It’s not often that a venerated institution of learning decides to throw a yearlong party. Then again, it’s not often that a school celebrates its 350th anniversary. In 2012, Warwick Academy, the oldest school in Bermuda and one of the oldest continually operating schools in the Western Hemisphere, marked a truly historic milestone. Warwick Academy came from humble beginnings. Founded in 1662, it grew to a modest two-room building in 1663. Today, that building still stands as one section of the school’s library, and part of a campus that now boasts a student body of nearly 800. The academy has stayed true to its roots. Warwick’s name comes from the 17th-century Earl of Warwick, one of the shareholders of the Bermuda Trading Company, who donated the land and building for the original school. The school’s crest depicts two elements of unique historical relevance to England and Bermuda: The Bear and Ragged Staff represent the heraldic crest of the House of Warwick and are a reference to Warwick the Kingmaker, who helped Edward IV claim the throne; the shield captures the wreck of the Sea Venture, which brought the first settlers to the island. To commemorate its 350 years of service to the community, the academy is hosting a series of events and activities throughout the year. The school’s oldest alumnus — 92-year-old Jack Osborne — has been invited back to the island to take part in the festivities. Osborne’s mother was a teacher at Warwick who used to live in what is now principal Maggie McCorkell’s office. The Warwick Academy Alumni Association also sold personalised commemorative bricks that were placed on the steps and landing leading into the school. The cost of each brick? $350, of course.
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