Congratulations to the Spring Class of 2016!

Auldern Academy is proud to announce the graduation of the Spring Class of 2016.  This year’s class received a combined $156,000 in academic scholarships. Some of the colleges they will be attending in the fall include; The University of Michigan, The University of Tennessee, West Virginia University, North Carolina State University, Loyola University, Kennesaw State University, Johnson and Wales University, Bridgewater College, Savannah Technical College, and High Point University. 

We are very proud of their accomplishments as individuals and as a class and wanted to share their success with you! We look forward to their exciting futures beyond Auldern!  Way to go ladies!DSC_0008

A Final Farewell

As many of you know, today is my last day at Auldern Academy, and thus, this will be my final blog posting.  I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all of the many students, family members, educational consultants, and colleagues I’ve had the opportunity to work with over the past 7+ years.  It is because of you all that my job has never felt like work.

In October of 2007 I joined the Auldern Academy team as a part-time PE teacher not realizing this place would become like a second home to me, and the people here like a second family.  Throughout the years I’ve had the unique chance to fill many different roles on our campus — first as a teacher, then as a member of the Student Life team, and now a Director of Admissions.  For each of these experiences, I am grateful.  Grateful for those who took the time to teach me, grateful for all that I have learned, and grateful for what has been an amazingly wonderful journey.  Auldern will always hold a very special place in my heart.

To my colleagues —  You all are some of the most talented, hardworking, caring, and dedicated individuals I have ever worked with.  When asked what separates Auldern from other places, my first response has always been “the people”.  Each of you brings a unique gift to the table that plays a vital role to our school’s success.  It is because of you that we are able to help make a positive impact in the lives of our students.  As I said earlier, you all are like a second family to me…like the family I got to choose for myself.  Thank you for your never ending support and for all of the wonderful memories I will forever cherish.  I will sincerely miss all of you!

To the students of Auldern Academy (past and present) —  In my time at Auldern Academy, I’ve had an opportunity to work, in some capacity, with over 350 students.  I’ve seen so many of you make amazing strides and go on to be successful young women.  As staff members, we are here to give guidance and teach you, but over the years I’ve learned far more from you than you could ever imagine.  You all are such amazing young ladies with so much potential. You have been a source of inspiration and joy in my life and for that, I thank you!  It is because of you that I can truly say that I love my job.  Thank you for giving me the chance to be part of your lives.

To the Auldern Academy Parents and Families —  For many of you, my voice may have been the first you heard when calling to learn more about our school, and I hope I was able to offer some sense of hope and peace of mind during a time that was not easy for you.  I have always admired the love you have for your daughters, just how much you believe in them, and what you are willing to sacrifice in an effort to give them the tools necessary to be successful.  More importantly, I want to thank you for the trust you have put in Auldern Academy and its staff members to care for your most precious asset.  Thank you for allowing Auldern Academy, and me, to be a part of your journey.

In closing, I find myself with a lot of mixed emotions — excited about new opportunities, but sadden to leave a place that means so much to me.  I often tell the girls that they need to be willing to step out of their comfort zone and be open to trying new things.  Now, it’s time for me to disrupt my comfort zone and embark on a new journey.  Thank you, again, to everyone who has played a part in making Auldern such a special place for me.

With heartfelt and grateful appreciation,


2015 “Thanks-Giving-Back” Food Drive

2015 Food Drive

At Auldern, we are all thankful for how much we have; however, we probably take for granted just how fortunate we are that we don’t have to worry about where our next meal will come from. In an effort to give back to our community and help those in need this holiday season, Auldern Academy will be hosting our third annual “Thanks-Giving-Back” Food Drive – a friendly competition to see which school family can donate the most non-perishable food items and money to help support our local CORA food pantry. Last year Auldern collected over 400 pounds of food items and almost $700 in monetary dotantions!  It’s our goal to do everything we can to beat that this year! Here’s how it will work…

Each family will have a donation box located around campus to collect their items. Now, we know the girls don’t exactly have a way to go out and purchase canned food, so we have non-perishable food items available for purchase for $1 in the school store. Hopefully some of the girls will forego buying multiple snack items from school store, and instead will use this as an opportunity to purchase an item for their donation box. Staff members have also been encouraged to donate items to help fill their family’s box. In an effort to make sure we are donating items that the CORA food bank is in need of, students, staff, and others can boost their family’s chances of winning by donating items on the “most needed” list. Some of these items include: Canned salmon and ham, cream of chicken soup and chowders, low-sugar boxed cereal, canned collard greens, tomatoes, and potatoes, as well as toiletries and paper products. On December 14th, not only will we total up everything that has been donated, but we will see which family has donated the most items and the winning family will be treated to a special off-campus outing! As you can see from the picture above, the Bat family is out to an early lead to begin the competition.

Each family will earn stickers to add to the board based on what is donated:

  • 3 items donated from the “most needed” list  = 1 sticker
  • 5 “other items” (those not noted on the most needed list) donated  =  1 sticker
  • $5 in monetary donations  =  1 sticker

Most needed

I know all of those reading this are probably just as eager to get involved, so don’t worry, we have thought of ways you can help as well! If you would like to mail canned food items to Auldern for us to put in a certain family’s box, you are more than welcome to, but that might get a little pricey, so we thought mailing a check would be a better alternative. If you would like to make a donation, simply make the check payable to CORA and mail it to: Auldern Academy, Attn: Amanda Woolard – Food Drive, 990 Glovers Grove Church Road, Siler City, NC 27344. Be sure to include which school family you are making your donation in honor of (Dragonflies, Horses, Wild Boars, Bats, or Mountain Lions). For every $5 donated, families will earn one sticker to add to the board!  All donations to the CORA Food Pantry are tax deductable so we hope you will “help us help others”! If you would like to learn more about the CORA Food Pantry and the great work they do, feel free to check out their website at

Thanks in advance for your help in making the 2015 “Thanks-Giving-Back” Food Drive another HUGE success!

Until the next post,


Chris Will wins Excellence In Service Award

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Auldern Academy is proud to announce that our very own, Mr. Chris Will, has been awarded the 2015 Excellence In Service Award by the National Association of Therapeutic Schools And Programs (NATSAP).

As many of you know, Mr. Will has served as Auldern Academy’s history teacher since the school’s inception in 2001.  Throughout his 14 year teaching career at Auldern, Mr. Will has had an opportunity to work with every enrolled student; meaning he has positively impacted the lives of more than 595 students!  Promoted to Lead Teacher in 2007, Mr. Will currently teaches 9th-12th grade courses which include US History, World History, Economics, Government, and Sociology.  His classroom offers students an environment where history truly comes to life through animated lectures, rousing discussions, and exciting projects.  Additionally, Mr. Will is the one responsible for planning our week-long Spring experiential trips to destinations such as Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Savannah, Charleston, and Williamsburg.  With that being said, it’s important to note that Mr. Will is so much more than just a history teacher.  He is a dedicated, hardworking, and reliable colleaugue who will always be one of the first to volunteer his time to help.

When asked what words they would use to describe Mr. Will, here were a few of the responses our students gave: “Great teacher”, “passionate”, “funny and goofy”, “selfless”, “very charismatic”, “the BEST”, “understanding”, “Are there words to describe him?”, “dedicated”, “crazy in a good way”, “role model”, “believes we all have potential”, “unforgettable”.

Unforgettable – that might be the best way to describe Chris Will.  Whether you’ve met him while touring the school, had an opportunity to enjoy one of his classes, listened to him make up songs about the dress code, turned to him when you needed advice, watched him play dodgeball like it’s an Olympic sport, or observed him helping a student to discover her own strengths; one thing is certain, your encounter will be positive and endearing.

We’ve all had teachers who have made a difference in our lives and inspired us to reach beyond what we thought we were capable of achieving.  Thanks to Mr. Will, almost 600 Auldern Academy students can say they, too, have had an unforgettable, inspiring, and influential teacher who encouraged them to dream bigger, reach higher, and expect more.

Here are just a few reasons why we think he’s so special:

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Congratulations Mr. Will!  You deserve it!

Until the next post,


Helping Out Habitat!

Example of Chatham County Habitat home

Example of Chatham County Habitat home

This past Saturday, several of our students volunteered their time to help out on the newest Chatham County Habitat for Humanity construction site.  Not only were they able to assist with an awesome project, but they were able to learn a few new skills as well!

To date, 116 Habitat homes have been built throughout Chatham County, helping to make home ownership a possibility for families in need.  When volunteering on one of the local construction sites, volunteer tasks can include things like painting, drywall, framing, site clean-up, and landscaping.  Habitat construction staff members and supervisors help to train all volunteers, regardless of experience.

Take a look at our girls in action…

Students learning how to install vinyl siding

Students learning how to install siding

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Excellent job helping to make a positive difference in our community ladies!

If you’d like to learn more about the efforts of the Chatham County Habitat organization or find out ways you can help build stronger communities in our area, please visit their website at

Until the next post,


All Things Grow With Love

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Shortly before the June break, one of our students took the initiative to plant a small garden on campus and it hasn’t taken long to see the “fruits” of her labor!

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An array of items have been planted, including corn, peppers, squash, tomatos, and cabbage…

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Great job to all of the students who have helped with the garden!  I guess the old saying is true – all things grow with love.

Until the next post,


Experiential Trip – Atlanta Style

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Yesterday students began their day with a trip to the Georgia Aquarium where they had an opportunity to explore exhibits, see some “behind the scenes” areas, and learn more about aquarium-related careers, research efforts, and conservations programs.

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There was also a special opportunity for students to see where the animals receive medical treatment and where the food is prepared for all of the aquarium animals.

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I know Mr. Will may be disappointed to hear this, but I’m pretty sure the baby penquins have earned the title of “most popular” on this trip!  Look how cute they are!

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We do want everyone to know that Mr. Will did thoroughly enjoy his time at the aquarium even though he was not the star of the show…now that didn’t stop him from trying to be…but the closest he would get was taking a picture with one of the stars from the Dolphin Tales show.

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After having some lunch, the girls next stopped at the Coca-Cola Building to learn more about the fascinating story of the world’s best-known beverage brand.  While here, students were able to see the vault where the legendary secret Coca-Cola formula is stored, tour gallaries of more than 1,000 original Coke artifacts, get a behind the scenes look at the bottling process, and they even had a chance to mix and match ingredients to make their very own secret formula – then taste their creations!

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What’s next you ask?  Let’s see if Mr. Phillips knows where the next stop will be…

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Off to CNN Headquarters it is for a behind the scenes tour of one of the most trusted names in news.  Once inside students were actually given a glimpse of how the most up-to-date information is gathered as well as given the opportunity to see news production in action!

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After having some southern cuisine at Mary Mac’s Tea Room, the girls ended the night with some fun and games at Game-X.  Game-X has over 60 of today’s favorite games and even a few blasts from the past that Mr. Will and Mr. Phillips would know how to play! (Notice Mr. Will in the back near the skeeball…much more his speed!)

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Everyone enjoyed some much needed and deserved rest before packing up and heading home early this morning.  The girls will find they have one more treat in store when they stop at Carowinds: Thrill Capital of the Southeast!  It will be interesting to learn which girls were daring enough to ride the FURY 325 – the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster.  The new ride climbs to a towering 325 ft. in the air before dropping back towards the ground at a 81-degree angle and reaching speeds of up to 95 mph!  Did I mention there are twists, curves, and barrel turns also? Whew!  What a ride!

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Overall it seems as though the girls have had a great trip and have enjoyed their time in the Atlanta area!  It will be back to reality and hitting the books first thing Monday morning!

Until the next post,



Experiential Trip – Atlanta Style

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It’s that time of the year again and the girls are away from campus and enjoying another fun-filled and exciting experiential trip – this time to Atlanta, Georgia!

It was an early start for everyone on Tuesday as the bus departed and headed south at approximately 6:30am.  After a brief stop for lunch the girls made their way directly to their first stop which was Stone Mountain Park.

Located in Stone Mountain, GA, the state park is home to the world’s largest exposed granite monolith which has a summit elevation of 825 feet above the surrounding areas.  The photo above was a group shot taken in front of the granite monolith.  Here are a few more photos from this stop…

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Next up, the girls were given an opportunity to learn about the pioneer way of living during a visit to Stone Mountain’s Antebellum Plantation and Farmyard.  This area is home to one of the most extensive collections of period furniture and southern decor, demonstrating the diverse lifestyles of those who would have lived during the 18th and 19th centuries.

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I think it’s fair to say that the clothing back then was not nearly as comfortable as it is today!  The Auldern girls are probably appreciating our dress code a little more after seeing what would have been worn centuries ago…

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The Antebellum Plantation is even home to a farmyard where students were able to pet the animals and learn about the important role livestock played in early Georgia life.

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Even Mr. Phillips and Mr. Will stopped to pose for a picture! (It clearly must have been an early morning for Mr. Will!)

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After grabbing a bite to eat at the popular Atlanta eatery and world’s largest drive-in restuarant – The Varsity – it was off to the hotel for a little shut eye before another fun-filled day.

Following Wednesday’s breakfast, students were able to take a tour of Centennial Olympic Park which was the home of the 1996 Olympic Games.  From there, they met back up with the bus driver and made their way to the Atlanta History Center to visit a variety of award winning exhibits.

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Students were also able to visit Ebenezer Church and the MLK Historic Site this afternoon.

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There are other fun things in store for this evening, and tomorrow will bring updates from visits to The Georgia Aquarium, Coca-Cola Building, and CNN studios!

Until the next post,



Horses Host Breakfast for Dinner

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Although it was chilly outside today, things were heating up in the kitchen!

As many of you know, all Auldern Academy students and staff are members belong to one of our five school families.  Each month the school families take turns hosting fun campus events, fundraisers, community service events, and they get to pick their favorite meal to share with other students.  In February, the Horse family took on the challenge of hosting these events, but due to some inclement weather over the past few weeks, their family dinner had to be postponed.  Thankfully, they (and the rest of us) didn’t have to wait too long for the Horse family dinner.  For their favorite meal, they selceted Breakfast For Dinner – a favorite for many of us at Auldern!

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All of the girls are in for a treat this evening with blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes, fresh fruit, bacon, eggs, parfaits, and even Mr. Fred’s croissants!  Yum!

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And while we didn’t spot him in the kitchen helping to prepare the meal, we did find Mr. Will close by helping with the decorations!

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Here’s hoping you’re having something as scrumptious for dinner as we are!

Until the next post,


Snow at Auldern? Snow-way!

Snow 2015

While it may be a little hard to believe, yes, Auldern saw it’s first significant snow of 2015 earlier this week.  Everyone (including area meteorologists) were surprised on Tuesday morning when snow began to fall across central North Carolina, and were even more surprised when it continued to fall throughout much of the afternoon.  Most of Tuesday’s 2.5 inch snow fall had all but melted by Wednesday afternoon, but thanks to another cold front and storm system colliding at just the right time, more snow began falling late Wednesday night.  By the time everyone woke up Thursday morning, we had approximately 4 inches of snow on the ground and some areas saw as much as 6.5 inches!  We hope our northern friends and families aren’t laughing too hard, but that’s enough snow to cause folks around here to flock to grocery stores to stock up on the essentials, cancel classes, and breakout our heaviest winter gear!

The Auldern girls were lucky enough to get a couple of days off from school this week to enjoy the snow, but were back in class and hitting the books by Friday.  While pretty to see at first, I speak for many around here when I say, “I am ready for Spring to arrive!”  Hopefully this will be the last round of winter weather as we are forecasted to see temperatures in the low 70’s by the middle of next week.

Until the next post,