When Thetford Academy's school buildings burned to the ground in 1942, it could have signaled the end of the Academy's long history. But instead it was a new beginning. Mrs. Adams gave her farm, a stone's throw down Academy Road, to become the new site for TA. Under the inspired leadership of Carl Anderson, virtually all of the townspeople rallied to build a new Academy. Cakes were baked, fund raisers held, and, literally, blood was donated in order to raise money. Volunteers cleared the land, and mostly volunteer labor built the new Academy building. It took six years to complete. Faculty held classes in the Grange while this work went on. TA survived... but only because the townspeople cared.
In the years since, the Thetford community has grown and prospered, and so have the neighboring towns who send students to the Academy. Needs and expectations may have changed, but the commitment of local people to support their school has not flagged. Nearly fifteen years ago, when we built a new playing field for the girls, our forestry students cleared the trees, townspeople volunteered time and equipment to level the field, dig drainage ditches, and haul dirt. The entire student population went out in the afternoon to pick up rocks and form piles. More recently, volunteers built a state-of-the-art cross country trail. It is probably the best high school cross country trail in New England.
Commitment to the Academy has been expressed in dollars, as well. In 1995 a capital campaign was launched to fund extensive renovations of TA's buildings and campus. By 1997, over $1,000,000 had been raised, making it possible to finance $2,500,000 in improvements. Hundreds of neighbors turned out to celebrate the opening of the new White Building. Also, generous gifts have been used to create endowments that enrich the learning experiences of our students, and the Annual Fund has grown dramatically, both in total dollars received and -- even more important -- in the percentage of participation by parents and community members.
The role of TA's development office is to mobilize such support for the Academy to ensure that our students will always receive the richest, most rewarding educational experience that we can provide.