An exceptional boarding school community for boys in grades nine through twelve.

What's Happening?

List of 3 news stories.

  • Student Spotlight: Summer Jobs Inspire Success

    Raising pigs for the county fair. Repairing farm equipment. Hybridizing corn plants. These experiences have inspired sixth former Ben Debnam to take more challenging math and science classes at Woodberry — including the new Introduction to Engineering elective — and to study harder to prepare for college next year.

    Ben’s family is involved in farming-related industries. His father is CIO of DuPont Pioneer, which develops seeds and forage additives for farmers around the world. His grandfather raises corn and soybeans on his 3,500-acre Maryland farm.

    “I’ve always wondered how things work,” says Ben, who grew up helping his grandfather on the farm. As a 4-H member, he raised pigs to sell at the county fair. “They were a cross-breed between a Yorkshire and a Hampshire, commonly called a ‘blue butt’ because they’re white with bluish-colored bottoms.”

    During the summer after his third-form year, Ben worked for Monsanto inoculating corn plant hybrids. “We placed latex bags over the corn cob shoots and paper bags over the tassels on the corn plants,” he explains. “When the tassels had produced enough pollen, we put the paper bags that had covered the tassels over the corn cob shoots, helping the plants to self-pollinate. The point was to check the viability of the hybrid.” The job was incredibly hot and tedious, and Ben worked alongside adults who had labored there for years.

    “One day the heat index was 125 degrees,” he recalls. Ben knew that he didn’t want to spend his life working in the fields. He realized that studying hard and earning better grades would be his key to success. He buckled down, brought his grades up, and has already been accepted by several universities in Iowa and Colorado, where his family now lives.

    One of the projects he undertook on his grandfather’s farm helped him decide on a college major. “I got an old 1953 Willy’s jeep running,” Ben says proudly, “so I plan to major in mechanical engineering.”
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  • Woodberry Forest Players Announce Winter Productions

    Woodberry Forest School announces its winter drama productions. The mainstage performance will be Spamalot, a humorous musical based on the 1975 movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, parodies the legend of King Arthur. And in the Bomb Shelter Experimental Theater, students will present Picasso at the Lapin Agile, a play which imagines Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso meeting at a bar and discussing genius and talent.

    Music by John Du Prez, Eric Idle, and Neil Innes; book and lyrics by Eric Idle
    Bowman Gray Auditorium
    Walker Fine Arts Center
    February 18 - 20, 2016 8:00 p.m.

    Picasso at the Lapin Agile
    by Steve Martin
    Bomb Shelter Experimental Theater
    Walker Fine Arts Center
    February 4 - 6, 2016

    The performances are free and open to the public; because of their length, cerebral dialogue, and occasionally suggestive language, however, neither show is suitable for younger children.
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  • Justin Mitchell ’16 Combines Passions for Biking, Community Service

    Mountain biker Justin Mitchell ’16 of Appomattox, Virginia, couldn’t be more passionate about his sport. He’s been racing since he was eight years old, and he’s ridden for Woodberry every fall and spring since his freshman year. As a varsity racer in both the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) and the Virginia High School Mountain Bike Series, he’s ranked at the national level. Since he’s been at Woodberry, the mountain biking team has increased in size from four to thirty riders, largely due to his leadership. He’s even helped to construct a NICA-certified mountain biking course on the Woodberry campus.

    But all that wasn’t enough for Justin. He wanted to involve riders from beyond the Forest in his favorite sport, so he and Coach Nolan LaVoie brainstormed ways to get the larger community involved. “Every year, the mountain biking team tries to incorporate service into their season,” says Nolan LaVoie. In previous years, for example, the team gathered bike parts and volunteered for Community Bikes in Charlottesville. This fall, they inaugurated the Woodberry Forest Short Track Racing Series, a series of three charity races that welcomed riders of all ages from Madison County. The whole team got involved in setting up for races and participated alongside the guests.

    “We wanted to find a charity that was closely associated with education,” Justin says. Nolan’s wife, Becca, who works at Madison County High School, suggested the Madison Emergency Services Association (MESA), which provides aid in the form of food, clothing, and shelter. “By asking for donations from riders, we raised several hundred dollars,” Justin says. “We also donated about 200 children’s books that we received from racers and parents.”
    As happy as he is with the fundraising success of the racing series, Justin is equally pleased that the events brought more people into the sport. “Several people who'd never raced before used this fall series to get into racing,” he explains. “We had thirty to forty people at each race. It exceeded our expectations.” He has plans to host another series in the spring and hopes the initiative continues after he graduates. “We hope the word will spread, and more and more people will come to each event."
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Woodberry Forest School

Woodberry Forest, VA 22989   Phone: 540-672-3900
Woodberry Forest admits students of any race, color, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, and national or ethnic origin to all of the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other school-administered programs. The school is authorized under federal law to enroll nonimmigrant students.