Typically, as I observe daily life at Harrisburg Academy, I’m struck by disparate impressions that sometimes fit neatly together and others that immediately don’t. Often, it’s the latter that tells me most about our wonderful and dynamic school.

So, for example, what do eating waffles, reading, and the 50th anniversary of the International Baccalaureate (the IB) have to do with one another? I think I’ve figured it out.

Thursday mornings in the hallways of the Upper School division, you can smell the distinctive aroma of freshly cooked waffles and warm maple syrup. Like clockwork on those mornings from 8 to 8:30 a.m., Mrs. Courtney Hart, our school counselor, makes waffles for small crowds of Academy teens. The sense of friendship among the students is as warm as the fresh waffles Mrs. Hart pops out of the waffle iron.

Similarly, it’s not unusual to find students in all divisions of the school curled up in cozy places in rooms, or even walking down the middle of hallways, reading a favorite novel or assignment. Reading is at the heart of the Academy’s learning and daily routine. The affinity of our students and faculty to books is as warm as our waffles. Reading feels good, like waffles early in the morning.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the IB. We’re proud to be one of the 4,775 schools worldwide that challenge and nurture our students in ways that conform to the high academic standards of the IB. The IB also promotes students acquiring a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond academic success — a set of personal qualities called the “IB learner profile.”

Like the IB, Harrisburg Academy has a long history of educational excellence and character building. Our students are proud knowing that they’re being challenged in ways and by measures that are different from students in other schools. They’re proud knowing that they’re experiencing something more and something different. Eating waffles in a lobby outside a library is “different” and being able to read in different nooks and crannies is something “more.”  The IB program, with its academic excellence and character aspirations — including reflective, caring, and open-minded — is both “more” and “different.”

Harrisburg Academy is a mini school district all under one roof. As a result, our students, from age 3 to 18, and faculty produce a creative mixture of very intentional learning and fun. It’s what makes Harrisburg Academy the dynamic environment that it is.

Learn more about Harrisburg Academy on our school website.