Cape Fear Academy is a PK3-12 school located in Wilmington, North Carolina. It is a coeducational day school with 600 students and is a non-profit organization unaffiliated with any other institution, group, or church. Cape Fear Academy strives to be "a learning community sharing a commitment to respect, integrity, academic excellence, and service to others." The school was incorporated in 1966 and opened its doors in September 1967. It was named for the original Cape Fear Academy, an independent school for boys in Wilmington that operated from 1868 until 1916. The present school's first class graduated in 1971.
In the present enrollment model, there is one Prekindergarten(ages 3.5 to 5) of 18 students, and Kindergarten through Grade 5 classes have two sections of 20 students each. Middle School (grades 6-8) and Upper School (grades 9-12) academic sections are composed of no more than 21 students, with up to 60 students enrolled in each of those grades. Cape Fear Academy has enjoyed a stable enrollment; 93% of its students re-enrolled after the 2009-2010 school year.
The school is situated on a 27-acre (110,000 m2) campus. Present facilities include two classroom buildings, a gymnasium with 6 classrooms, and the Beane-Wright Student Center, as well as athletic fields and a tennis facility. Additionally, athletic fields, including a synthetic-turf field and the John B. Meehl Field House are located across from the campus entrance on College Road on a 9-acre (36,000 m2) tract.
Cape Fear Academy is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and also by the Southern Association of Independent Schools. The school is also an active member of the National Association of Independent Schools, the Southern Association of Independent Schools, the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools, the Educational Records Bureau, the Independent School Management Consortium, and the College Entrance Examination Board. Cape Fear Academy offers two types of financial aid: need-based and merit. Approximately 18% of the student body receives some type of financial aid, with the bulk of the awards benefiting students in the Middle and Upper School.
Beginning in seventh grade, students may participate in interscholastic athletics. Approximately 89% of the Middle School students play at least one sport during their tenure. In Upper School, about 93% of the student body plays on at least one team and 60% participate in two or more sports. The athletic program makes it possible for all students to have an opportunity in at least one sport per season.
Upper School has an extensive list of clubs for students ranging from the Beta Club and the Diversity Club to the Surfing Club. Students are encouraged to create clubs where there are groups of interest and a faculty sponsor,
A highly successful element of the Upper School program is theater. Approximately 30% of the student body participates in drama as performers or in technology support. Drama presentations include a range of original and well-known pieces from Shakespeare to musical theater. Performances are held on campus, as well as in local community venues, such as Thalian Hall.
The Upper School has an active student-government association, which includes a branch devoted to community service. Students in Upper School must complete 72 hours of service. One of the student-government vice presidents is charged with facilitating this part of student life. A student judicial council makes recommendations for minor disciplinary infractions.
Cape Fear Academy has a long history of 100% of its graduates being accepted to four-year colleges. The school offers an array of Advanced Placement (AP®) courses and 90% of the student body in Upper School takes an AP class before graduation. CFA students taking AP courses are required to take the course exam; 94% of the exams taken by CFA students in May 2012 scored as 3, 4, or 5 (the level most colleges accept for credit).
Graduates of CFA have a positive track record in college with a 66% rate of CFA alumni completing their college careers in 4 years or fewer (national average 29%). Over 1,000 CFA alums are located around the world in a variety of careers and educational pursuits.