Columbus Academy

Columbus Academy
Columbus Academy
"In Quest of the Best"
In Quest of the Best
4300 Cherry Bottom Road
Gahanna, Ohio, (Franklin County), 43230
 United States
Coordinates 40°2′56″N 82°52′26″W / 40.04889°N 82.87389°W / 40.04889; -82.87389Coordinates: 40°2′56″N 82°52′26″W / 40.04889°N 82.87389°W / 40.04889; -82.87389
Type Private, Coeducational
Established 1911
Principal Shane MacElhiney[1] (Upper School)

Karla Long (Middle School)

Dan Vorenberg (Lower School)

Headmaster John Mackenzie
Faculty 126
Grades PK12
Enrollment 1,057 (PreK - 12)
Average class size 18
Student to teacher ratio 8:1
Campus Suburban
Campus size 233 acres (94 ha)
Color(s) Maroon and Gray [1]         
Athletics 15 varsity sports
Athletics conference Mid-State League[1]
Mascot Viking
Nickname Vikes
Team name Vikings[1]
Rival Bexley Lions
Accreditation(s) North Central Association of Colleges and Schools [2]
Newspaper The Academy Life
Yearbook Caravel
Tuition 9,800-20,200
Athletic Director Dominic Facciolla[1]

Columbus Academy is a selective, independent college-preparatory school for students from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade. The private school is located on a large, secluded campus surrounded by wooded areas in Gahanna, Ohio in the United States, 8 miles from downtown Columbus. The Academy was founded in 1911 in Bexley, Ohio and moved to its current campus in 1968. Originally an all-boys school, it became coeducational in 1991 when the Board of Trustees decided to admit girls. From its conception, the school expanded over time to a matriculation level of 1,000 students. Columbus Academy students and alumni often refer to the school as "Academy".


Founding And Bexley Campus

Columbus Academy has a 100-year history. In 1911, a group of area businessmen founded the school to provide a local option for secondary education at the highest standards. They adopted the independent country day school philosophy that academic preparation was a cooperative effort between the school and the home. Columbus Academy emerged as a college preparatory school dedicated to the highest standards of intellectual, social, moral, aesthetic and physical development.

Columbus Academy's first campus was situated on 4 acres (1.6 ha) along Alum Creek. Numerous additions to the "main house" were made as the number of students in grades 5-12 grew. Academy's first headmaster, Frank P.R. Van Syckel, instituted a strong liberal arts program coupled with vigorous athletic instruction. He established a tradition of excellence which is reflected in the school's motto, "In Quest of the Best."

Columbus Academy prospered in the 1920s as more families trusted the school to prepare their sons for the future. The school weathered the Depression and a WWII enrollment dip to emerge in 1950 as a leading independent school that could choose from among qualified applicants! Demand prompted the addition of a Lower School so that area young men could complete their elementary and secondary educations at one institution!

Move To Current Campus

After continued enrollment growth and repeated flooding along Alum Creek, the Board approved a 20-year plan for relocation. The school acquired 230 acres (93 ha) in Gahanna [1] (eight miles northeast of Columbus), raised funds, and built a new campus. The original five-building complex served the school well until the student body exceeded 600 boys. In the mid-'70s, the school undertook a major building program that added a lower school wing and the Schoedinger Theatre. This expansion allowed Kindergarten to be added to the school in the early 1980s. In 1991, the school became a co-educational institution.

The school is situated on a secluded suburban campus. In 1999 the school built a new library reminiscent of its old Bexley campus, and added large additions to the theatre and Lower and Upper schools in 2004. Beginning in 2003, they added another addition, respectably larger than the last. This addition consisted of a new athletic building, new sports facilities and courts, additional parking lots, a new upper school wing, and a third library (totaling three libraries: one lower school, one middle school, and one upper school).

Tuition & Endowment

2011 - 2012 Tuition
Lower School
Pre-Kindergarten $9,800
Kindergarten—Grade 4 $17,800
Middle School
Grades 5-8 $18,500
Upper School
Grades 9-12 $20,200

The Academy's current endowment is approximately $23 million. In 2002, Columbus Academy kicked off the Advancing the Quest fundraising campaign. ATQ's goal was to raise $17M to support the following areas: Faculty and Staff Excellence, Student Body Diversity, School Size and Structure, and Facilities. The most important objective of the Advancing the Quest campaign was to create an educational community that better serves CA students, their families, and the community as a whole by enhancing facilities and enriching programs. Advancing the Quest exceeded its goal in record time and the advancements it prompted continue to resonate across campus.

The operating budget for 2005-06 was $17.7 million. Income from non-discretionary Annual Fund gifts covered 7% of the school's operating budget and expenses.


Athletic competition has long been a part of the Columbus Academy tradition. In addition to being recognized academically as one of the leading private schools in Ohio, Columbus Academy is also an athletic powerhouse among schools in its division. One of the oldest high school athletic rivalries in the state of Ohio is the Academy/Bexley competition. The Academy was one of the first schools in the US to begin fielding a soccer team and track team. Today, Academy students compete interscholastically and intramurally in a wide range of sports including football, soccer, track, baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, lacrosse, wrestling, field hockey, swimming, cross country, and others.

Ohio High School Athletic Association Team State Championships

Other athletic accomplishments

  • 1980 State Runner-Up Boys Track Class A.
  • 1981 State Runner-Up Basketball Class A.
  • 1981 State Runner-Up Baseball Class A.
  • 1982 State Runner-Up Boys Golf Class A.
  • 1982 State Runner-Up Boys Track Class A.
  • 1986 Boys Central League Track Champions
  • 1990 State Runner-Up Boys Golf Div. II.
  • 1996 State Runner-Up Field Hockey Div. I.
  • 1996 State Runner-Up Girls Tennis Div. II.
  • 1996 State Runner-Up Boys Track Div.III.
  • 1997 State Runner-Up Boys Tennis Div. II.
  • 1998 Girls Midwest Lacrosse Champions.
  • 1998 State Runner-Up Boys Tennis Div.II.
  • 2000 State Champion Girls Lacrosse Div. I.
  • 2000 State Runner-Up Boys Tennis Div. II.
  • 2001 State Runner-Up Boys Golf Div. III.
  • 2001 State Runner-Up Girls Lacrosse Div. I.
  • 2001 State Runner-Up Boys Tennis Div. II.
  • 2002 State Runner-Up Field Hockey Div. I.
  • 2002 State Runner-Up Girls Lacrosse Div. I.
  • 2003 State Runner-Up Boys Golf Div. II.
  • 2003 State Runner-Up Boys Tennis Div. II.
  • 2003 State Runner-Up Baseball Div. III.
  • 2004 State Runner-Up Boys Golf Div. II.
  • 2006 State Runner-Up Boys Tennis Div. II.
  • 2007 State Runner-Up Girls Tennis Div. II.
  • 2009 State Runner-Up Field Hockey Div I.

Extracurricular Activities

The Academy Life

The Academy Life is an award-winnning newspaper produced by students of Columbus Academy during the school year and is published primarily for the students, alumni, faculty, parents and advertisers. It is produced to inform and entertain its readers by providing coverage of current events, sports, features and reviews. The Academy Life has received journalism awards in past years, including the International First Place award named by Quill & Scroll, an international high school journalism honor society.

Student Council

The Columbus Academy Student Council is a representative body which acknowledges and fulfills the wants and needs of the students. By upholding the Mission Statement of the Columbus Academy and serving as a bridge to unite the students, faculty, and administration, The Council will encourage, initiate, and ensure the interests of the individual student. The Council consists of 18 voting members, including a Student Body President who presides over the meetings, a Student Body Vice President, as well as 4 council members per grade.

Service Board

An act of service reflects generosity of time, resources, and energy. It is an investment of self - spirit, mind and body - in helping to meet the needs of others.

The Columbus Academy Service Board is the student organization which sponsors, encourages and provides acts of service, and determines community service mores in conjunction with the student body. As shown in the The Service Board Mission and Purpose Statement, The Service Board has three functions: It is a group of student leaders whose mission is to serve the public, make a difference in the world, and be virtuous in the community; It is a group of student representatives with the responsibility, as ordained by the Columbus Academy, to determine community service ethics for the school; It is a group of student visionaries who strive to make community service a more pervasive part of the existing spheres at the Columbus Academy. The Board's faculty advisor is Christy Bening, Upper School Community Service Coordinator.


The Academy annually produces two theatrical productions by Upper School students, one a fall drama, and the other a spring musical. Susan Neal directs the musical, and Scott Dillon is the Technical Director and directs the fall drama. [6] Students in grades six through eight also participate in a musical produced during the winter. Susan Neal directs the middle school musical. Upper School students can also work on stage crew for the Middle School musical. Larissa Bateman conducts an after-school drama program for Lower School students.


Quest is Columbus Academy’s art and literary magazine published annually in the spring term. It solicits writings and art work from upper school students. David Block and Jeff Arndt are the faculty advisors.


Academy Robotics originated under head coach Arjumand Haque and founder/captain Gary Zhang '07 in early 2006. Students design and build a robot to compete annually in the FIRST Vex Challenge. In its first year, the 2006-2007 team qualified for the FIRST World Championship in Atlanta Georgia after placing first in the Penn Regional Competition. However, the Robotics program has been virtually non-existent for several years.

Political Club

The Political Club is open to all Upper School students. The club’s aims are to cultivate interest in national and international politics and foster informed student opinion and discussion on world events. Its members meet to discuss current affairs, view films and documentaries of historical and political significance, and organize special activities.

Latin Club

Columbus Academy's Latin Club goes by the title of The Dead Language Society, and the school still maintains a local chapter of the Ohio Junior Classical League (OJCL)[7] and National Junior Classical League (NJCL).[8]


Gay-Straight Alliance The Columbus Academy GSA brings together GLBTQ youth and straight allies to promote equality and respect among students of all sexual orientations and gender identities through educational efforts, awareness-building, and coalition work with other groups. The GSA seeks to create a safe learning environment for students of varying gender and sexual identities, where GLBTQ and straight youth can talk about issues they hold in common. The GSA aspires to foster an atmosphere of acceptance at all Academy activities, including events outside of school, to bring about an inclusive community, where all differences consistent with the mission of the school are valued, respected, and integrated into the educational process.

And more...

For a full list please visit the Official List of Clubs

School Traditions

Junior Speech

Every student presents a speech to the entire student body and faculty of the upper school. The speech is a rite of passage on the way to graduation. Traditionally, the speech is given during student's junior year; all students must complete the public speaking requirement prior to graduation.

Senior Trip

Every senior class takes a one week trip just before Spring Break. In 2007, the senior class traveled to Boston. In 2008, 2009, and 2010, the destination was Chicago. The destination is determined by student vote from a choice of several cities decided by the senior advisors.

Glen Helen

Fourth graders annually make the trek to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where they spend several days sleeping in cabins and interacting with nature and various instructors at Glen Helen Nature Preserve, an outdoor educational center.


Each grade in Columbus Academy is buddies with another grade: Pre-K is buddied with Second Grade. Kindergarten is buddied with Fourth Grade, and also with the Seniors. Each month the two classes get together to share books, crafts or other activities. The program instills a sense of community and family where children of all ages interact with other students both older and younger in a positive and fun way.

Spring Gala

Each year the school hosts the Spring Gala in April. The Spring Gala is a Las Vegas style casino and night club event and is the primary fundraiser of the Parents' Association of Columbus Academy (PACA). Another major PACA fundraiser is the Lower School Book Fair in October. Proceeds of these events support the PACA Scholarship Fund which benefits students who might not otherwise be able to attend the school. In addition, funds raised provide enhancements to other programs and activities in all three divisions of the school. The Spring Gala has its own web page at

Senior Fun Day

A day when seniors take the day off to partake in activities, such as a trip to Magic Mountain.


Artsmania was Academy's celebration of the arts. The day is organized by the CA Art Society. Artsmania was cancelled for the 2006-07 school year, replaced by "Diversity Day." This decision was met with animosity from much of the student body. Artsmania was held during the 2009-2010 school year. Different activities ranging from Ice Sculpting to Hip-Hop dancing were included in the festivities. During lunch, a "Statue Man" entertained the kids. Also, an advisory bake-off was held, with all of the losing baked goods being shared with the students at lunch time. After lunch, the talent show was held. Artsmania '10 was regarded as a success.

Open House

In December the school has an open house event where prospective families take a campus tour and talk with faculty, staff and current families.

Accreditation & Memberships

  • National Association of Independent Schools
  • Independent Schools Association of the Central States
  • Ohio Association of Independent Schools
  • Recipient of Malone Family Foundation Award

Notable alumni

  • Martin Nesbitt - President and CEO of The Parking Spot, a lucrative airport satellite parking company that is recognizable from its large yellow buses covered with black spots. Campaign Treasurer for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, presiding over the largest campaign war chest in presidential campaign history. Nesbitt, a former Columbus Academy basketball player, also played in Obama’s regular pick-up basketball games on primary days, a tradition that became a superstition for the candidate. Former Vice President of Pritzker Realty Group.
  • Andrew Romanoff - politician, former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives
  • Arthur I. Vorys - After graduating from the Columbus Academy in 1941, Art proudly served as a lieutenant in the United States Marines' Fifth Regiment in WWII, fought and was wounded in the Battle of Okinawa. Upon returning from the war, he earned bachelor and juris doctor degrees, and began a 44 year law practice at Columbus-based Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, one of the largest law firms in the United States, where he served as Senior Partner.

Notable teachers/faculty

  • Jeffrey Sutton - former history teacher and soccer coach; Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

External links

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c d e OHSAA. "Ohio High School Athletic Association member directory". Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  2. ^ NCA-CASI. "NCA-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement". Retrieved 2010-02-17. [dead link]
  3. ^ Yappi. "Yappi Sports Baseball". Retrieved 2007-02-12. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h OHSAA. "Ohio High School Athletic Association Web site". Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  5. ^ Yappi. "Yappi Sports Football". Retrieved 2007-02-12. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "2009 Convention – Club Point Summary" (PDF). Ohio Junior Classical League. 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2009. 
  8. ^ "Constitution of the Ohio Junior Classical League" (PDF). Ohio Junior Classical League. March 2008. Retrieved 18 September 2009. " paying both OJCL annual chapter dues and any annual chapter membership dues required by NJCL." 

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