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Academy at SOAR – Opening New Doors


The once silenced halls are again alive with the sounds of children and teachers, learning, laughing and enjoying the start of another Academy at SOAR school year!  Yet, these are not the halls and rooms of the Balsam Base Campus.  These halls are old and full of educational history.  The Academy was presented with a challenge in July of this year that has now become an opportunity for the staff and students for the 2019 – 2020 school year.  Due to construction delays, the Academy at SOAR has partnered with Folkmoot, a local cultural exchange, and arts program, in Waynesville, North Carolina to share their facilities.  The school will be hosted in the oldest section of their building that was once the Hazelwood Elementary School, dating back to 1923.  Known as the B-wing, the Academy section of the building, houses four large classrooms, two administrative offices, four large dormitory spaces, bathroom facilities on both floors, showers, gymnasium, laundry room, and full-service cafeteria with a commercial kitchen.  The school building has only seen marginal activity since the late 1990’s when the students and faculty were moved to their new facility.  Folkmoot has used the building during the summer months as dormitories to house their international performers for their long-standing annual cultural festival.

On September 4th, twenty-four of our twenty-six families arrived at the new campus for their first look and our annual orientation night.  The change was received by the Academy families in an overwhelmingly positive light!  The evening started with tours and familiarization of the new space, then House introductions and dinner.  The evening rounded out with the Academy Leadership Team talking about the changes for the year and all the adventures we are going to have.

The 5th was Conference and move-in day and it went smooth.  The groups enjoyed our yearly field day on that Friday with a morning full of team building and an all-school kickball game with everyone participating, even Joe!  The students and staff are all in great spirits with an outstanding optimism for the new school year!

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