Middleburg Academy: Transitioning to a Classical Liberal Arts Education

Beginning in the 2019–2020 academic year, Middleburg Academy will transition to a classical education model. Hillsdale College, at the invitation of Middleburg Academy’s Board of Trustees, and alongside the Middleburg Academy administrators, faculty, staff, parents, and students, is excited to be working with Middleburg Academy to write this new chapter in the school’s history.
For Middleburg Academy, this transition is a natural next step. Building on the important work done at the school since its founding, Middleburg Academy now reaches a new and exciting stage in its development. The genuine emphasis on educating the whole person has always been essential to Middleburg Academy: in 1965, when Notre Dame Academy was founded as a Catholic boarding school for girls; in the 1990s, as the school became a coeducational Catholic day school; and now as an independent, classical liberal arts school.
For Hillsdale College too, this new relationship with Middleburg Academy is a fitting next step. Founded in 1844, Hillsdale College was the first college open to all students regardless of race, sex, or creed, with a mission to educate the young in the liberal arts, to develop their minds, and to improve their hearts. At Hillsdale College, “the liberal arts” isn’t another name for general education requirements; they are not a sampling of introductory subjects. Classically rooted liberal arts are studied the way they were meant to be: as a means of understanding the good, the true, and the beautiful and of fashioning a noble and successful life in accord with these high ideals. We study important and humane principles, whether they can be found in ancient Greece, the Renaissance, America’s founding era, or our own time. 
Middleburg Academy and Hillsdale College are excited about this association and enter it eagerly and with confidence about the future of Middleburg Academy and the growing educational opportunities it will offer families and students in the northern Virginia community. 

Classical Liberal Arts for Middleburg Academy

“The value of an education in [the] liberal arts...is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.” —Albert Einstein

A classical liberal arts education is practical and personal. Bringing this approach to Middleburg Academy is meant to better serve parents in the education of their sons and daughters as sons and daughters, as friends, scholars, professionals, and citizens. This course of study will have an impact on how your son or daughter lives now—today—and in the near and distant future. It is the best college-preparatory curriculum; in addition, Middleburg Academy’s focus is both more immediate and more forward-thinking than college prep alone. It is an education aimed toward living a noble and fruitful life.

The liberal arts are often cataloged as seven—the trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric; and the quadrivium of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. They take their foundations from ancient Greek philosophy, history, poetry, and rhetoric. The birth of the term dates from centuries after Athens’ golden age when the great Roman humanist and orator Cicero referred to them as the artes liberales. They consisted of education, literature, and eloquence; later humanists would reveal a fourth category implicit in Cicero’s presentation, namely the laws, the traditions of humanity and the dictates of practical reason.

This is an important way to approach a classical curriculum in the liberal arts, and it will be a hallmark of their practice at Middleburg Academy—to think of them as “the arts of liberty,” as those things we must know and practice to be free.

Middleburg Academy’s motto, Cognoscere, Ducere, Servire (To Learn, To Lead, and To Serve), raises important questions: What to Learn? Where to Lead? How to Serve? The liberal arts ask complementary questions, ones that will help Middleburg Academy fulfill its motto for families and students:

What must we know in order to be free? A student of the liberal arts studies logic, grammar, and rhetoric and acquires a citizen’s knowledge of law—the laws of nature, the laws of our country, and the laws of humanity. History and English classes, as well as semester-long studies directly in Logic and Rhetoric, will incorporate these studies. These improvements will also strengthen the hard sciences in the curriculum, helping students to think in clear, scientific ways through classes in logic and rhetorical philosophy. And the emphasis in the curriculum on the humane and liberal arts will foster even more interest in the school’s excellent fine arts programs.

What must we do in order to be free? The increased emphasis on great books, on the thoughtful stories and histories of the past, on clear, logical thinking, and beautifully true and good speaking and writing—all these will help Middleburg Academy students to Learn, Lead, and Serve now, in college, and in a happy and full life beyond.

The Transition to a Classical Education

Middleburg Academy and Hillsdale College have developed and begun to implement a three-year plan to transition the school to a classical liberal arts curriculum, beginning in the 2019–2020 academic year and expanding gradually each year with incoming classes such that the school will be a thriving classical academy come Fall 2023.

It is important to understand that this is a transition: changes will be incremental and occur over time in a way that minimizes those changes for the returning upper classes. In the first year, consistent with a gradual transition, there will be minimal curricular change in grades Ten through Twelve. There will be no new graduation requirements for returning high school students.

This year’s freshmen will be the first to graduate from Middleburg Academy with the full implementation of the improved classical liberal arts curriculum, which, once planted over these three years, will continue to grow.

Some of the new and continued hallmarks of Middleburg Academy include the following:

(a) continued and deepened use of seminar discussions;
(b) expanded use of the great books of the Western Tradition;
(c) expanded practical training in clear thinking, writing, and speaking;
(d) increased access to rich elective offerings;
(e) literature and history classes that track together, while integrating various subjects, increasing knowledge and communication skills;
(f) foundation in Latin with its benefits in SAT/ACT preparation, as well as preparation for medical, scientific, and legal fields, not to mention the practical wisdom of the ancient works in that language; and
(g) introductory courses in Logic and Ethics & Rhetoric.

Graduation requirements will increase slightly overall, but access to more elective choices will also be a feature of the transition, as the school undertakes a study this fall as to how best to optimize the daily schedule. We are confident that an adjusted daily class schedule, similar to those at other classical liberal arts preparatory schools, can be implemented for the 2020–2021 school year. An improved schedule will provide time for more excellent required courses as well as flexibility for students to pursue courses that both play to their strengths and interests, round out their education, in the fine arts, for instance, and prepare them for a competitive college application process.


Middleburg Academy Student Heads to Virginia Governor's Latin Academy

Ashland, Virginia - Venerunt! Viderunt! Vicerunt!


They came! They saw! They conquered! Forty-five Virginia high school students from both public and private schools in Virginia were chosen to attend the 2019 Gubernatoris Latina Academia. One of five language academies sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education, the Governor's Latin Academy provides the opportunity for outstanding Latin students to continue their studies in a unique environment. CBS News and USA Today have featured the Academies as examples of innovative foreign language programs.

For three weeks, the Latin Academy's students will learn and experience Latin language and culture through hands-on activities and in real-life situations, making language acquisition more meaningful, practical, and lasting.

Participating students were selected through a statewide competition that included essays, tests of Latin grammar and composition and teacher recommendations. This year the 32nd Annual Virginia Governor's Latin Academy is in session from June 23 through July 14 at Randolph Macon College in Ashland. James Sturdevant, a rising 11th grade student at Middleburg Academy in Middleburg, Virginia, was among those who arrived at R-MC on June 23.

All students in the Governor's Latin Academy will attend six classes, including Ancient Greek, Inscriptions, Life in the Provinces, Conversational Latin, Latin Composition, and Agrippina the Younger. In addition, students may audition for a role in a Roman comedy that will be produced near the end of the third week, as well as attend lectures by classicists from around the Commonwealth.

However, the Academy is not all books, desks, and the classroom. Field trips will explore and analyze the influences of Classical Rome on both the physical and legislative aspects of our state government in addition to witnessing on the live stage how ideas from mythology and ancient drama are still vibrant today.

Academy attendees do not only observe or read about the ancient world, they also have the chance to recreate it. Everyone, staff and students, will don their best toga (men) or stola (women) while students will elect officers using procedures and titles that Julius Caesar would recognize. Still togate, we will revisit Roman fast-food restaurants and even a more refined convivium (formal banquet) over the course of the three weeks.

The Academy will be a truly unique endeavor, one that alumni often describe as unforgettable and among the best and most fun experiences of their lives.

For more information, contact Lisa Harris (lisa.harris@doe.virginia.gov), Specialist for Foreign Languages, Virginia Department of Education, at (804) 225-3666 or visit http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/foreign_language/language_academies/index.shtml

AP Environmental Science Students Work Towards a Greener World

AP Environmental Science students recently planned projects with two goals: involvement of the community and the benefit of the local environment.

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Some students took the direct approach and organized tree and flower plantings, river clean-ups, and structure building for efficiency and wildlife. We are creating an aquaponic greenhouse in an ongoing project, and we now also have an extensive butterfly garden, functional and beautiful birdhouses, and new trees on campus. Our section of Goose Creek is litter-free and more friendly to wildlife than ever. Next time you pay us a visit, keep an eye out for deer, turkeys, salamanders, groundhogs, foxes, and more!

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Other students focused on an indirect approach, using workshops and education in advocating for a healthier environment. There was a tie-dye event for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a workshop on sea turtles that included an emphasis on reusable utensils (such as metal straws) as well as a letter-writing campaign to government officials, education on paper water bottles, and a focus group on restoring the food supply of assorted endangered species.

All of the individual projects were planned by students and organized to use the student body as their workforce: every single Middleburg Academy student contributed in some form, with all of them showing incredible motivation and increased interest in the local environment.

Middleburg Academy's Prefect Program Works to Perfection

Axel Arellano, Head Prefect 2019

Axel Arellano, Head Prefect 2019

By Leonard Shapiro

Axel Arellano admits he never saw it coming. But Middleburg Academy Head of School Colley Bell said he never had any doubts when he and the outgoing Prefects made the final choice to select the senior to fill one of the most important student leadership positions on campus.

Arellano is the head prefect this academic year, leading a group of four outstanding students selected for those roles by the faculty, their peers and ultimately Bell. His prefect colleagues are fellow seniors David Penney, Lana Bennett and Coco Chen.

According to Kasey Morris, the school's admissions officer, "prefects embody the highest level of student leadership at Middleburg Academy. They oversee all aspects of student leadership and work with the faculty and administration to ensure that the school's motto - Learn. Lead, and Serve. - is successfully engaged."

The Prefect program began five years ago in Bell's second year. It's based on a system set up by Thomas Arnold, a leading 19th century education reformer at England's Rugby School. Arnold once described Rugby as having a prevailing atmosphere of "anarchy tempered by despotism." He tried to instill an ethos of honor, moral values and personal commitment  and wanted prefects to set an example for younger pupils.

Bell and his wife, Edwina, also a school administrator, both had been advisers to Arellano and said they saw in him all the qualities of the perfect prefect.  He was an outstanding student, a dedicated athlete and seemed to gain the respect of the faculty and fellow students with every passing year.

The Prefects: Lana Bennett, Master Prefect; Axel Arellano Head Prefect; David Penney, Sergeant-at-Arms; Coco Chen, Secretary

The Prefects: Lana Bennett, Master Prefect; Axel Arellano Head Prefect; David Penney, Sergeant-at-Arms; Coco Chen, Secretary

"He was the whole package," Edwina Bell said. "We could see it in the way he carried himself and the respect he got from the other students. We don’t have locks on the lockers.  We don’t have issues with bullying.  Our younger students know that's not acceptable because they see the example set by our student leaders."

The prefects meet twice a week to discuss various issues. They make recommendations on the student code of conduct. They're encouraged to tell Bell when a rule or a program doesn't seem to be working.

They run school meetings, work with student council officers and always try to make themselves available, particularly to younger students who may not be familiar with the school's culture. They most definitely are not meant to be "tattletales,” the prying eyes and ears of teachers and administrators.

Just as an example, if Axel sees something on social media that's not appropriate, he'll tell that student 'hey,  knock that off.'" Colley Bell said.  "He doesn't have to report back to me.  He doesn't have to drag that student into the office." 

Arellano said he and his fellow prefects strive to make certain none of their fellow students ever feel alone or left out. “At the start of the year,” he said,  “you want to make every student comfortable.  If you see somebody sitting by themselves, we’ll go over and make sure it doesn’t stay that way.  Younger students come to us all the time.  They sometimes feel a little bit overwhelmed, and I’ll ask other kids to go talk to them, too.”

Arellano himself is rather soft spoken and unassuming. Colley Bell knew he was a quiet type when he had him his history class as a junior.  But he also notices that the senior prefects also seemed to gravitate toward him.

Bell recalled that “when  I asked the former prefects if they thought he’s be able to express himself to other students, they all said “‘oh yeah, you don’t have to worry about Axel.”

Arellano hopes to attend Virginia Tech to study engineering, and the prefect program surely will be a feather in his cap.  For now though, he’s focused in his responsibility at Middleburg Academy.

“He’s going to have a great year,” Colley Bell said.  “he is making a difference here.”







Join Us for Mornings at Middleburg

Every morning, while students and teachers are entering our main academic building, moving from lockers to classrooms with books and coffees in hand, greeting one another and getting settled, piano music fills the air. These are Mornings at Middleburg.

Mornings at Middleburg started when one of our international students from China simply played the piano for the love of it each morning. Soon, it became a daily occurrence, with our community looking forward to it every day as a positive and energizing way to start things off. In short order, Head of School Colley Bell decided to livestream the informal performances so that everyone, including the student’s parents far away in China, could tune in; for this family, it was an opportunity to see their child from afar, often as they sat down to dinner while she just began her day in the United States.

Now, Mornings at Middleburg are open to any student who would like to perform for the community, setting the vibe for our day. We invite you to us for Mornings at Middleburg.

Alex Hess '18 Competes at National Shakespeare Competition

In the photo:  Alex Hess and another student competitor with Brayden Simpson, Affiliated Teaching Artist with the Shakespeare Theatre Company and graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where Alex is headed next year. 

In the photo: Alex Hess and another student competitor with Brayden Simpson, Affiliated Teaching Artist with the Shakespeare Theatre Company and graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where Alex is headed next year. 

On Monday, March 19th, students and teachers from across the Washington DC metro area gathered at the The Lansburgh Theatre, home of the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) in downtown DC, to compete in the 29th Annual National Shakespeare Competition. Representing Middleburg Academy, senior Alexandra (Alex) Hess performed Hamlet's famous "To be or not be..." soliloquy and Shakespearean Sonnet 43. Student competitors presented their pieces to a panel of three judges of local theatre professionals including the Director of Education at STC. The students also participated in a Shakespearean Monologue Workshop and a Q&A session with a group of three professional actors affiliated with STC. Middleburg Academy's Drama Teacher, David Sturdevant, attended the event and commented, "This was a tremendous event for all the of the competitors. Alex did an amazing job representing the school and made some great connections with other students and professionals. So many teachers expressed to me what an outstanding job she did." While not selected as a finalist for the national finals, Alex was pleased with the experience. "It was an honor to present on this stage where so many great Shakespearean actors have performed. I learned a lot and made some great friends. I hope the school will continue to participate in the future."

Jimmy Cunningham '18 Works with the Peopoly Moai 3D Printer

Contributed by Mr. Bill Quinn.


Jimmy Cunningham '18 is pictured standing next to the new Peopoly Moai 3-D printer that Middleburg Academy now owns.

This printer works by pouring resin in a tank inside the printer (the red liquid in this photo). Lasers moving across the resin build the new 3-D object on the building plate in the printer (note the special glasses on Jimmy's head which must be worn when the laser is in use and the printer doors are open). Once the object has completely printed it should be moved under UV lights to harden the material.

This was a kit and required Jimmy to spend about 8 hours to solder the wires and circuit boards together. He spent a number of days talking to engineers in China, India, and the United States in order to work out some imperfections he saw in the first products. These imperfections required software fixes. 

Jimmy received a lot of notice in his ability to solve our printer problems and helped many others around the world, so much so that the Peopoly company has given him a special status as a development tester. He gets to beta test their new software. This is a privilege this company has only given to six people around the world! Jimmy has also given this company several design improvements that enable this printer to work more effectively. 

We are currently the only educational institution in the world with this printer.  Currently this printer is in research and development areas in corporate and government locations around the world.

Middleburg Academy Hosts the Hunt

Middleburg Academy was pleased to host the Middleburg Hunt on our beautiful 90-acre campus on Thursday, November 16th.

Below, in front of our historic Mary House, huntsman Richard Roberts speaks with students about the tradition of foxhunting in Virginia. Students served apple cider to the mounted riders, as the hounds mingled and made new friends.

Joining the action for the day were: Salem Twiggs ('20) and her father, MFHA Executive Director David Twiggs; sisters Beverly ('20) and Nancy ('18) Alcock with their dad Graham; Robin Peterson ('18); Sophie Horn ('18); equestrian coach Jennifer Lee; and faculty member Kasey Morris.


Middleburg Academy Forging a Collaborative Curriculum


By Leonard Shapiro, Middleburg Life
Earlier this fall, Middleburg Academy Head of School Colley Bell wanted to see for himself exactly what all the student buzz was about when he decided to walk over to the cam­pus's latest innovative "classroom." 
He'd heard many of them anima­tedly chattering about the experience they'd had working with art instructor Stephen Rueckert on one of two forges set up in a large converted storage area. 

Rueckert was teaching his charges how to manipulate a glowing hunk of metal that had been heated to 1,500 red--hot degrees on one of two forges-one coal-fired, the other fu­eled by propane. The students would learn how to bend it, twist it and eventually shape it into something that might even be used on another building project at the school. 

"The kids were all talking about it," Bell said. "And after I tried it my­self, I knew why. When you feel that metal bend, something really hap­pens to you. It's quite amazing. Now all the students want to try it. They want to start a forge club." 


Rueckert, now in his second year on the Middleburg Academy faculty, learned how to use a forge many years ago when he was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. He spent his first 20 years after college as a full-time artist living in Brooklyn before he went back to school at age 40 to earn a Masters of Fine Arts de­gree from Brooklyn College. 

A widely-acclaimed sculptor, his work can be found in the permanent collection of Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and The Brook­lyn Museum and has been featured in publications such as Art Forum, the New York Times, Washington Post and The New Scientist. 

New York City school system before moving south, where he taught at St. Albans in Washington before chang­ing venues to Middleburg Academy. He was brought on board to help Bell and other faculty members figure out a way to boost the school's STEM programs (science, technology, engi­neering and math) with a healthy infusion of the arts and humanities. Make that STEAM, with an equal emphasis on the A, as in arts. 

The school also is implementing another acronym - MOCHA - which stands for Make One Con­nection Happen-Arts, Academics, and Athletics. The primary goal, ac­cording to the school's description of the program, "is to encourage every teacher to reach out across the cur­riculum to partner, collaborate and make at last one teaching connection happen every semester." 

Rueckert is heavily involved in helping to coordinate that effort, and he's also a firm believer in employ­ing a hands-on approach to his own teaching. 

"If you're going to be an engineer," Rueckert said, "you should know what it takes to bend a piece of steel. It helps you understand how things get made. Many engineering schools are getting the bright kids., but many of them don't have that hands-on ex­perience, which to me would seem to be so important." 

There's also another useful benefit to the forge work, along with other practical skills Smith is teaching his students, including welding and glass making. 

Middleburg Academy is embark­ing on a project to restore a stable complex built in 1910 that hasn't been used in years and nearly had its roof collapse in a major hail storm in May, 2016. Students will be using the forg­es to make replicas of original handles on the stable doors, and they're learn­ing basic woodworking and how to etch glass windows that also will be used in the stable renovation. 
The stable's eventual residents­horses-will also be part of the first S in STEAM, as in the science cur­riculum. 

"To me, it's all about the balance between science and the humani­ties," he said. "It's a collaboration across the whole curriculum-Latin and and science, math and science, art and engineering. There are just so many possibilities. You want to show them how to use the tools and use their imaginations. 'Il1at's my joy-getting them to use their cre­ativity and their imagination." 

Chloé Loufield '21 in the News


Former Washington Post reporter Lenny Shapiro interviewed our very own Chloé Loufield '21 for the local paper. Piano is but one reflection of her passion for all things performing arts. Thank you to the photographers at Middleburg Photo for the fun photoshoot and the staff at Salamander Resort & Spa for the use of their space.

Please click the following link to read the article about Chloé: http://www.fauquier.com/special/page-t/page_dd6a8302-44c0-5ea8-8ead-bd1e0effc102.html


Something's Brewing at Middleburg Academy...

MOCHA: Making One Connection Happen in Arts, Academics, and Athletics

An exciting new effort is underway to reinforce our S.T.E.A.M. program and energize interdisciplinary teaching and learning at Middleburg Academy. We call it ONE CONNECTION, or MOCHA for short. Our primary goal is to encourage every teacher in the school to reach out across the curriculum to partner, collaborate and make at least one teaching connection happen each semester. It is our way to keep ideas fresh, new, exciting, interactive and applied for both faculty and students.  All aboard! No stone left unturned. Leonardo DaVinci approved!

Lady Dragons Volleyball Ranked 4th in DC Area

Middleburg Academy is excited to announce that according to the Washington Post, their Girls’ Varsity Volleyball team has been ranked 4th in the D.C. area.  For the past two years, the Lady Dragons have won the Divison II State Championship and are looking for another one this season.  Coach Maureen DiClementi states: “We are looking forward to this high school season and anticipate some growing pains along the way, but the Lady Dragons are up to the challenge!  The core returning group consists of competitive student athletes Lilly Reilly ‘18, Emma DiClementi ‘18, Lauren Greminger ‘18, Chelsea Penfield ‘19, Lilian Vargo ‘19 and Kennedy Bryant ‘20.  They are dedicated, energetic and work very well together.  We also welcome some new players: Sheila Carr ‘18, Allie Heissenius ‘21 and Fiona Steinour ‘21.  We are setting goals as a team and hope to improve as each week passes.”

Clink on the following link to read the entire article by Michael Errigo from the Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/recruiting-insider/wp/2017/09/06/volleyball-top-10-loudoun-county-holy-cross-northwest-lead-first-rankings/?utm_term=.29715d044a9e

Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead at Middleburg Academy

Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead at Middleburg Academy

An independent school established in 2009 and now serving grades 8-12, Middleburg Academy is on a mission to meet the needs of students living in a changing world. You may have heard of the acronym S.T.E.M., the latest buzzword in education and part of an initiative to bring science, technology, engineering and math to the forefront of student learning.

Middleburg’s Turner Smith brings excitement to the academy’s fencing program.

Middleburg, VA (Feb. 28, 2017) – For the first time in Middleburg Academy history, Fencing is a winter varsity sport.  A sport of grace, speed, and reflexes, fencing is a sport in which two competitors fight using swords with dull tips, winning points by making contact with their opponent.

Middleburg Academy fencers were extremely grateful to have had two outstanding coaches this season in Rolando Tucker, a former Olympian and World Champion from Cuba and Turner Smith, a former Ivy League fencer, from Princeton, and who has been featured in publications such as Middleburg Life.

Coach Turner Smith, a retired environmental attorney, now devotes much of his time to Virginia land conservation. Smith, the athlete, returned to the sport five years ago, at age 70 and almost 50 years after he competed as a varsity fencer at Princeton. Smith decided not only did he want to take up the demanding sport once again,  but also to coach.

His return to fencing first began at a Harper’s Ferry Club, and he now fences at clubs in Manassas, Front Royal and Fairfax. He practices with fencers of all ages, including teenagers.  Smith said, “It’s three-dimensional chess at light speed. As you get older, you want to keep the blood flowing to the brain. You still have muscle memory, and you can pick it up, although I found much of my muscle memory was wrong because the sport has changed so much.”

Coach Smith found a home this past fall here at Middleburg Academy. Having coached in the past, coach Smith was excited and “a little nervous,” heading into this fencing season. Now a varsity sport, both Coach Smith and Coach Tucker had to develop a varsity program with fencers who for the last three years were mostly self taught. Through their knowledge and enthusiasm, together they have expanded the skills of the fencing team exponentially in a short amount of time and are looking forward to many great years ahead.

“They were both amazing! I don’t think we could’ve asked for anyone better to be our coaches,” said senior Alan Salacain.

Last week Middleburg Academy held its first competition on campus facing a familiar foe, the Royal Swords Fencing Club, based out of  Front Royal, VA. The event not only marked the first tournament held on campus, but also Senior Night, acknowledging  two senior fencers for all their hard work over the last four years. Congratulations to Alan Salacain ’17 and Niketh Vellanki ’17 for all they have accomplished. Niketh took home 3rd place, while Alan finished 4th overall in their final fencing event.

Age of Innocence Comes Alive, March 2

Middleburg Academy and the Middleburg Theater Department are pleased to bring you an exclusive showing of the Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece, The Age of Innocence (1993), with guest appearance by Patricia Hess, Assistant Production Manager, Thursday March 2nd @ 4:00pm. The seminar will begin at 4:00pm in the Mary House’s ballroom. There will be snacks and refreshments.

Patricia Doherty Hess
Producer/ Production Manager

Patty has been in the motion picture business since 1979, working primarily on feature films and dramatic television.  She has had the privilege to work with many distinguished directors including Martin Scorsese, Alan Pakula, Mike Nichols, Oliver Stone, Stephen Frears, Adrian Lyne, Robert Benton, Chris Columbus, Shawn Levy, Betty Thomas and the Coen Brothers to name a few. 

She started her career in Tucson, after graduating from The University of Arizona where she met Leslie Marmon Silko, a MacArthur Fellow, who was making her first film, set in New Mexico. Now a member of The Director’s Guild of America, Patty has been a production manager and producer for over twenty years.

Some of her credits include the upcoming HBO film, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks with Oprah Winfrey, Philomena  (Judi Dench), Red Oaks (Amazon), Jack Reacher, Percy Jackson, Safe House, Bourne Ultimatum, Breach, Angels in America (HBO), Night At The Museum (2), Eagle Eye, Glen Garry Glen Ross, JFK, Lolita, The Pelican Brief and Raising Arizona.  (Full list on ImDb)  Patty currently resides with her husband and two children in Waterford Virginia.  She is an avid equestrian 

The Age Of Innocence
Director: Martin Scorsese    Cast: Daniel Day Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder
Genre: Drama, Romance    Year: 1993

The 1993 film production of The Age of Innocence was directed by Martin Scorsese and is a film adaptation of Edith Wharton's 1920 novel of the same name. The story is set the “Gilded Age” (1870’s), portraying New York's high society. The film was released by Columbia Pictures, stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Winona Ryder and was shot largely on location in New York City, Philadelphia, and Troy, New York. The film won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design, and was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Winona Ryder), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Art Direction.

The novel and the film tell the story of Newland Archer, played by Daniel Day Lewis, who intends to marry the respectable May Welland played by Winona Ryder. May's cousin, the Countess Ellen Olenska  portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer, has returned to New York, which raises eyebrows in the New York society circles as she had unwisely married a Polish Count, who mistreated her while squandering her fortune. She then left him to return to New York.

Middleburg Academy is an independent school serving grades 8 through 12, with small classes, dedicated faculty, full STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) curriculum, excellent athletics, and a remarkable record of graduates 

Equestrian Team goes Regional

To those of you who are unfamiliar with the equestrian world and more specifically the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA), regionals are the equestrian version of states. For most high school sports teams, the goal of the regular season is to go to regionals. Whereupon winning regionals, one goes to zones {Interstate) and then nationals. Therefore, our team getting
into regionals in their first year as a varsity sport is a great accomplishment. Middleburg Academy riders scored very well for being a team of five, where most of the other schools competing had over 15 riders.

The riders, results:
• Open Varsity Over Fence Sarah Haene ' 17 - 6th
• Intermediate Varsity Over Fences Jacqueline Lee '20 - 7th
• On the Flat - Madeline McDermott '18 - 2nd
• On the Flat - Amber French '20 - 5th

"As a senior, I am reflecting back to when I first arrived at Middleburg Academy in the fall of my freshman year, and there was no equestrian team," said Madison Busey. ~With a shared passion between me and two other students, as well as a very qualified and enthusiastic coach, we are able to bring a team 10 life. We may have started off with only three members, but throughout each year the team grew bigger and stronger."

Middleburg Academy is an independent school serving grades 8 through 12, with small classes, dedicated faculty, full STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum, excellent athletics, and a remarkable record of graduates excelling at top universities. The campus in Middleburg, Virginia, is set on a 90-acre estate. More than 20 percent of the student body comes from abroad, and students benefit from an eight-to-one student to faculty ratio. There are 16 sports teams. For more information, visit middleburgacademy.org. ML

"Project Lead the Way" Leads the Way

Physics goes outside for a hands-on lesson.  A very normal matter at Middleburg Academy.

Physics goes outside for a hands-on lesson.  A very normal matter at Middleburg Academy.

An independent school established in 2009 and now serving grades 8-12, Middleburg Academy is on a mission to meet the needs of students living in a changing world. You may have heard of the acronym S.T.E.M., the latest buzzword in education and part of an initiative to bring science, technology, engineering and math to the forefront of student learning. "By 2020, 80 percent of jobs will be S.T.E.M. -related; said Colley Bell, the head of the school. "We want students to be nimble as they navigate through life, and that means preparing for a world that is constantly changing."

Faced with apparent limitations. However, S.T.E.M. wasn' t proving to be the complete package for Middleburg Academy students. "The feedback we were getting from engineering colleges and universities was that students were coming to them mathematically sound, but they did not play well together; said, Colley. "They couldn't collaborate or express themselves. That's great for sitting in a cubicle, but the new world order is demanding much more from them." It. seems that this missing component the ability to collaboratively solve complex problems in a real-world setting - is solved simply by converting S.T.E.M. to S.T.E.A.M

“The three questions that guided us were, ‘Who are we, where are we going, and who is going with us?”‘ 

The 'A' stands for the arts, which complete the package by wrapping creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration into the benefits of S.T.E.M. "There are no noted collaborative elements in S.T.E.M., no arts, no humanities said, Colley. "To us, S.T.E.A.M. is about preparing kids for the real world by integrating hands-on-collaborations.  Merely dropping a laptop in front of an Art teacher and calling it S.T.E.A.M. misses the essential point of what this is all about." 

Dragon Video attended the Inauguration to document people in the crowds. 

Dragon Video attended the Inauguration to document people in the crowds. 

S.T.E.A.M. was launched at Middleburg Academy in 2014, shortly after Colley took over as head of the school. Middleburg Academy had recently made the transition from a Catholic school known for its sports program to an independent school focused on a balance between sports and academics. Colley, along with the school board, staff, and students, was challenged to make decisions about Middleburg Academy 's new direction. "This was at a point when education was really changing and transforming," said Colley. "The three questions that guided us were, 'Who are we, where are we going, and who is going with us?"' 

The promise of reinvention was exciting, and Colley met with students to discuss what could be done to prepare them better for higher education and beyond. Low college completion rates on a national scale forced the consideration of developing traits like cooperation, self-advocacy, pas­sion, grit and adaptability to ensure success in any environment. The main question became: How can students develop these traits while preparing for a world driven by technology? 

The answer came a year later, when Dave Gillis, the school's director of computer sci­ence and technology, brought in a program called Project Lead the Way (PLTW). This national curriculum was developed through a partnership between Johns Hopkins Univer­sity and engineering firms and folded seam­lessly into the school's computer science and engineering curriculums.
Middleburg Academy is the only inde­pendent school in the region working with the PLTW program. "We're in our second year of S.T.E.A.M., and it's continually being built upon said Director of Advancement Edwina Bell. "Now PLTW is unfolding and evolving as well as our students take courses and discover their interests."

Live Streaming at Middleburg Academy is where the school goes beyond the ordinary in program production.  A game commentator is here at work in the Dragon's Nest.

Live Streaming at Middleburg Academy is where the school goes beyond the ordinary in program production.  A game commentator is here at work in the Dragon's Nest.

PLTW's problem-based learning model present students in computer science and engineering classes with hands-on activi­ties that build strong foundational skills in these areas. From there, students progress to choosing a creative group project aimed at making a difference in the computer science or engineering fields. The next step is a na­tional competition where teams present their project to a learning community made up of peers and judges. 

This national competition is the culmi­nation of, and undoubtedly the reward for, a year of collaboration, trial, discovery and problem-solving. On April 28, 2017, teams from Middleburg Academy hope to travel to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to present their projects at the Conrad Spirit of ln.no­vation Challenge. The Conrad Challenge is a multi-phase competition that chal­lenges participants to develop solutions to real-world problems. 

Though S.T.E.A.M. is part of the school curriculum, the Conrad Challenge is vol­untary, which Dave Gillis says is by design. "When you volunteer for something. you're more committed," he said. "To me, this is a great opportunity for the students to step out of their curriculum and dream big." 

And dream big they do. Engineering stu­dents competing in the aerospace engineering category are working on developing a project that will aid in enhancing the transportation, navigation, and communication on Mars. Another group, motivated by the illness of the team leader's great-grandmother, designed a pair of augmented braces intended to speed up the recovery of those with leg infirmities. Both teams have spent the year coordinating schedules, avidly researching, experimenting, and consulting with their mentors and with each other to refine their ideas. 

These young people are excited about their futures and confidently dream about being inventors, aerospace engineers, and doctors. The future will certainly need the talents of those who can solve questions relat­ed to these fields. Because these students have fallen in love with a creative curriculum de­signed for deep learning, it seems likely they will be among the ones to do it. ML

Outstanding Middleburg Academy Student Selected to Perform at Carnegie Hall

Blythe Condon, a student at Middleburg Academy, has been selected for the 2017 High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall.  She will perform Soprano 2 in February with the Womens Choir.  Participation in one of the five Honors Ensembles is limited to the highest-rated high school performers from across the world.

Earlier this year, Blythe auditioned for the Honors Performance Series and was accepted after a review by the Honors Selection Board. Acceptance to the elite group is a direct result of the talent, dedication, and achievements demonstrated in her application and audition recording. Blythe will join other performers from all 49 United States, Guam, two Canadian provinces, and a number of foreign countries for a special performance at world-famous Carnegie Hall, a venue that marks the pinnacle of musical achievement.

According to Morgan Smith, Program Director, “Being selected to the Honors Performance Series is something each Finalist should be extremely proud of accomplishing. We processed more than 18,000 nominations this year and had selected nearly 750 of the most talented student performers from around the world. Working with these conductors and performing at Carnegie Hall is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that these musicians never forget”.

Blythe Condon has studied music for <7 Years> years with Mrs. Karen Chase and is a member of The Middleburg Players, The Loudoun Centre Theater Group and the Fauquier Community Theatre  This is her second time performing at Carnegie Hall. In response to her selection as a Finalist, Condon said, “I’m thrilled.  The music that we will perform is challenging, and I’m working very hard to learn it well.  I can’t wait to get back up on that stage!”

Finalists will come together in New York City for five days in February 2017. They will have the opportunity to learn from world-renowned conductors, work with other Finalists, and get a taste of New York City. Two performances, an Honors Choral Performance and an Honors Instrumental Performance, will take place Sunday, February 5, and are open to the public. Tickets can be purchased beginning 60 days before the performance through the Carnegie Hall box office.

The Honors Performance Series was created to showcase accomplished individual high school performers on an international level by allowing them to study under master conductors and perform in the celebrated venue, Carnegie Hall. The Honors Performance Series is proudly presented by WorldStrides, the nation’s leading educational travel organization. Learn more by visiting www.honorsperformance.org and www.worldstrides.com.