Scholarship. Perseverance. Innovation. Resilience. Empathy. These are the core values interwoven throughout the curriculum at SPIRE Academy, a sports boarding school for Grades 9 to 12 in Geneva, Ohio.
Here, you’ll find athletes boasting competencies such as global awareness, critical thinking, leadership, communication (written and speaking), collaboration and creativity. They’re balancing daily academic, personal, professional and career aspirations within facilities and programmes that nurture personal growth and stimulate the desires to challenge oneself. They’re identifying and experiencing professions and career development opportunities with the help of a Career and College Placement team. They’re getting the ideal exposure to the collegiate coaching network and set to join hundreds of their peers at top collegiate programmes across the US.
These students prove that for all its unique and impressive sports facilities, there is so much more to SPIRE than just sports. This is an academy that equips high school students and postgraduates to be fully prepared for life’s personal and professional experiences and see potential obstacles as opportunities.
This is made possible through the academy’s four-pillar programme — academics (five hours a day), majors such as basketball, esports, lacrosse, swimming, soccer, track & field and wrestling (four hours a day), personal skill development (woven into academics and majors each day), career exploration (one hour per week).
Here, the curriculum is not in age-defined terms. Rather, it is based on students feeling ready and interested to study a particular area, thus being encouraged to pursue passion areas and obtain deeper levels of understanding.
Students can take a progression of courses, all of which integrate and link content threads through projects that help them see the real-world application of what they are exploring in class.
These courses include English, World History, Mathematics, Science, World Language, Health and Fine Arts — all of which are taught through workshops, electives and seminars. Career explorations are linked to the curriculum too, so students are able to see the integration of their experiences across domains. Should you find passion in courses not offered, SPIRE provides students the option to pursue online courses through self-directed studies.
“SPIRE students receive programming based on leadership, community and character – all critical to college and career success,” says Director of Academics Kate Reedy.
Superb boarding and sports facilities for the serious athletes
Walk into SPIRE’s one-of-a-kind campus and its sports facilities will impress. In 2012, its 750,000 square feet facility was completed, allowing the academy to host many Division 1, II and III competitions/championships plus National championships in Track and Field and Swimming. In December 2019, the new owner purchased SPIRE, allowing a much bigger vision to become a reality.
Soon, SPIRE opened SPIRE Academy, a fully-accredited, college preparatory boarding and day high school. It expanded its year-round sports camps, brought universities/colleges and corporations on campus, expanded the number of sports majors to seven (basketball, swimming, track and field, wrestling, lacrosse, soccer, e-sports, and now women’s basketball) and added sports-related and non-sports majors.
The offerings continue. This year, SPIRE high school and postgraduate students can take Kent State University (KSU) classes. By 2023, the academy aims to have an agreement with KSU that allows SPIRE students to earn a two-year Associate Degree from KSU concurrent with their SPIRE High School Diploma.
With every move, the goal is to always inspire individuals to achieve their peak potential in life. “Our most valuable assets are our students. We believe they are second to none. They share the common experience of sacrifice in leaving home, courage in pursuing their passions and great ambition,” shares Chief Marketing Officer Laura Lawrence.
At SPIRE, they have the boarding facilities that make their goals possible: seven 2,350 square feet modular homes, each of which can accommodate 12 students with two to a room and three full baths. Each home has an apartment for the house head with a small kitchen that students can get permission to use as well as laundry facilities and a student lounge with a large screen TV and couches.
The campus is home to one of the largest, Olympic calibre indoor and outdoor complexes in the sports, and also includes an eSports Lab, Disc Golf Course, Cross Country track, with a hotel and additional restaurants soon to come.
Boasting world-class training programmes, SPIRE is the go-to, privately owned, sports boarding school for serious athletes seeking an intense training environment to prepare for the next level of competition. SPIRE has an owner managed team with a max of 228 students, meaning the student to coach and teacher ratio is 4-5, vs. other well-known sports boarding schools which are approximately 15-17 per coach.