Hear From A Student...

Learn more about how the RA Experience has had an impact on Castine L. '26.



It’s Monday morning at Ridgefield Academy, and Grade 8 students are arriving early on campus. After settling into their classrooms, RA’s oldest students walk outside toward the Lower School with their faculty advisors—donning the sweatshirts reserved for eighth graders, featuring their last name and graduation year. As Lower School families begin to pull up, Grade 8 student leaders approach each car, open the car doors, and walk the younger students into the school building. Every Grade 8 student also makes sure to say a special hello to their kindergarten buddy.

After the morning drop-off, the entire K-8 school community heads toward the gymnasium for all-school assembly, which is led by an eighth grader each week. While reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, reading announcements, and delivering a short reflection on a current event, Grade 8 students exercise their leadership skills and practice their public speaking skills. This morning, JJ delivers his speech entitled, “What Makes a Community Great?”

“You can have a community of 100 or 1,000, but what those 100 bring to their community might make the difference. It is about quality over quantity. What makes a community great is how people with different backgrounds and interests can all come together and work as a team. Every single person plays an important role in a community. Communities are stronger when each person brings their unique selves to the group. Not everybody in a community will have the same skills and talents. Some people might be athletes, or musicians, or bakers or anything else that they want to pursue. Here at RA, there are so many people that like to do different things. That makes for a well-balanced and well-rounded community.” ~ JJ Schachinger ‘21

Beginning in Grade 4, each middle school year builds upon knowledge, skills, and habits to cultivate confident thinkers and aware global citizens. As students navigate their own identities in the middle school years, their learning is guided by year-long themes that mirror the questions they are facing at each age. RA’s comprehensive curriculum includes academics, athletics, the arts, leadership, service learning, and public speaking. Whether playing on the field with teammates, on stage performing in the spring musical, in the classroom learning the art of geometry, or in the technology lab coding games with Scratch, each student finds the place where they thrive. From coaches to advisors to teachers, every adult in the RA community supports and celebrates middle school students as they grow in confidence and self-assuredness.


Core Programs: Grades 4 & 5

Core Programs: Grades 6-8