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‘Forward and No Retreat’: The Linsly School Celebrates 200 Years

August 12, 2013
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - Continuing the tradition of academic excellence and commitment to character development, The Linsly School will officially kick off its year-long celebration of the institution's Bicentennial Anniversary Year at the opening of the 2013-14 academic year this fall. Echoing the mantra of the school's founder, Noah Linsly, 'Forward and No Retreat' will be the theme for 2013-14 school year.

"As we prepare to kick off our 200th Anniversary Celebration at the start of school, we recognize that this occasion marks an unmatched opportunity to recall the principles and people that have made Linsly an excellent school during each of its incarnations," Linsly Headmaster Chad Barnett said. "Founded under the motto, 'Forward and No Retreat' Linsly has always emphasized that the greatest accomplishment is not in never failing, but in rising again after you fall. We believe students should be challenged and pressed without facing the possibility that they will quit."

Linsly will open its 200th academic year once again with a full school, welcoming students from from 15 states and 12 foreign countries and waiting lists in most grades. In addition to the boarding student population, Linsly will also welcome day students from around the tri-state area including students from Washington, Pa., who now have the opportunity to take advantage of a roundtrip bus service.

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Linsly will officially kick off its year-long Bicentennial Celebration at the opening of the 2013-14 academic year this fall. Pictured are Linsly senior prefects and members of the 200th graduating Class of 2014, from left, Jackie McDermott, Charles ‘Zeke’ Scherich, Melanie Knight, Helen Barker and Daniel Truong.

When students return to Linsly this fall, they will see the visible updates to campus facilities already underway that are part of the 200th Anniversary Campaign, a $10 million capital fundraising effort - the largest in the school's history - that coincides with the school's Bicentennial Celebration.

Among the priorities listed in the campaign are enhancements to Banes Hall, Linsly's main school building, which include a high-tech presentation classroom with stadium-style seating for 100, a new academic wing, a redesigned library converting the existing space into a 21st Century Hub, state-of-the-art classroom presentation technology, and a completely rebuilt network infrastructure. Linsly is currently preparing to break ground for the Banes Hall construction project that will begin later this summer.

Other campus enhancements include the completion of external renovations to Behrens Gym, and ongoing internal renovations with a new gym floor scheduled to be in place by mid-September.

Despite the excitement surrounding the many campus facility enhancements that are already underway for the start of the 200th school year at Linsly, Barnett points out that one of the most important capital campaign priorities is to continue to hire and retain quality teachers who support the school's mission of academic excellence and character development.

To this end, Barnett further explained that the 200th Anniversary Campaign also includes as a campaign priority Endowment Building for Scholarship and Faculty Professional Development, which supports faculty in their professional development and also provides qualifying students who would not otherwise be able to attend Linsly an opportunity to receive a Linsly education.

"The strength of our school lies in our faculty, who are experts in their fields and who know their students well, holding each individual student to their own highest possible standards, both in and out of the classroom," said Barnett.

As part of their ongoing professional development this summer, Linsly faculty read William Damon's "The Path to Purpose: How Young People Find Their Calling in Life," which builds on the school's long history developing in people a clear sense of identity.

"With nearly 200 years of history and a clear mission, Linsly stands to provide all students with a clear opening to their life's narrative. We believe that this foundation matters now more than ever. Educational theorists think often of the boomerang adolescents/young adults - those who leave for the world of college or work only to return to the family home for a prolonged period of adolescence," said Barnett.

"While economic conditions often contribute to the phenomenon, I believe that young people in society today often feel overwhelmed by rapid changes and endless options. In other words-they can become paralyzed by a proliferation of choices that often function more as a distraction than genuine opportunities. From this reading, we will identify ways to help our students connect their passions and interests with a perspective on the many ways they can make a difference in our world."

As Linsly embarks on its year-long Bicentennial celebration, the school already has a full calendar of events slated to mark this once in a lifetime celebration.

The capstone celebratory events will be a 200th Anniversary Celebration in the spring of 2014 at Glessner Auditorium and an all-class reunion in the fall of 2014.

"From our youngest fifth-grader, to our seniors who will graduate as members of the Class of 2014, to our loyal trustees, to our dedicated faculty, and to generations of Linsly alumni across the nation and the world, we come together as one community to celebrate this milestone event," Barnett said.

"We look forward to welcoming our new and returning students this fall and beginning a school year that will forever be part of the history of this great institution.

The Linsly School, located in Wheeling, was founded in 1814 and is the oldest school of its kind west of the Allegheny Mountains. Linsly began the transition from a military school in 1978 and became co-educational in 1988. Linsly, a college preparatory school serving both young men and women in grades five through 12 for both boarding and day students, now has an enrollment of approximately 440 students.

The school is accredited by The Independent Schools Association of the Central States.

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