There are many dimensions to the excellence at EA, but it is hard to top the impact of the first impression of the campus. I think we can all agree that the quality of schools emerges from what happens inside the buildings, but EA’s campus makes a strong statement about excellence.
The most striking and beautiful of all is appropriately The Class of 1944 Chapel. It rises majestically above all of the other buildings, as it sits at the top of the Clark Green. I find myself drawn to it, and any time I have my camera, I just want to try to capture its beauty.
The second thing I notice about the campus is the vast, bucolic grounds. The meadows go on and on, and the Locke family’s new favorite pastime is the golf cart safari that we take at dusk whenever we can. We have seen all sorts of wildlife, including deer, foxes, groundhogs, rabbits, and birds of all kinds. I have enjoyed the joyous images of my children frolicking around campus and rolling down hills. As Katie told me, “Dad, I think we are going to get very close to nature in our new house!”
The boys’ clear favorite is the lower school playground not only because they can spend time jumping and climbing but also because it is close to the residence of “Blackie the Chicken.” I love showing them all the beautiful plantings and gardens. We talk about all the food harvested, and then visit the two smaller chickens known in my family as “Cookie” and “Peanut” (not their real names!).
There is literally so much ground to cover. My father recently visited, and I gave him the full tour. As we were riding around I discovered playing fields I didn’t even know we had! I cannot wait to see these fields come alive this fall. The Dixon Athletic Center is always buzzing with camps and leagues, and I have already enjoyed my conversations with some of our varsity athletes in the Fitness Room.
My daughter’s favorite spot is the Mainstage Theater. She anxiously jumps up on stage imagining herself in a show-stopping finale. I still haven’t shown her the Ridgway Blackbox Theater yet. This is a glorious campus for the arts. I know we will be filling the gallery with inspirational pieces soon, and the halls will ring with beautiful music.
I realize that I have not even begun to cover all of what is impressive about the campus. Schools are not the same without students, so there will be plenty to share in September. But even without students, the first steps on the grounds of The Episcopal Academy will make an indelible impression of a school that is committed to excellence.