BALD HEAD ISLAND, N.C., June 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — School-age children will no longer need to leave Bald Head Island (BHI) for an education. After a recent unanimous approval of a school zoning ordinance by the town council, BHI is now home to a new venture: a K through eighth grade school. An island school designed by the island community, BHI Academy (BHIA) will provide a rich, credentialed, best-in-class, on-island education that meets federal and North Carolina standards, with a unique emphasis on earth sciences, maritime sustainability, and island ecosystem preservation. The new Academy is a big win, not only for children, but also for the four-hundred- year- old community of BHI, according to Mayor Peter Quinn. "The possibility of a school is the possibility for more diverse demographics for our island. It is a clear expression of our values and an investment in creating a greater sense of community." Chad Paul III, Chief Executive Officer of Bald Head Island Limited, the entity that designed and developed the infrastructure that has made BHI noteworthy for its classic coastal architecture, family-friendly atmosphere, and protected natural environment, stated "We are excited about the creation of BHI’s first school. The potential social and economic benefits would be both far-reaching and long-lasting. Bald Head Island Limited, LLC looks forward to supporting the Academy as it moves forward on this important endeavor."
With a mission to embed respect for self, others, and the environment for generations to come, this private academy is open to all students regardless of financial means: children of island residents as well as children whose parents work full-time on the island. The school, which will observe the traditional North Carolina school year of August to June and will include six robust one-week educational summer programs for both resident and visiting children, will be located at 2 Maritime Way.
Governed by a board of community leaders, the Academy features a philanthropic arm, Bald Head Island Academy Foundation, Inc, a 501(c)(3) organization that will ensure education equity and access to children ages five to fifteen, regardless of socioeconomic and personal background. BHIA Foundation will provide guidance on and raise funds for sponsorship of programs for building growth, scholarships, summer programs, extracurricular and life skill courses, transportation to off-island programs, and meals. The BHIA Foundation Board members are Kit Adcock, Kess Clark, Tim Krist, Millicent O’Connor, Mark Prak, Melanie Raskin, and Dr. Lou Vaickus. BHIA also has a safety advisor, Daniel Edwards; medical lead, Lou Ann Earnhardt, AGPCNP-BC; and staff members, Sheree Vaickus, Co-Founder and Curriculum Operations Solutions and Marketing Officer, and Sarah Tennant, Director of Traditional Curriculum.
COVID unleashed a new way of working. Because people can now choose to work anywhere in the world from home, BHI, with its pristine beaches, preservation focus, and island vibe, has become an attractive choice for relocation. Thanks to the new school, that option is now more viable for families with children. "The time has come for Bald Head Island to have its own school," said board member Mark and wife Robin Prak, island residents. "BHI Academy will make it possible for more families to make Bald Head Island their home. It will also provide folks who commute to work on the island with an additional educational option for their children. The creation of BHI Academy is a big and positive step in the evolution of BHI as a community. We’re excited for the possibilities presented."
Legacy is an especially important topic on Bald Head Island now. In the past, BHI had juggled two principal roles: a vacation destination and a community for retirees. BHI Academy opens the door to a new, younger generation of conservation-minded families with the resources and flexibility to work–and live–anywhere. "The creativity, applicability, and sheer wonder of the benefits of education through nature lie at the core of Bald Head Island Academy’s environmentally-focused curriculum," said board member and head of Life Sciences Curriculum, Dr. Lou Vaickus, FACP. "The breadth and diversity of this unique island, with its quick access to pristine ocean- and river-front beaches and dunes, an ancient protective and protected maritime forest, acres of marshlands, and miles of creeks, provide unique multi-faceted ‘classrooms’ for learners of all abilities and interests."
Sheree Vaickus, Co-founder
SOURCE Bald Head Island Academy