Beyond The Hilltop

It’s a great, big, beautiful world out there and we think it’s worth exploring. That’s why Hilltoppers go Beyond the Hilltop to find out more and to make their mark.

We’re exploring exhibits and research endeavors just a few miles away and traveling to other continents.

We’re reaching out with effective Service Learning projects and extrapolating that knowledge into a broader understanding of economic and social concepts.

We’re meeting experts in their fields and collaborating with them on real-world solutions.

Our outreach is happening in every corner of campus on every day of the week, and that outreach helps to mold every Hilltopper into an effective global citizen.

The cornerstone of Worcester Academy’s outreach - our “secret weapon” if you will - is this: The Hilltop itself. It’s our urban location that gives us nimble access to museums, higher-Ed research, and those Service Learning projects that teach us the most.

Hilltoppers, no matter where in the world they hail from, learn to navigate different terrains and different cultures with ease and assuredness.

Go wide or go local. You’ll learn more about the world here on the Hilltop.

List of 4 items.

  • Service Learning

    Like all good neighbors, we care about our community: Those folks who live in our own neighborhood, the residents of our Region, and fellow citizens of the world. As active community members, we know that we have much to gain and much to contribute to our community. That’s why Service Learning is woven into our lives on the Hilltop and part of every student’s education in both the Middle School and the Upper School.

    By graduation, Hilltoppers must complete a total of 60 hours of service.* Postgraduate students must complete 15 hours of service. Our Coordinator of Community Service Opportunities is always ready to help Hilltoppers find the role that resonates with their particular interests, and service-oriented clubs abound, making those 60 hours melt away. As a matter of fact, a full one third of our senior class regularly receives the President’s Volunteer Service Award, given in recognition of giving more than 100 hours of service during high school. As you can see from the many projects and clubs referenced throughout this page and the entire website, Service Learning is a natural part of every Hilltopper’s life.

    Collectively, Hilltoppers contribute thousands of hours each year in the greater Worcester community and beyond. They mentor and teach, work countless hours in hospitals and shelters, host benefit concerts, organize food and clothing drives, and make an impact!

    *To be eligible for the Bernon Family Community Service Award, at least 30 hours of community service must be completed by the end of 11th grade.
  • Exploring Our Neighborhood

    Our middlers get out-and-about to learn more about themselves and their community. Here are just three examples of going beyond:

    • Our signature Market Guidebook Project takes our Middlers all over Worcester, sampling the exotic tastes of our city’s many ethnic markets. This cross-disciplinary project culminates in a Guide Book, complete with customer comments, photos, and reviews of delectable prepared foods. 
    • Building Bridges walks our middlers across the street to Union Hill Public Elementary School where our outstanding students reinforce their own knowledge by working with younger students on their basic skills. 
    • Our best and brightest participated in Springfield College’s Leadership Training - a transformational learning experience that explores ways to lead in your community.

    Our older students get around as well! Take a look: 

    • Leftovers in Adams Dining Hall were being composted, which was good, but not nearly as rewarding as it could be. Several astute students and faculty members (including our varsity basketball players!) came together to bring this nourishing food to a local shelter – every day of the week. 
    • Our Post Grads organize a Spring Field Day every year for the students of the Union Hill School, our neighboring public elementary school. PG’s often tell us that, looking back on it, it was their favorite Worcester Academy day ever! 
    • Our Habitat for Humanity group travels to help build homes in other states every year, but here on the Hilltop, you don’t have to go very far to find folks who need housing. Creating a Win-Win situation, Worcester Academy purchased a home just off campus, donated that home to Habitat for Humanity, and just like that, created a Service Learning opportunity for our students right here in our own backyard.
  • Exploring Our Community

    Massachusetts is full of great places to go, people to see, and lessons to learn. Here on the Hilltop, we try to take advantage of our great location as much as possible.

    • When Boston’s Museum of Science brought Da Vinci, The Genius to town - a vibrant, interactive exhibition that explored every aspect of Leonard da Vinci’s world-changing innovations in the arts, science, medicine, engineering and design – we brought the entire school to check it out. Back on campus, we wrapped interdisciplinary lessons around the trip, making it a great and possibly life-shaping experience for all. 
    • Hilltoppers head off campus regularly – not only to learn about what’s out there, but also to learn about each other. Take our seventh grade trip to Nature’s Classroom, for example: This fabulous residential environmental education program give our middlers a chance to live and learn together - develop a sense of community, a confidence in themselves and an appreciation for others. 
    • Every once in a while, our outreach lasts for years to come! A large group of Hilltoppers participates in the amazing Pan Mass Challenge, the annual bike-a-thon that crosses the Commonwealth and raises vital funds for Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The camaraderie is so significant that our graduates come back to ride year-after-year, growing the group and building great relationships.
  • Exploring Our World

    And, of course, every once in a while, you just need to get-up-and-go!

    • Our 8th graders head off on the most exciting trek of their lives! Outward Bound’s NYC Urban Expedition provides the backdrop for discovering firsthand what shapes an urban landscape. 
    • And our Upper Schoolers trot the globe! Recent excursions have included Peru, China, France, Italy, and, of course, Denmark to visit our sister school Haderslev Katedralskole.

8th Grade Local Market Project

WA 8th Graders discover new foods Beyond the HIlltop!

Every year, Worcester Academy eighth grade students undertake the Market Project, an urban exploration of small food markets located throughout our city.  Students research the history and geography of the culture or region represented by the market they will visit; they also explore their own family food heritage and how food can be a portal into cultural connection and understanding throughout the world.  Finally, teams take to the road—equipped with shopping bags, a small budget to purchase food for sampling, and a desire to meet the people and learn the stories behind the markets.

A highlight of the project is that the teams are able to taste and share new and familiar foods with classmates-- it’s a feast!  

What you will find here are links to each team’s collection of writings about their experiences and impressions.  You’ll see poems, letters, op-eds, guidebook segments, and more. And you will also see the students’ artistic works inspired by the culture of the market they visited.  These visual art pieces, musical compositions, theater designs, and scripts are another way to reach into Worcester’s diverse urban riches.

Click a link or two (or more!) and see where the students went in 2019.  We hope you will make your way to visit and shop at these unique markets too! Enjoy!

Worcester, MA

Being located in Worcester, New England’s second largest city, makes us distinct from many other independent schools. Worcester Academy attracts students from 80 towns and cities across Massachusetts. Because of our convenient urban location, some students ride the train to school each day.
Just down the hill, you will find a variety of ethnic restaurants and markets, the DCU Center, which hosts major concerts and events, sailing and rowing on Lake Quinsigamond, world-class performances and Broadway productions at Hanover Theater, and shopping at the Shoppes at Blackstone Valley.
Forbes magazine ranked Worcester 9th for “America’s Most Livable Cities.” Here are a few reasons why:
  • 65+ arts and cultural destinations including the Worcester Art Museum, showcasing masterpieces from El Greco, Monet, Rembrandt, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Gauguin
  • 60+ parks including Elm Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead
  • 55 new restaurants have opened in the last 18 months
  • 22 ski trails at nearby Wachusett Mountain
  • 20 trains go to and from Boston daily at Union Station
  • 2 local teams—Worcester Bravehearts, baseball and Worcester Railers, hockey

List of 3 items.

  • Airports

    Driving Distance from Worcester:  1 hour
    Airlines:  American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, Swiss, United, Virgin America, and more including international airline carriers.  This is the airport used most by families coming to Worcester Academy. The airport is 1 hour directly east of Worcester, and there are convenient airport limousine services that shuttle travelers from Boston to Worcester.
    Worcester, MA
    Driving Distance from Worcester Academy:  15 minutes (~8 miles)
    Airline:  JetBlue flies direct to Orlando, FL and Fort Lauderdale, FL on a daily basis. Connecting flights are also available from those cities.
    Providence, RI
    Driving Distance from Worcester:  1 hour
    Airlines: Air Canada, Delta, Southwest, United, and others. This airport is becoming increasingly popular and is 1 hour southeast of Worcester. It is an easy trip by car and is also served by convenient limousine services.
    Driving Distance from Worcester: 1 hour, 20 minutes
    Airlines:  Air Canada, American, American Eagle, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, United, and more including international airline carriers. This airport is a little bit further than 1 hour away from Worcester, but it is generally an easy trip by car.
  • Transportation

    Union Station (MBTA Trains to and from Boston)
    Washington Square - Worcester, MA 01604
  • Hotels

    363 Plantation Street
    Worcester, MA 01605
    72 Grove Street
    Worcester, MA 01605
    35 Major Taylor Boulevard
    Worcester, MA 01608
    110 Summer Street
    Worcester, MA 01608

Let’s Eat! A Guide to Worcester’s Cultural Markets

Contact Us

81 Providence Street
Worcester, MA 01604
Phone: 508-754-5302
Fax: 508-752-2382