"Da Vinci's environment was unique to every other institution I have attended.  The school's community is so close and tight-knit that I always felt supported by my peers and teachers to do well.  I could feel each teacher and faculty member put a true effort into investing in my education and personal development, which was a display of genuine caring that I have rarely felt anywhere else."

- Stephanie Klein, Class of 2005 (check out the latest with Stephanie here)

Because a Da Vinci education ends after eighth grade, an important question is what happens to our graduates in high school and beyond?  The short answer is that our alumni are well-prepared for any path they choose.  Their success and achievements in high school and college reflect the long-term value of the education and experience at Da Vinci.

Pictured above are four alumni from the Class of 2009 currently attending IMSA, as well as a group photo of the Class of 2010.

Update April 2012: Check out some terrific recent DVA alumni news:

  • Alex P. (Class of 2008) graduated from Lake Forest Academy and attends Brown University, studying mechanical engineering.  Alex participated in the Lego robotics program as a Da Vinci middle school student, and in high school he has coached robotics in the Chicago area. 
  • Lissa M. (Class of 2008) graduated as the salutatorian of Lake Zurich HS and attends the University of Miami (FL) after being named a Stamps Scholar, the school's most prestigious merit award that includes four years of full tuition, fees, books, room & board, and a $12,000 stipend.  Lissa plans to double major in biology and Spanish.  You can see Lissa talk about her DVA experience toward the end of our school video.
  • James B. (Class of 2008), graduated from Geneva High School and attends Princeton University. James won the 18-22 year old age category in the Union League Jazz Improvisation Competition in Chicago.  Here is an article about James from the Kane County Chronicle.
  • Jake M. graduated this spring from IMSA and is studying engineering at the University of Illinois - Chicago
  • Sarah Beth R. (Class of 2007) made the Dean's List at William & Mary, the nations's second oldest college and a cutting-edge research institution.
  • Sabrina R. (Class of 2010) has already accepted a softball scholarship to Northwestern University...and she doesn't even graduate from high school until 2014!
  • Edward M. (Class of 2007) has been studying Russian, linguistics, international relations, and Latin at Carleton College in Minnesota.  He is involved in music, several student clubs, and has working on a fantasy novel.
  • Alex S. (Class of 2007) is majoring in international business at Illinois State University and plans to spend his junior year studying in Germany.
  • Stephanie Klein (Class of 2005) was awarded a fellowship from the American Society of Plant Biologists to fund her undergraduate research this summer at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)
  • Anne D. (Class of 2004) is a junior at Northern Illinois University majoring in art illustration with a concentration in Medieval Studies

What does a Da Vinci graduate look like?

  • Academically well-prepared in the core subject areas
  • Has read high school level literature and text books
  • Often tests into higher levels as a first-year student, especially in math and Spanish
  • Is accustomed to high writing standards
  • Knows how to research and organize long-term assignments
  • Has good study habits, time management, and organization skills
  • Is experienced with public speaking , presenting, and actively participating in classroom discussions
  • Is accustomed to participating in a variety of activities at Da Vinci, which helps in finding social groups in high school

Where do Da Vinci Alumni attend high school?

High schools attended by Da Vinci alumni from the most recent Classes of 2009, 2010, and 2011: Aurora Christian, Bartlett HS, Batavia HS, Burlington Central, Elgin Academy, Geneva HS, Glenbard North, The Hotchkiss School, Illinois Math & Science Academy, Larkin HS, St. Charles East, St. Charles North, St. Francis, Sycamore HS, Wheaton Academy.

As a relatively young school with intentionally small classes (16 maximum), Da Vinci Academy has graduated 81 students since its founding in 2000.  The graduating classes during the school's first several years were quite small as the school was growing, but the last five graduating classes (2007-2011) have averaged 11 students, including 14 in the Class of 2009.  The current eighth grade Class of 2012 has 15 students, which will push our alumni total to almost 100.  With larger recent graduating classes, we will gather more stories of our graduates' success to share with current and prospective families to show the long-term value of a Da Vinci education.

Da Vinci graduates attend a variety of high school programs, but they are well-prepared academically for any environment.  Many alumni attend public high schools in towns such as St. Charles, Geneva, and Elgin.  While there is a social adjustment going from Da Vinci to a large public high school, our graduates have made the transition smoothly.  Many are excited to embrace the larger social and extra curricular opportunities in public high school, while maintaining a high academic level through honors classes, AP classes, or testing into higher levels as first-year students.

A good number of Da Vinci graduates have remained in independent or private schools for high school.  Over the last several years, our graduates have attended schools such as Elgin Academy, Marmion Academy, Lake Forest Academy, Rosary High School, St. Edward, St. Francis, and Wheaton Academy.  Three have attended college prep boarding school at Culver Academy in Indiana, Taft in Connecticut, and Hotckhiss in Connecticut.

The other high school option for some of our graduates is the Illinois Math & Science Academy in Aurora.  IMSA is a state boarding school for grades 10-12 with a highly selective admission process.  While earning admission to IMSA is difficult, Da Vinci alumni have a record of success.  Two Da Vinci alumni, one from the Class of 2004 and one from the Class of 2005, graduated from IMSA and are now in college.  There are six Da Vinci alumni currently attending IMSA: one from the Class of 2008, four from the Class of 2009, and one from the Class of 2010.

Where have Da Vinci Alumni attended college?

Over half of our alumni are currently in high school, but here are some of the colleges that Da Vinci graduates have attended, are currently attending, or will be entering in the fall of 2012:

  • Columbia University
  • Princeton University
  • Brown University
  • Harvey Mudd College (IMSA graduate)
  • Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan (IMSA graduate)
  • Wellesley College
  • College of William & Mary
  • Carleton College
  • University of Miami, FL
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Illinois - Chicago
  • Illinois State University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Bradley University
  • University of Massachusetts
  • Grand Valley State University

Staying Connected with our Alumni

Da Vinci Academy remains connected with alumni and their families.  Each year we host an alumni lunch that is well attended by graduates from all eras of the school's history.  Many alumni return to campus for special events such as the Fall Festival, and some just stop by on their own to visit the teachers.  Da Vinci also has a wonderful tradition of inviting alumni to speak at the graduation ceremony each year.

The school surveys its alumni after their freshman year of high school to gather feedback on how prepared they were coming from Da Vinci.  Our recent alumni report that they are extremely well-prepared for high school, as shown by their success and achievement in high school and matriculation to some of the best colleges and universities in the country.

Value of a Da Vinci Education

Courtney is doing amazingly well at Taft. I credit everyone at Da Vinci with helping her. She was well prepared as she entered one of the most challenging high school institutions in the country.

- Alumni Parent

Value of a Da Vinci Education

Thank you to the fine teachers at Da Vinci for molding P.J. into who he is today. He is doing fantastic in high school and is just one of your many success stories.

- Alumni Parent