Woodberry Boys are always ready to try something new. Risk-taking is part of the Woodberry Way — it’s built into the culture. Whether taking the field, taking the stage, or taking on the rock face, a Woodberry boy finds the courage to step up.


A student tests his mettle on the Ropes Course.

All The World’s A Stage

Evidence suggests that studying music improves boys’ skills in math, history, and other subjects. But many boys are drawn to musical performance because it requires teamwork.

“Music here is definitely a team sport,” says a music teacher. “Everyone works together for the greater good. You are a part of the whole, but occasionally you get to stand out and get noticed.”

Getting noticed onstage as a part of a musical ensemble or in a drama performance can help a boy discover a confidence he never knew he had. “When they find what they have inside, it can change their lives,” says a performing arts teacher.

Such performances can require a little courage. “In the jazz band, sometimes a boy gets a chance to do an improvised solo. Talk about taking risks: You don’t know what you are going to play until it comes out of your horn.”

The Woodberry Way

In a school known for academic rigor, Woodberry’s performing groups provide students with unique tests — sometimes involving girls from nearby schools — every time a boy takes the stage or grabs the mic. “No class requires students to do what our performers do,” says one teacher. “Performance ‘exams’ are very public.”

It’s a miracle when kids try theater for the first time. Some of our shyest kids get under the lights and are suddenly not shy anymore.” A Performing Arts Teacher

With An Eye To The World

For boys engaged in the visual arts at Woodberry, the challenge begins the way it does for any artist — with the proverbial blank canvas. From there, it’s up to the boy. “With the arts, there are no wrong choices,” one art teacher says, “even if there are occasionally some bad ones.” Often that’s when the best lessons come.

Woodberry’s visual arts program helps boys develop and refine their own creativity. Students can try studio art, photography, and digital filmmaking.

“Boys function well when shown what to do, when they can follow a set of instructions,” one teacher says. “But the visual arts leave them with options. They learn to take responsibility for their own ideas and creative decisions.”

The Woodberry Way

Twice each year, Woodberry students produce the Talon, a literary and arts magazine featuring poetry and prose as well as painting, photography, and other works of visual art. Widely recognized in national competitions among high school publications, the Talon shows off the breadth and depth of our commitment to the arts.

The creative process is a completely vital way of learning how to think and look at things. It’s at the foundation of the way a man engages his world.” An Art teacher

Lessons From The Great Outdoors

Many schools can claim an attractive campus and stately buildings, but few can match the physical scope and beauty of Woodberry Forest School. The school is situated on 1,200 acres, bordered on one side by the Rapidan River and surrounded by the seven-mile Perimeter Trail. It includes Robertson Lake for fishing and recreation, a series of climbing facilities, and a golf course designed by Donald Ross.

“I didn’t want to be trapped by a little campus where I would just stay on dorm all day,” says one Woodberry sixth former, who considered other schools before visiting Woodberry. “When I came here and saw the campus, I saw possibilities that I wouldn’t have at other places.”

Every boy’s time at Woodberry includes a four-day backpacking trip during his sophomore year — and plenty of opportunities for kayaking, hiking, climbing, and camping.

“Outdoor education is an essential part of Woodberry life,” says one instructor. “It exposes the boys to a sport they can do for a lifetime. And, it challenges them in ways they will never face in a classroom or a dorm. We provide a very tangible goal: Get to the top.”

The Woodberry Way

Along the Rapidan River, which borders Woodberry Forest School, there is a series of forts the boys have built over the years. From Saturday afternoon through Sunday at chapel time, boys are free to enjoy the wilderness — camping out, cooking out, or just hanging out at the river. “You have a lot of pressure during the week,” one sixth former says. “It’s great to come down here to unwind.”

We teach our guys to come out here and take on challenges, to accomplish something using their physical strength.” An Outdoor Education Teacher