Unique Greensboro Academy Still Working To Reach Potential

Unique Greensboro Academy Still Working To Reach Potential

6:00am Jun 26, 2015
International students Zsuzsanna Kunos from Hungary and Daniel Medovoy from Russia crossing the Eagle Bridge from the residential to the academic side of campus.
Julie Knight, Triad Business Journal

Greensboro is home to a small but vibrant Jewish community with a population of about 3,000. It's also home to the only Jewish college prep boarding school in the world. The Triad Business Journal's Katie Arcieri has been reporting on what’s considered a hidden treasure in the city. For this week’s Business report, she tells WFDD’s Emily McCord that while it’s the only school of its kind, it’s still struggling to reach its full potential. 

The American Hebrew Academy is a 100-acre school in northwest Greensboro educating students from 26 states and 14 different countries. 

"You may not even of heard of it before. It's really kind of tucked away," says Arcieri.  "It's a beautiful campus with a pristine forest with a lake for swimming and kayaking. It has an 88,ooo foot aquatic center."

Arcieri says the academy became reality through the vision and funding of the late philanthropist Maurice "Chico" Sabbah, who moved to North Carolina and wanted to create a place where students could continue their Jewish studies at the high school level. He was concerned, though, that there wasn't the population here to support it. 

"A lot of the Jewish communities are concentrated in the larger metro areas like New York or LA," says Arcieri. "So what he decided to do was actually create a boarding school that would bring in international students as well as day students that would fill in that population gap." 

Challenges remain for the academy, however. The school has a capacity of 400 students, so its enrollment is hovering below the half-way point with 160 students. 

"The problem is that parents today, even those of means, are a little bit more reluctant to pay the annual tuition of about $39,500. That means that the school really has to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide financial aid to help boost enrollment."

Arcieri reports that 47 percent of the academy’s students did receive some amount of financial aid this year.

The Business Report on 88.5 WFDD is a partnership with the Triad Business Journal.

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