Thornton Academy, Saco, Maine


Founded in 1811, Thornton Academy is one of New England's oldest college preparatory schools, an independent, coeducational middle school and high school serving grades 6 through 12. Located in the southern Maine coastal town of Saco, Thornton Academy offers you a beautiful, natural setting and a safe community. In addition to educating our day students, we have a boarding program for domestic students and international students. Two state-of-the-art dormitories on our large campus host over 130 students from more than a dozen countries and bring them together with our day student population.

Thornton Academy's mission is "to prepare students for a changing world." Small classes and individual attention allow our faculty to help every student fulfill their potential. Through its extensive course offerings, Thornton provides an opportunity for students to find an academic area that excites them. Thornton Academy students become dynamic, critical thinkers who excel in college and beyond because of what begins here. Our faculty and staff also recognize that learning extends beyond the classroom to the hallways, the playing fields, and the surrounding community.

Thornton Academy welcomes students from more than 20 countries! Diversity adds to the education experience of all our students, and we encourage students who share these ideals to apply for admission. Our international students recognize the exceptional breadth of Thornton’s program of academics and athletics, at the same time appreciating Thornton’s warm and caring residential environment with its low faculty-to-student ratio and family-style living arrangements.

Live where you learn in a brand-new student residence, with plenty to do nearby. For our boarding students, the James E. Nelson Hall and Carl and Barbara Stasio Hall serve as remarkable classrooms where students build important relationships, develop confidence, learn to take responsibility, and make meaningful contributions. In dormitories, students learn the kind of leadership skills which only life in close community can support.

Students who live at Thornton Academy share the joys and challenges of boarding school life with a wide variety of friends, and they are thus enriched by the diversity of talents and backgrounds. Most importantly, the quality of these friendships is deep, reflecting the shared experiences of boarding life.

By living on the grounds with faculty, students experience a unique family feeling. Teammates, housemates, and classmates become fast friends. Faculty members become trusted advisors and mentors, taking the time to know students well, to understand their experiences, celebrate their successes, and support them.

The Arts

"The goals and accomplishments of Thornton Academy’s Arts Program are synonymous with creativity at Thornton Academy and are an important element of how we “prepare students for a changing world.” This fast-paced, dynamic, technologically-advanced world requires all students to develop a range of creative skills and abilities that complement their academic proficiencies. Art, music, drama and dance are critical for all students to participate fully in a future economy that depends on the ability to devise innovative solutions to meet tough challenges, some that we can’t yet imagine. The arts foster the very attributes our youth need in the world that awaits them.

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Study at Thornton Academy

Also see our 2021 Summer English Language Program

Thornton Academy provides a dynamic school experience for students in grades 6-12 that lives up to our mission of preparing students for a changing world.

High school program: Building on a tradition of strong college-preparatory programming, Thornton's academic approach encourages creative and critical thinking and self-discovery through comprehensive core offerings in English, math, history, science, fine arts, and wellness, as well as in a full range of advanced placement, honors, foreign language, performing arts, technology, and business courses. By combining a strong core program with a range of electives, students’ abilities are challenged and their interests are met. Thornton strives to provide a personalized approach while being large enough to offer a broad range of opportunities for students. During the 2013-14 school year, TA will offer courses in 8 foreign languages, 20 AP courses, as well as evening courses and online courses made possible by TAOnline, a virtual course management system. There are also a host of athletic opportunities, activities and clubs.

The high school serves day students from Saco, Dayton and Arundel, as well as tuition-paying students from throughout southern Maine and boarding students from abroad.

The Arts Department offers a wide range of courses in: Visual Art; Theater; Dance; Music and Media Arts

Athletics at Thornton

Over 700 Student-Athletes Compete for Thornton Academy Golden Trojans in 2012-13 School Year. Students who participate in extra-curricular activities tend to maintain higher grade-point averages, better attendance records, lower dropout rates, and fewer disciplinary problems. These activities, including athletics, help Thornton Academy achieve its mission of “preparing students for a changing world.” During the 2012-13 school year, over 700 student-athletes will compete for the Thornton Academy Trojans. They will learn team work and sportsmanship, build self discipline and self confidence, and develop skills to handle competitive situations.

Equestrian Programme

The Thornton Academy Equestrian Team conducts practices at River Winds Farm, an equestrian facility close to campus. The program is unique to the school and invites students to ride regardless of their experience level. Students ride four days a week with the goal of competing at a horse show. Transportation is provided. Students learn horsemanship skills, grooming, equipment, stable safety and how to care and feed the horses. Students ride both in an arena and on surrounding trails.

River Winds Farm Facility
20 stall barn, an indoor/ outdoor arena and heated viewing room. Miles of trails and a fun learning environment

Tuition fee for 2022-2023 (2023 - 2024)

US$ 49,400 per year, includes boarding (US$ 50,800)
US$   2,200 Student Health Insurance (required)
US$   3,300 Student life fee English Language Learning Service,
                  English Language*, Technology Fee (iPad provided
                  for each student), On-campus residential health
                  center support and SEVIS & I-20 Visa support services
US$   1,500 Student Incidentals Account (will be returned
                  if unused)**

*Non-native English speakers will be placed in ELL levels according to their English testing scores and interview. Students may test out of ELL and therefore could be refunded their ELL fee.

**The Student Incidental Account is established for emergency funds, medical expenses, and room damage. A portion may be refundable if funds remain in a student’s incidental account at the end of a student’s time at Thornton Academy.

For more information please write to StudyUnitedStates EU <- click for e-mail