The Chewonki Foundation in Wiscasset, Maine, announces that, effectively immediately, its semester school for high school juniors is renamed from Chewonki Semester School to Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki. This change honors the original name of the school, one of the first of its kind in the nation. Now in its 28th year, Maine Coast Semester has over 1,900 alumni worldwide.
“The name change celebrates the school’s strong sense of place here on Chewonki Neck in Maine’s beautiful mid-coast region,” said Willard Morgan, president of the Chewonki Foundation. “We are pulling forward the original program name (Maine Coast Semester), combined with the Chewonki Foundation name, to convey more clearly the unique offerings that the coast of Maine adds to our students’ academic experience while also highlighting the resources of our year-round education foundation.”
In the last decade, the semester school received full accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, joined the National Association of Independent Schools and The Association of Boarding Schools, and, in collaboration with other semester schools across the country, helped launch the Semester Schools Network.
“With the natural world as our classroom and our home, Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki better describes all that we offer,” said Ann Carson, head of school. “The allure of the Maine coast is known far and wide, and for good reason. It is a unique and diverse region to explore, study, and admire for its natural beauty and ecological integrity.” The Maine Coast Semester campus on Chewonki Neck, a 400-acre saltwater peninsula, includes miles of trails through forest, several scenic rocky points, and a horse-powered organic farm. “Students take their learning to the next level using the natural world as their laboratory,” said Carson. “They learn along the coast as well as in inland wilderness areas far from Chewonki. Students might paddle the St. Croix River during peak autumn foliage or snowshoe along the flanks of Mt. Katahdin in the winter months. Carson noted that “Alumni talk about this as a once-in-a-lifetime semester during which they gained a greater sense of self and sense of place, all while staying on track for selective college admission.”
Maine Coast Semester students come from across the country to spend one semester of their junior year of high school learning, working, and living together. During their four months at Chewonki, students combine challenging academic coursework with hands-on fieldwork in nature, learn the art and skills of sustainable living, and discover how to build strong healthy communities wherever they are. They leave with new skills, understanding, confidence, and purpose—and the knowledge that they can make a positive difference in the world. Nearly 100 percent of Chewonki alumni continue on to four-year colleges, including many top-tier colleges and universities around the country and abroad.