All boys. All boarding. Grades 9-12.
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 boys’ boarding 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 boarding school 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.

Community and Belonging

Embracing diversity of any sort is an abiding human challenge, and it is a foundational relationship skill for living 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 and recognizes that our differences make us stronger as a single community.

Find full information on the Community and Belonging page.

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 Soundcheck Prevention Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to building specialized substance-use-prevention practices and programs. Soundcheck's founder and CEO is Will Straughn, Woodberry class of 1992. Will has worked closely with Woodberry boys since 2015 and knows the school and our culture well. We also engage regularly with Linda Hancock, the former director of Virginia Commonwealth University’s student health center, for sessions with students and faculty.

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.

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.

A Posse Ad Esse Mural On Community Street

Completed in February 2022, the Community Street Mural painted by S. Ross Browne pays tribute to the ways each boy who enters Woodberry Forest School brings his own upbringing and culture with him, enriching the collective experience of the entire community. The mural is located in the game room on Community Street in the Walker Building, a space boys pass through each day en route to the school store and the post office. 
Painted in a style similar to that of Harlem Renaissance muralist Aaron Douglas, the work incorporates icons and symbols from a wide range of countries and cultures, uniting them together with images that symbolize a shared connection to Woodberry, such as a tiger (Woodberry's mascot), the orange and black school tie, and the Blue Ridge Mountains visible from campus. 
To celebrate the first anniversary of the mural's completion, Woodberry welcomed Browne back to campus for an artist's talk on his work. 
You can see the full talk 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.