BY SHELLY GABLE || PHOTO COURTESY OF STRATFORD ACADEMY || APRIL 2017
SPOTLIGHT ON EDUCATION: STRATFORD ACADEMY
Excellence. Integrity. Freedom. Responsibility. Community. These five elements are the foundation of an education at Stratford Academy, located on Peake Road in Macon. They are the values of the school, which began when a small group of parents sought to provide more for their children in the late 1950s, opening Stratford in 1960.
“I’ve been lucky, during a 40-year career, to work in some outstanding schools,” says Head of School Dr. Robert E. Veto. “Stratford Academy is the best learning community that I have ever worked in.” He has held the position since 2008, and adds, “The word ‘balance’ always comes to mind when I think about our school. There is a marvelous balance at Stratford Academy between high-end academic challenge and caring, nurturing support for each individual student.”
This environment has contributed significantly to the success of Stratford students. Kathleen Medlin, director of advancement, states, “In every division of Stratford, students are instilled with a desire for life-long learning. Students are successful because they are taught how to learn instead of what to learn. This translates into curious, interested young people who find success not only at Stratford, but in college and beyond.” It certainly holds true for the Class of 2016, which boasts 100% matriculation at four-year colleges/universities across the U.S., including three National Merit Scholarship finalists, one University of Georgia Foundation Fellow, and one Georgia Institute of Technology Stamps Scholar.
Sixty-four percent of the class received over $7 million in scholarships, not including HOPE; 81% qualified for HOPE scholarship; 47% graduated with honors; and nine members of the class signed letters of commitment to play collegiate-level athletics. And that’s only last year’s senior class. Other distinctions include 51% of the 7th graders being recognized by the Duke TIP program this year, and the 2017 Literary Team took first place at region and placed third overall at state. In recent weeks, Stratford students have stood out with honors for Odyssey of the Mind, Kiwanis Club Art and Talent Showcase, Atlanta Journal-Constitution athletic honors and rankings, Math Olympiad, High School District Honor Band, and the Middle School All-State Honor Band. Students have participated at the National League of Cities Conference, submitted papers and presented at the Georgia Junior Science & Humanities Symposium, and been named as a finalist for the International Sustainable Energy, Engineering, and Environment Project Olympiad.
Surrounded by swaying pine trees, the campus of Stratford Academy serves 850 students in an independent, non-sectarian, college preparatory environment. Students begin as early as age three and go through grade twelve. The school has SAIS and AdvancED/SACS accreditations, and courses include college prep curriculum, 22 AP classes, foreign language for K3–12 (upper school: French, Spanish, Latin, and Mandarin), fine arts K3–12, and enriched science/STEM curriculum K3–12. Extra-curricular activities include 18 different sports programs (middle school/JV/Varsity), academic teams (grades 4–12), theatre (grades 1–12), chorus (grades 4–12), band (5 different programs for grades 5-12), clubs/organizations (grades 6–12), youth sports, and summer camp programs.
This amazing school has so many new things going on as well. At the beginning of the 2016–2017 school year, the Cantrell Lower School opened for grades 1–5. It is a new building on campus, with a state-of-the-art setting: wide hallways, natural lighting, and an area for collaborative teaching. The building that once contained the lower grades will soon be re-opening as the new Stratford Student Activities Center with a second gymnasium, an art/music suite for preschool and lower school students, fitness space for physical education classes and extracurricular programs, and a location for the after school and summer childcare programs.
Science is one of the many focuses at the academy, starting with preschool students. As they move up, students in lower school participate in STEM and science enrichments and have after school programs such as Odyssey of the Mind, Bricks 4 Kidz, and Robotics teams. Middle school students can continue in robotics, and by the time they are in upper school, students have a plethora of choices—13 science offerings, as well as design and computer science electives.
Celebrating ART, a collaborative event between Stratford, Macon Arts Alliance, Mercer University, Museum of Arts and Sciences, and Wesleyan College, made its inaugural, week-long run in 2016. It will return October 12-18, 2017, observing all that is wonderful in the world of art. With visiting artists demonstrating their trades, artist lectures and luncheons, and an artist marketplace, this is a great event for the whole family, and Stratford is pleased to be a part of making it happen for Middle Georgia.
Dr. Veto closes with this: “We are producing students who are great writers and critical readers, and students who are also extremely literate in 21st century skills and knowledge. At Stratford Academy there is a great balance among academics, athletics, and the arts. I’m very proud of all that we offer.”
If you want to see Stratford in action, the school is hosting an open house for prospective preschool and lower school families April 18, 9–11 a.m. Contact Lori Palmer, director of admissions, for more information at 478.477.8073. #
6010 Peake Road
Macon, GA 31220