Living and Learning

03 Mar 2022

Teaching the core value of resilience

By Judy Royal

Founded in 1967, Cape Fear Academy (CFA) has experienced record-setting enrollment of 720 students this year with no signs of slowing down. Head of School Ed Ellison attributes this to CFA’s resilience, one of its four core values (the other three are integrity, accountability and respect).

Ellison said CFA’s COVID-19 pandemic response, which focused on preserving in-person learning on the 26-acre campus as much as possible, has created demand and garnered the interest of many new students and families. This was possible due to many hours of research by a task force, new outdoor furniture, upgrading the HVAC system, adding hand-washing stations and reconfiguring classrooms, he said. In addition, 97 percent of the school’s faculty members got fully vaccinated as soon as they were eligible without any mandates, Ellison said.

As the pandemic has progressed, precautions at CFA have changed. Students are now sitting 3 feet instead of 6 feet apart, and masks are only required indoors, Ellison said. And as of Feb. 25, 2022, CFA plans to end its indoor mask mandate, he added.

“We communicate every case of COVID-19 to our families,” Ellison said. “Parents are appreciative of the professional way in which we’ve handled our health and safety protocols, as well as our transparency. They are grateful their kids are in school.”

While the process has not been perfect and there were missteps along the way, what matters the most is the unity CFA has achieved as a community, he said.

“I’m really proud of everyone in our community, especially our students and teachers,” Ellison said. “Everyone modeled our core value of resilience in a powerful way. We believe CFA emerged from the pandemic as a much stronger school than the one that entered it. We’re very excited for where we are.”

More About Cape Fear Academy

Head of School: Ed Ellison

Services: PreK3-12th grade in three divisions

Location: 3900 S. College Road, Wilmington

Phone: 910-791-0287


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