Columbus Academy welcomed back students and families to its 231-acre campus on August 23 to begin the 2021-22 school year. That morning, students in grades 6-12 arrived for start-of-school activites, including Unity Day for the entire Class of 2025 (view freshman advisories). The afternoon ended with lower school families exploring classrooms, meeting teachers and enjoying an ice cream social.

 Academy’s 111th school year began with 1,168 total students spread among 15 grade levels.

In her Convocation address, Head of School Melissa Soderberg urged everyone to greet each other warmly, especially Academy’s 178 new students and nearly two dozen new faculty/staff members. “We have been away from our typical moments of creating community for a long time as a result of COVID,” said Soderberg, now in her ninth year guiding the school, “and it is going to be very important for all of us to make an effort and to reach out to be WITH each other this year.”

Student Council co-presidents Davey A. and Gurby V. followed Soderberg’s speech by expressing their gratefulness for everyone involved in making school happen amidst a pandemic.

“In our years at Academy,” stated Gurby, “we’ve learned that these challenges can be navigated because we have a community of teachers, classmates and teammates who work together to help us overcome storms and reach our distant shores. Waves may rock Viking ships, but we have learned – right here, at our school – how to sail.”

Davey added, “While looking back at our years at Academy, Gurby and I both came to the same conclusion: our biggest source of happiness at CA is the people, relationships we build along the way with classmates, friends from other grades, teammates, teachers and staff, coaches and more. We’re sure many of you feel the same way… We must try to love, understand and find the good in one another.”

During the morning ceremony, four faculty members were celebrated for reaching their 20th year at the school: seventh grade science teacher Dr. Andy Bezant, Associate Head of Lower School Brelle Farrenkopf, school nurse Beckie Hoagland and fifth grade teacher Shannon O'Connor (view photos).

Convocation ended with the pairing of Senior-Kindergarten Buddies, a longstanding tradition of matching seniors with kindergartners for bonding activities throughout the year.


The opening week concluded Friday evening with an upper school tailgate and home football game, which our Vikings won 33-6 over KIPP.