Fun and enriching opportunities abound


Cape Fear Academy 11th grade student Merritt Cook is involved in a variety of clubs and extracurricular activities including the scholastic Beta Club through which she helped collect 100 donated bicycles from the community to give to the poor in Africa. She is also on the varsity volleyball team as well as the show choir called Category 5.  These are only a handful of the 18 clubs run by the Upper School students at Cape Fear Academy.

Her classmate Anna McClain joined the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club because she remembered the older students involved in SADD came to her class to talk about alternatives to drugs and alcohol when she was in middle school. Now, she is part of the club and a role model to the younger students.

“It brings you closer to the people in your school. It’s fun,” she said. “Everyone is so involved.”

Students are encouraged to form new clubs all of the time. Middle school students recently began the Equestrian Club. Not only do members ride, but they also volunteer with non-profit organization Coastal Therapeutic Riding Center, which provides “equine assisted activities and therapies for individuals with special needs,” according to the organization’s website.

Cape Fear Academy also offers 40 varsity and junior varsity teams across 12 sports for students to participate in including basketball, volleyball, track, cheerleading, tennis, field hockey, lacrosse and surfing. Part of the school’s philosophy is giving all of their students the opportunity to try different activities to find their passion, said Susan Mixon Harrell, Director of Advancement for Cape Fear Academy.

“It’s a defining principle of our school,” she said. About 92 percent of the seventh to 12th grade student body participates in athletics.

Each of the three seasons offers at least one athletic team that has a “no-cut” opportunity.

“They are encouraged by their peers and by the adults, which is pretty unique,” she said. “There’s very much a culture of, ‘Hey, let’s try it.’”

This embracing of new opportunities led the drama students to build a pool in the new fine arts center in preparation for their latest theatrical production, Metamorphosis. Students involved on stage and backstage develop poise, professionalism and technical skills, Harrell said. They also give back to the community through annual performances at Thalian Hall for Azalea Festival.

Cape Fear Academy students have the highest representation of any North Carolina independent school in the NC Association of Independent Schools Honors Band with 23 students selected. And among all of the middle and upper school students, 60 percent participate in the arts through chorus, band and/or drama.

Cape Fear Academy has been a leader in the educational community of southeastern North Carolina since 1967. Known for its academic excellence and outstanding college preparatory program, the pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade curriculum emphasizes hands-on learning across academic disciplines. For more information, visit or call (910) 791-0287.