtue.”
    In 1846 the school officially became Worcester Academy; twenty-three years later it moved from downtown to our present location on the Union Hill campus. And in 1882, the Academy welcomed principal Dr. Daniel Webster Abercrombie, for whom the head of school’s house is named today. Dr. Abercrombie served Worcester Academy for 36 years, during which time he pioneered a progressive curriculum and built much of the school’s historic campus.
    Over the years, Worcester Academy continued to progress: In 1974 we resumed the admission of girls after a hiatus of many decades ... 1987 saw the opening of the middle school, followed by the addition of sixth grade in 1996 ... and it was also during 1996 that the school’s buildings were connected to the Internet, signifying a remarkable boost to the educational opportunities afforded our students.
    Remarkably, the last 10-plus years have been as momentous for Worcester Academy as any since Dr. Abercrombie. In 1997, Dexter P. Morse arrived to lead what has become one of the most astonishing periods of new growth and stability in the school’s history.
    Under Mr. Morse’s leadership, the number of students at Worcester Academy has more than doubled, as has the number of faculty and staff. The school has completed numerous building renovations, including a $5.6 million reconstruction of Kingsley Laboratories in Summer 2008. Construction of New Balance Fields and Rader Hall (the first new academic building in a century) were completed in 2001.
    A $31.5 million capital campaign was also successfully completed (the school’s endowment now exceeds $30 million) in 2003.
    In 2006, Boston Magazine named Worcester Academy “Best Math School.” Also in 2006, the Academy bought six acres of the former St. Vincent Hospital property, located just two blocks away from the school’s main campus; four years later, the school purchased another four acres adjacent to those parcels.
    In September 2011, Worcester Academy celebrated the opening of Morse Field, a new lighted synthetic turf field, at the corner of Winthrop and Providence streets (the St. Vincent’s property).  The field’s opening, as well as the Kingsley renovation, are hailed as milestones in the success of the school’s most recent capital campaign – onWArd: The Campaign for Worcester Academy.  Worcester Academy exceeded its goal of $50 million and raised a total of $52.2 million. The campaign funded finance property acquisitions, new construction, renovations to existing buildings, student tuition assistance and financial aid, and increased endowment.
    In doing so, Worcester Academy is poised to take its place as the best urban independent school in the nation.
    Times have changed since the Worcester County Manual Labor High School, and so have we – but like our mantra of 1834, Worcester Academy remains committed to providing our students with a solid real-world education.
  • Notable Alumni

    • John Hope 1890 - Founder of Atlanta University/Morehouse College
    • Gilbert H. Grosvenor 1893 - Founder of National Geographic magazine
    • Charles E. Merrill 1904 - Co-Founder of Merrill Lynch
    • Cole Porter 1909 - Broadway Composer
    • Abbie Hoffman 1955 - Social and Political Activist in the 1960s
    • Chulsu Kim 1960 - Deputy Director General, WTO
    • Jim Davis 1962 - Chairman, New Balance Athletic Shoe
    • Rep. Jim McGovern 1977 - U.S Congressman
    • Rick Carlisle 1979 - NBA Coach
    • Joe Philbin 1980 - NFL Coach
    • Kara E. MacMahon 1993 -  Emmy Award winning TV producer
    • Naomi S. Riley 1994 - Wall Street Journal editor and author
    • Jarrett Jack 2002 - Brooklyn Nets of the NBA
    • Elizabeth Butterworth 2007 - 2012 Rhodes Scholar
  • Board of Trustees

    President, Meg O'Leary P'20
    Vice President, Lawrence A. Gordon '72, P'11
    Treasurer, Michael J. O'Neil, Jr. '01
    SecretaryCaroline Reich P'06, '08

    Dr. Marla Abodeely '90
    Dr. Daniel R. Apelian
    Daniel R. Bonnette
    Nora Toohy Brooks
    Courtney N. Carr, Esq.
    Ronald Chan '98
    Sarah A. Collins, '06
    Peter Cronin '80
    Henry Dormitzer III '88
    Dr. Jordan Eisenstock '94
    Lawrence A. Gordon '72, P'11
    Michal Grabias '11
    William Haddad '92
    Michael J. Mangaudis P'11, '14
    Dr. Trent Masiki, PhD
    Eva Nazarewicz '01
    Michael J. O’Neil Jr. '01
    Caroline Reich P’06 '08
    Canaan Severin '12
    Dr. Michael T. Shannon '73
    Luke M. Vaillancourt '01
  • Meet Our Leadership Team

    Head of School, Kevin Breen
    Associate Head of School, Marnie Kut 
    Assistant Head of School for Student Life,
    MacKenzie Kuiper
    Head of the Upper School,
    Madeline Surgenor Richards
    Head of the Middle School, Jacqueline Arce
    Dean of Faculty, Douglas Poskitt
    Chief Financial Officer
    , Liz Budzinski
    Director of Admission & Financial Aid, Kevin Zifcak
    Director of Advancem
    ent, Jennifer DiFranco
    Director of Athletics, Ed Reilly
    Director of Communications & Marketing, Sara Port
    Director of Facilities, Jason Gerum