Brain gain: Exeter Summer welcomes 600 learners

The 105th session of the Academy's summer program will enroll students from 37 states and 46 countries.

July 3, 2023

An Exeter Summer participant checks in with staff at Thompson Field House on Monday.

A slumbering Academy campus stirred back to life Monday with the arrival of hundreds of eager learners and the beginning of the 105th session of Exeter Summer.

For the next five weeks, students ranging between the eighth and 12th grades will gather around Harkness tables and explore the New Hampshire seacoast in a stress-free learning environment filled with almost everything but grades.

What began in 1919 as remedial instruction for deficient Exonians — replete with five levels of Latin — today is a summer smorgasbord of discovery through more than a hundred courses available to its high school-aged students and 10 pre-designed academic “clusters” for its middle school learners. The course catalogs bulge with offerings with names like “Entrepreneurship: Moral Money Making,” “Basic Principles of Criminal Justice” and “Understanding War and Peace.” Latin is still in the curriculum, but students also can study French, Chinese, German, Italian and Spanish, as well as Japanese through anime.

Nearly 600 students arrived Monday. They hail from 37 states and 46 countries — not dissimilar to PEA’s cosmopolitan regular-session enrollment that left campus in early June for summer break. In fact, history shows that dozens of these Exeter Summer students will evolve into Exonians after deciding to apply to the Academy once their summer session ends. The summer mix, however, is far more multinational than its regular-session cousin: Nearly half of the summer attendees come from outside the U.S.

They will be taught and supported by 125 faculty — a balance of PEA instructors and educators from across the country, many of whom return year after year — and myriad staff. Most of the community will dwell on campus in Academy dorms.

Exeter Summer runs through Aug. 4.

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