2018-2019: Thetford Academy’s Bicentennial Year

Join us for a special Founders’ Day and Bicentennial Gala in February 2019!

The 2018-19 school year marks our 200th year.  We’ll be celebrating our Bicentennial from the opening of school until graduation — with a special birthday party on Founders’ Day, Feb. 8, 2019, and a community-wide Bicentennial Gala on Feb. 9, 2019

When Thetford Academy was founded back in 1819, we were a bit of a progressive place, and we still are today—even while we’ve accumulated some wonderful, longstanding traditions along the way…


  • We admitted young women from the start and sent some to college before most schools and colleges invited females to join their ranks.

  • We enrolled students of color before the Civil War.

  • We housed boys and girls from places near and far in on-campus dorms and off-campus residences through the 1800s.

  • We educated Justin Smith Morrill, who was responsible for the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act, the cornerstone of many of the United States’ public colleges and universities.

  • In 1907, with the advent of public education, we broadened our outreach to all local students as Thetford’s town academy.

  • In 1919, our Centennial, but also a crisis year for the Academy, longtime trustee and businessman George Worcester pronounced, “If we can have your hearty support, the century…we are just entering will show even greater results than that just closed.”

  • Through Carl Anderson’s determined spirit, we survived economic hardships, global war, and the great fire of 1942, soon after celebrating our inaugural Founders’ Day.

  • We saw our enrollment and number of towns served grow in the 1990s under Martha Jane Rich’s leadership, as we launched an advisory program and personal learning plans and developing five core values (“excellence, cooperation, commitment, diversity, and caring”).

  • In recent years, we have expanded and enhanced our arts, humanities, language, math, science, and outdoors offerings. In fact, over the last six years, 18 faculty members have developed 24 new courses in six academic departments.

What makes us continue to be a relevant, fresh, and vibrant learning community? Our creative and compassionate teachers, our student culture of kindness, and our supportive community of parents and alumni ensure that TA remains a unique place of learning where every student truly matters. *

Over the many years, Thetford Academy’s programs have adapted to the needs of the times, but the essence of this indelible institution is captured in our mission statement: 

Thetford Academy is an independent school community with a public purpose. Our mission is to celebrate the worth of all students, to nurture their strengths, and to challenge them to fulfill their potential.” 

* TA history teacher emeritus Steve Niederhauser assisted in the assembling of this information. Mary Slade’s book, Thetford Academy’s First Century, was also indispensible.