Loudoun Country Day School, one of the county’s largest and longest running private schools, got its new academic year rolling this week.
The school welcomed 320 students, from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Enrollment continues to rise at the school, which opened with just a handful of students in the late 1950s. This year, the school is adding 54 to its rosters.
“I think the families who come to us, and return, are looking for similar things. They’re looking for an outstanding educational program where subjects and topics can be explored in depth,” Headmaster Randy Hollister said of the school’s steady growth. “It’s a strong, robust, enriching educational experience, but in a really nurturing environment that provides a lot of opportunity for individual attention.”
On Tuesday, he and other school leaders greeted a room full of new students and their families.
Eighth-grader Maria MacDonald, the school’s student council president, said she knew Loudoun Country Day School was different when she first enrolled as an elementary student. “I knew I was a part of something special,” she told the new students Tuesday. “We are a family. And you are now part of that family—the Loudoun Country Day School family.”
The school has several new initiatives Hollister and his team of teachers are especially excited to roll out this year. One is a campus garden, called the Garden Lab, that was put in over the summer.
Thanks to support for a school auction in April, $26,000 was raised to build the garden. Each grade level has been assigned a raised bed, and the students will help plant, care for, and harvest vegetables, fruit, flowers and cotton.
Hollister, who earned his green thumb growing up on a farm in western New York, loves that the garden invites students to get outdoors, get their hands dirty, produce something and learn while they’re at it.
“What each grade is growing ultimately has some tie to something they’re studying,” he said. “I really wanted a project that everybody could be a part of. … I love the idea that we can work on this as a whole school.”