Every Boy at Woodberry becomes part of a community of living and learning. Everyone is welcomed in; everyone strives together to live a life of excellence and honor. This is the essence of the Woodberry Way.


The tie cutting is a rite of passage for Woodberry new boys.

Growing Together

The boarding environment is essential to Woodberry life. All students live full-time on campus — with busy academic schedules, athletic activities, and chapel service every Sunday evening. The entire campus comes together for seated meals, complete with linen table cloths, food served family style, and ample helpings of spirited conversation. The result is a common experience that links current students with the generations of Woodberry boys who preceded them.

For most students, this is the first time they have lived away from home. “You may get a roommate who’s different from you,” says a Woodberry senior, “but you learn to overcome any issues. Dorm life is definitely a place where you grow up socially.”

He adds, “When a bunch of boys get together, it’s ridiculous how much fun we can have.”

The Woodberry Way

Woodberry students take turns serving as waiters during seated meals. In addition to learning how to set a table properly, they gain valuable lessons in personal service and common courtesy. “After working as a waiter,” one teacher says, “I’ll bet the average Woodberry alumnus is a very good tipper.”

You can be talking with a student about a great football play and then turn around and discuss Faulkner. The boys don’t get pigeonholed here. They are good at more than one thing.” An English Teacher

The Honor System

At the heart of the Woodberry experience is the honor system, which prohibits boys from lying, cheating, or stealing. There are few locked doors at Woodberry. If a boy leaves a bicycle, laptop, or wallet somewhere on campus, it will be there when he returns. The goal is not to prevent stolen items, but to create a community of trust where a boy is taken at his word. Because of the honor system, students are trusted implicitly, and Woodberry is a place where character development is as important as academic rigor.

“The boys buy into the honor system,” says a Woodberry history teacher. “The values impressed upon them during their time here carry over to the rest of their lives.” And, parents understand these values, too. Each new Woodberry family receives a copy of the Orange Book, a guide to the tenets of the honor system.

The Woodberry Way

The honor system was introduced in 1899 when Woodberry boys asked the headmaster to trust them to maintain standards of behavior on campus. It still profoundly shapes the culture of the school. “Without the honor system,” one student says, “This place would be like the rest of the world.”

When you live here, you know that the honor system is something worth living up to. You will benefit from it for the rest of your life.” A Sixth-form Student