200 YEAR HISTORY OF BRIDGTON ACADEMY
When the local citizens of North Bridgton petitioned the General Court of Massachusetts to incorporate Bridgton Academy in 1808, they were nothing if not ambitious. They boldly envisioned a day when students would prepare for the rigors of higher education, and hired Bezaleel Cushman, a Dartmouth student, to teach the classics to secondary school students seeking to follow in his footsteps.
The founders' dream far exceeded their expectations. During the past 200 years, their vision has endured a history of transformation, just as its students experience during their tenure here, from a public/private, coeducational secondary school in 1808, to a boys' boarding school in 1958, to an independent prep school primarily for postgraduate young men in 1964; however, Bridgton Academy's mission has remained the same: to provide a program to prepare students for the competitive rigors of college and beyond.
Such is the power of a dream.
Today, Bridgton Academy attracts young men who need to develop the academic skills, study skills, self-discipline, and self-confidence necessary to succeed in college and in life. With 185 current students and 6,000 alumni, the Academy's founders no doubt would be stunned to see the reach of their dream today. Its reputation as the premier college preparatory school for postgraduate young men has been created by the achievements and success of its alumni and, as a result, Bridgton Academy is very much alive and well, poised to begin its third century from a position of strength.
In many ways, exceeding expectations is the underlying experience of so many Bridgton Academy graduates. Although they may have enrolled for a myriad of reasons, years later these alumni tell a similar story, a story of how their year at Bridgton Academy was a year that transformed their lives in a profound way and exceeded their expectations. In an environment of structure, independence, high expectations, and mentoring, they met the challenge of transitioning from adolescence to young adulthood, and reaped the rewards of lasting connections and a passion for lifelong learning. Upon leaving North Bridgton for their lives beyond the Academy, alumni appreciate the personal growth, maturity, and confidence they have developed as a result of this experience, and feel intense loyalty, fierce pride, and deep gratitude towards their alma mater for having given them this opportunity.
As the Academy celebrates its bicentennial, its longevity is a truly a tribute to its alumni-- people not afraid to challenge themselves in new ways, people who had the courage to commit to a year of transformation and growth, people whose hard work and accomplishments exceeded their expectations.
Reaching its bicentennial is truly a historic milestone for Bridgton Academy that offers a wonderful opportunity to reflect on its past achievements and to renew its commitment to the founding mission, a mission that is vital not only to the lives of our current students, but also to the economic and social future of this nation. Bridgton Academy has been the year that made a difference in the lives of young men for 200 years, and will continue making a difference in the lives of young men during its next century.