It is my pleasure to welcome students, parents, alumni, and friends of the Academy to Thayer's website. I encourage you to explore its pages and learn more about our community. If you are new to our school, please visit our campus. Read our mission statement, as well. It says a lot about who we are, what we do, and what we believe is important. To our parent and alumni communities, I offer a sincere thank you for your involvement and support as, together, we guide a new generation of students towards their future.
Located next to Braintree's historic district and just up the hill from the MBTA’s final Red Line stop is the historic 34-acre campus of Thayer Academy. Since 1877, our coeducational day school for grades 5-12 (Middle School, grades 5-8; Upper School, grades 9-12) has been an enabling and ennobling environment where each student is affirmed, supported, and challenged to take on responsibilities, ambitions, and achievements. Thayer continues to be a place where tradition and innovation meet, and where students form lifelong relationships with one another and with inspiring teachers who care deeply about their students' personal growth and academic success.
Founded in 1877 at the bequest of Braintree native, general, and philanthropist Sylvanus Thayer, the Academy prides itself on its vibrant and varied community. We are a urban/suburban school that has embraced opportunity and diversity from our founding class nearly 140 years ago--one that was co-educational, rooted locally, and granted with a tuition-free mandate to provide for an education to any who sought one. This history of diversity is reflected today with a student body hailing from more than 70 towns in Massachusetts and several countries around the world. And with more than 35% of students receiving financial aid, Thayer is a socio-economically diverse community that looks and feels like the world beyond our doors.
Thayer is rooted in the intentionally holistic education of our students, who are viewed not solely as athletes or academics, but as whole individuals with affinities and talents in many areas. Unique to Thayer, because of deliberately coordinated scheduling, it is possible to be both a varsity athlete and sing on stage in the school musical--students here are not forced to choose one path or another. The resulting community you’ll find at the Academy is vibrant and affirming, the culmination of students working together in the classroom, on the playing fields, and on the stage. There is a supportive and collaborative camaraderie that pervades our halls and campus--one where students view their classmates as partners, encouraging one another to discover their hidden talents and develop them into lifelong strengths.
Following in the philanthropic footsteps of our founder, Thayer graduates are similarly charged with positively impacting the world. They graduate prepared to achieve success, and they go on to excel at the top universities and postgraduate schools in the world. Our alumni lead lives of distinction in all areas of society, as leading researchers, CEOs of charitable foundations and global companies, groundbreaking startup entrepreneurs, philanthropists, leaders of industry, high ranking officers in the military, professional athletes, musicians, authors, media personalities, and artists. For many of our graduates, Thayer was the place where they first achieved their personal best, allowing each of them--as our motto declares--to rise to honorable achievement and contribute to the common good. And, with an engaged alumni network more than 5700 strong and growing, Thayer connections continue to enrich and inform and educate, years and decades after Commencement.
- Evaluating the options offered by private schools can be overwhelming. Why choose Thayer?
- The qualities you just enumerated seem to provide a strong foundation for making a decision.
- So what distinguishes Thayer Academy from its peers?
- Certainly all good private schools provide growth opportunities.
- What else do you think defines Thayer for its current and prospective families?
- The words community, acceptance, affirmation, access, and balance all emerge as defining qualities. Anything else?
- Any final thoughts on why families should choose Thayer?
TK: The answer starts with discussing how Thayer Academy possesses the qualities most people associate with all good private schools. Small classes, excellent and inspiring teachers, top-notch facilities, and rigorous academic standards stand at the center of our mission. We emphasize the development of strong reading, writing, research, and computational skills, and at the same time, we infuse our students with a passion for learning. In addition, we offer a rich array of extracurricular pursuits, particularly in the arts, athletics, and community service. But that is only the beginning of the answer.
TK: To some extent, yes, but families also understand that every school has its own unique set of qualities, and they are seeking the best possible match. The challenge for families is to understand what distinguishes one school from another and how those distinguishing features might pertain to the needs and aspirations of their child.
TK: First of all, I would cite the strength and vibrancy of the Thayer community. In the most general sense, our community is caring and supportive, qualities that are manifest in our core relationships. Students benefit from teachers who work hard and effectively to support them academically and in their extracurricular pursuits, but the students are also supportive of one another; and they derive additional comfort from the support of their parents and even the parents of their friends. The net effect is that students at Thayer feel accepted and affirmed for who they are, even as they are challenged to improve themselves in numerous ways. Happily absent from this equation is a negatively charged attitude that affirms only the few and leaves the majority of students feeling they can never measure up.
TK: It is what surrounds our core program that adds true depth to the Thayer experience and sets us apart. To be more specific, Thayer places a premium on broad-based involvement in the life of the school. We set student expectations and arrange programs and schedules in such a manner that students can and must do more than simply meet their academic responsibilities. For example, 80-90% of our Upper School students play a sport and participate in the arts program during the academic year. The percentages are even higher in Middle School. Virtually all of our students are involved in service projects, and many of our students participate in our growing international programs in the Dominican Republic, Canada, the U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Peru, China, and India. This balanced experience enriches the opportunities for personal growth and promotes a sense of belonging to the broader community.
TK: I would add that Thayer stands among those independent schools that are very well integrated into the surrounding community. We host many recreational and cultural events that serve the Braintree community, and our relatively new turf fields and performing arts center are frequently used by organizations that advance athletics and the arts for the entire South Shore region. We are very happy to provide this access, as it offers real benefits to the outside community and reminds our students that we are members of a larger community. In addition, one of the most distinctive features of Thayer is its own socio-economic diversity. More than one-third of our students receive financial aid, and the Academy's budget to support financial aid is one of the most generous among all private schools in the Boston area. We are particularly sensitive to the very real fact that middle class families may require financial assistance, even as we devote impressive levels of support for families that are especially disadvantaged financially. The result is that we have a mix of students that reflects the full spectrum of the world outside our campus.
TK: Well... speaking with absolute objectivity... I can say as Head of School, as an alumnus, and as a parent of two Thayer graduates... that Thayer is a very special place. Our community is grounded and representative of the larger society of which we are a part. We have a traditional reverence for academics, and we are equally committed to ensuring that our students grow through involvement in the arts, athletics, and service. Our school culture is one that values achievement and aspiration, and we pursue these goals through support and encouragement. In the end, we could not be more proud of the students who graduate from Thayer Academy. And we welcome, in equal measures of pride and anticipation, the new families who join our community each year.