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Hawthorne Academy plans to host first academic class this fall 

  • Hawthorne Academy (Abby Kessler/ Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Hawthorne Academy (Abby Kessler/ Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Hawthorne Academy (Abby Kessler/ Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Hawthorne Academy (Abby Kessler/ Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Hawthorne Academy (Abby Kessler/ Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
TIMELINE1962: Nathaniel Hawthorne College established as a liberal arts college.1988: Nathaniel Hawthorne College closes its doors.2008: Maharishi meditation center opens on campus. 2013: Overseas United Education purchases the property with intention of

Standing along a road that cuts through the center of a defunct college campus a few miles from Antrim’s main street on Friday afternoon, Trevor Courtney said he can envision what the property will look like in five years’ time.

And it’s a lot different than what’s currently there.

“I really see it being like a Phillips Exeter,” said Courtney, who was recently hired as a headmaster for a not-yet-running private high school called Hawthorne Academy, located on Old North Branch Road.

For an outsider, that vision may look a bit further off.

Driving up to the campus, the road’s main entrance is rutted, and the exterior of the buildings need cosmetic work. Inside, many of the dormitories still need a deep clean, the classrooms are completely empty, and the gym floor needs to be replaced. Many of the school’s webpages say “Coming soon,” the phone number is out of service, teachers need to be hired, and an entire class of students recruited.

Jane Levesque, a program specialist with the state’s Department of Education, said Hawthorne Academy is still in the process of obtaining its certification. She said there is no real timeframe on how long that process should take because it varies on a case-by-case basis.

Despite a laundry list of items that need to be complete, Courtney — who left a principal position at Mascenic Regional High School in 2013 because he wanted to spend more time with his son but decided he needed to return to the workforce for financial reasons — said the school is aiming to host its first academic class this coming fall.

“We have so many balls up in the air right now,” Courtney said of the work being poured into making this vision a reality in a limited amount of time.

He proceeded to list off a dizzying number of tasks that need to be completed, which includes everything from printing Hawthorne Academy T-shirts, to sending off mass mailings, to ironing out contracting work on the school’s buildings.

Originally called Nathaniel Hawthorne College, the campus was established as a liberal arts college in 1962 and later expanded into an institution that offered business, aviation, and computer science career tracks until it closed in 1988. The campus has passed through several owners since then, most recently serving as a Maharishi meditation school.

Three years ago, a non-profit organization called Overseas United Education, bought the property for about $1.5 million. The investors include a number of individuals of Chinese descent.

“We compared this to a lot of other schools, which didn’t have 400 acres of land, which doesn’t offer this beautiful location within Antrim,” said Qi Men, who said she is one of the school’s investors.

Men said the campus is appealing because of its close proximity to nature, which she hopes will play an integral role in extracurricular activities. Men said the school is also within range of Boston, where many elite higher-education institutions are located, places she thinks Hawthorne graduates will attend in the future.

Courtney said they are currently in the process of cleaning and fixing up a 100-room dormitory. Another dormitory on campus can hold 200 students, although the rooms likely won’t be used for awhile. He said the current classroom capacity ranges from 60 to 100 students.

Right now, he said, they are focusing on recruiting local students entering ninth grade.

No student applications have been submitted to date, but Courtney said a big push will take place in the coming weeks. They said they have put up fliers in highly public areas, and are planning to sent out pamphlets to local families in the near future. Both day and boarding options will be available to students, the price ranging from $11,000 to $21,000 respectively.

Courtney said in the future the school plans to recruit students from abroad, especially in Asia.

“We want to cater to everyone,” he said of the school’s vision. “We don’t just want to be seen as a Chinese or Japanese or Korean school. We want to be seen as an international school for any student nationally, locally, or internationally.”

He said he thinks that can happen, and that the school can become a top-tiered boarding school. All they need are students.

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ledgertranscript.com.