Campus Life

Wholeness at Woodberry

Wholeness at Woodberry

A Woodberry education helps shape a boy’s entire being, going well beyond the areas of academics, arts, and athletics. 

The Wholeness Initiative at our prep school provides programming to help each boy reinforce his ability to have a healthy relationship with himself and others. The physical, mental, and spiritual development of each student is formed through a web of relationships. The balance and quality of his relationships determine a boy’s ability to flourish as a human being and personal growth. The Wholeness Initiative seeks to help our boys to identify, understand, and actively engage their self-understanding and relationship with the world to become men of integrity and character.

We value the dignity of every student and seek to live in and cultivate a community of respect and civility. The Woodberry Forest community embraces the charge to know, challenge, and love each member of the student body. In return, we call upon every boy to work hard, build his character, and take care of one another. The essence of this reciprocal commitment is the recognition that each of us lives in and contributes to a community that has been shaped and molded by generations of boys and faculty before us. Each of us is called upon to live not by our own preferences, but into the daily values of what the preparatory school aims to invest in every boy and into the community. 

A Woodberry education promotes:
1. Proper citizenship — Having a respect for others and the place where we live
2. The safety and well-being of our students
3. Self-discipline and good habits for life

Digital Citizenship and Social & Emotional Learning

Social technology is fundamentally changing the landscape of adolescent relationships and development. The ways in which boys use digital devices and platforms has drastically changed how, when, and with whom they regularly communicate. This change in digital habits forms a dynamic set of relationships that is important to manage in order to flourish. This area of focus seeks to help our boys identify, understand, and care for their relationships with the screens and social media platforms through which they connect to others. 
Woodberry partners with The Social Institute for programming around social media and digital citizenship.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Embracing diversity of any sort is an abiding human challenge, and it is a foundational relationship skill to manage in a globalized and complex world. This area of focus seeks to help our boys identify and understand the complexity of human difference while also fostering the skills of empathy and openness that will allow them to to confidently and humbly engage with diverse sets of identities and experiences.

As a school, we will address any form of bigotry regarding race, color, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, and national or ethnic origin. At its best, the Woodberry brotherhood embraces each boy as his authentic self and recognizes that our differences make us stronger as a single community.

The all-school Headmaster’s read has often contributed to a school-wide discussion of these topics. Books read by the faculty and student body in recent years have included Just Mercy, Beartown, and Jayber Crow. 

Along with equity-specific wholeness programming, student-run clubs like Caucus, the International Forum, and the Gay-Straight Alliance offer opportunities for boys to connect with each other, discuss life at Woodberry or in the wider world, and work to build a stronger, safer community.

Substance Use & Misuse

The adolescent brain is a powerful and plastic engine that is particularly susceptible to the developmental effects of substance use. How, when, and with whom our boys choose to use substances -- from caffeine and creatine to nicotine, alcohol, marijuana and beyond -- forms a critical series of relationships that boys need to manage well in order to flourish. This area of focus seeks to help our boys to understand the risks associated with substance use and to make healthy choices for themselves and those they are with.

Woodberry partners with Freedom from Chemical Dependency, the leading nonprofit provider of school-based substance abuse education. FCD is a division of the Betty Hazelden Ford Foundation. We also engage regularly with Linda Hancock, the former director of Virginia Commonwealth University’s student health center, for sessions with students and faculty.

The Signs of Healthy & Unhealthy Relationships

Our closest and most intense relationships with friends and romantic partners are full of both opportunity and danger, and they are too often imbalanced and unhealthy. This area of focus seeks to help our boys identify and understand the signs of unhealthy relationships while also fostering the skills necessary to identify and nourish healthy relationships for themselves and others.

Woodberry is a leading partner with the One Love Foundation to help boys build strong, healthy relationships.

Living and Serving in Community

No man is an island unto himself; all of us are surrounded by an ocean of relationships. We exist in dynamic relationships with our local, state, national, and transnational communities and environments. This area of focus seeks to help our boys to understand the connectedness of all things and to develop habits of engagement and service with their environment and community that will help them to lead rich lives of purpose.

Community service has long been a part of the Woodberry experience, whether through individual projects, class projects like hosting the Special Olympics, or the new Sixth-Form Expedition to the Appalachian Service Project. You can learn more about Woodberry’s philosophy around community service here.
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.