Summer at Thornton Academy
Learning first. Fun second. Friends forever.
Discover new classes and make friends for life at the Summer at Thornton Academy program. Held on Thornton Academy's beautiful campus, the program features two blocks of classes in the mornings and two activities per day in the afternoons and evenings.
Summer at Thornton Academy is designed for both day and boarding students and features classes in arts, STEM, humanities, and English Language Learning, and more! All classes are taught by experienced Thornton Academy teachers.
Afternoon and evening activities encourage students to discover American culture, have fun, and explore topics from the morning classes. One day, we might visit an art museum. The next, we learn about lobstering as we go out in a lobster boat in Casco Bay.
Dates for 2022
Session 1: July 23 - August 5
Session 2: August 5 - 20
It was an absolute pleasure being a part of the summer camp this year! To witness the bonds form between these students through the shared experiences of the program was truly something special.
corey Jones, Summer at Thornton Academy teacher
- Class Descriptions
- Sample Daily Schedule
- Day Student Tuition
- Boarding Tuition
Listed below are classes from 2021. Finalized class offerings for 2022 will be posted by the end of January.
American Jazz Dance - session 1 & 2, block 1
American Jazz Dance is a popular, high-energy form of dance. Jazz is the style that you'll typically see on Broadway. In this class, you will learn technique that includes kicks, leaps, jumps, turns, and everything in between! The class will also practice jazz repertory including both classical and contemporary styles.
Artists of Maine - Session 2, Block 1
During this two week course students will explore the state of Maine and connect to artists that have been attracted to the beauty of this state. The course will begin in the studio by practicing techniques and understanding materials like watercolor and acrylic paints. Students will learn about a variety of Maine artists and create artwork inspired by the state of Maine. The second part of the course will include connected activities that inspire our studio work.
Cardboard Boat Building - Session 1 & 2, block 2
Join in on the Cardboard Boat Challenge by using skills in Science, Engineering, Art, and Math. Students will work in teams to design small scale boats that will then be created into life sized cardboard boats that will hold two students. Students will design and create a unique boat that will take the test to the water on the last day.
climate change: our effect on the planet, session 1, block 2
This course will provide an overview on how humans have impacted the rate of climate change on our planet. Through this course, students will get a historical overview of climate change throughout the history of the planet, how the rate of climate change has changed since the industrial revolution, and implications of climate change on major earth systems. Student’s will build research skills along with field and laboratory techniques to investigate the impacts of human caused climate change.
CURRENT ISSUES IN SOCIETY - session 1, block 2
Like to debate and argue with your friends? This course is for you! In Current Issues in Society, you will investigate the some of the most pressing issues facing American society today. You will educate yourself on the opposing viewpoints of these issues and then participate in an debate with your classroom. Possible topics may include animal testing, school uniforms, immigration, gun control, and more! Each day students will participate in a group learning experience, individual discovery, debate style discussion, and reflection.
English Language Learning - Written - Session 1 & 2, block 1
Designed for our international students, ELL-Written will focus on reading and writing in the English language. You will study English grammar, work on reading comprehension, and improve your writing skills. Texts will be authentic and chosen to meet your language level. Afternoon and evening activities will enhance your learning and provide real-world connections to what you learn in class!
English Language Learning - Oral - session 1 & 2, block 2
Designed for our international students, ELL-Oral will focus on spoken English. Feel comfortable writing and reading, but the idea of having a conversation scares you? This class will help you feel comfortable talking to others and increase your listening comprehension. Filled with games and fun activities, you won't believe how much you can improve!
famous mainers: past and present pioneers from the pine tree state - Session 2, block 1
In this class, students will be introduced to 10 prominent figures from the state of Maine, connecting past and present through an examination of their efforts in the arts, sciences, business and philanthropy. Each day will present a pair of individuals with some connection in their endeavors. We will look into the impact of these people, and the impetus for each of their goals. Additionally, we will take some time to look into some inventions that came from Vacationlanders (like the microwave oven!).
Film as Literature - Session 1, Block 2
While we are used to studying the formal and thematic elements of poetry, short fiction, and novels in school, we rarely have the chance to do the same with film, even though we live in an increasingly visually-oriented world of media and storytelling. In this course, students will learn the basics of how to consider film as the literary medium it is. While we will begin our study considering films through traditional lenses of literary study such as plot, character, and theme, we will swiftly move on to those aspects of storytelling specific to film. These include but are in no way limited to color, light, sound design, and editing.
Filmmaking 101 - Session 1, Block 1
We live in an increasingly video-centric society with clips shared across social media, and streaming services bursting with movies and television shows a ubiquitous part of the pop culture landscape. In this course, students will move through the fundamentals of filmmaking from the process of generating an idea all the way through screening their pieces for their classmates. During the weeks of the program, they will come up with an idea, write a screenplay, and then execute that idea in tandem with exercises meant to teach them how to use aspects of film such as color, light, and sound.
geography of the earth - Session 2, block 2
In this course students will travel the globe...in five days! We will learn about different landforms, bodies of water, and lost and changing environments. We will even take a look at some of Earth’s natural wonders, like Angel Falls in Venezuela and the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. This is a quick exploration of different regions across the seven continents and over the five oceans, from latitude to longitude, Antarctica to Zimbabwe. Current events will be woven into our regional discussions, such as Australia’s wild fires. What is the hottest place on Earth? Is Everest actually the highest mountain? Where is the most isolated inhabited island? We’ll answer these questions and find some new ones to ask!
Intro to acting - session 1 & 2, block 2
Are you looking to work on your self-confidence and stage presence? Looking to learn some basic theatrical techniques? Introduction to Acting might be the class for you! This performance-based class will focus on the basic elements of acting. By working on creating characters, improv, movement on stage, diction, and posture, attendees will learn some memorization tricks, tips for auditions, and how to deal with stage fright! Aside from learning these basic elements, we will also focus on team building and boosting performer confidence by way of daily warmups and acting games. Come and try something new!
Intro to Linguistics : session 2, block 1
This class will provide students with a basic knowledge of linguistics– the scientific study of language. We will look at how languages are structured, learned, and used by native and non-native speakers. We will focus on questions such as: What are the building blocks of a language? What makes languages different from each other, and how are all languages the same? How do babies learn language? How do people learn a second language? Can computers learn languages? What does language have to do with identity and how people relate to one another?
intro to musical theater - session 1 & 2, block 1
Do you like to sing, act, and have fun? This may be the course for you! Students will apply music reading and understanding of musical score to effectively perform narrative songs! We will explore American Musical Theater to find connections both musically and dramatically. Students will build the performance of a song through the story, characters, and the relationship between performers and the audience. Performance numbers will include contemporary and traditional musical theater repertory.
Maine Streets: History and Future of Southern Maine Communities - session 1, block 1
Maine Streets is a course designed to investigate the “main” streets of the communities in and around Saco, Maine. The purpose of the course is to let students learn about these communities – the history, the businesses, the activities, the people. The course consists of in-class and field-learning experiences. In class, students will participate in a presentation for each selected community (Saco, Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport). They will also complete an assignment entitled “Weekend Visit” - students will plan a visit to town for a weekend vacation for a family from “away”. Field experiences will focus on class “walking tours” of the “main” streets of each community we are learning about.
marine ecology - session 2, block 2
The Gulf of Maine is an exciting ecological region that is diverse and wondrous. Students will investigate ecological interactions along the intertidal zones of Maine to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the relationships between living and non-living features of this region. Upon completion of this course, students will have developed an understanding of how organisms adapts to their environment, food web dynamics, and how humans impact the ecological equilibrium of these systems.
Personality types & learning styles: finding your path: session 1, block 2
In this class, we will explore the different personality types according to the ‘16 Personalities Quiz,’ an online activity that can help identify strengths and needs for each type of person in several facets. We will examine how each individual interacts in social, work and school environments. From there, the students will take a personal ‘Learning Styles Inventory’ and discover not only the different ways humans learn, but what may be the best ways for each of them! The final part of the course will be looking through the many science, technology and arts classes offered at Thornton Academy, and to provide an opportunity to start some future course-planning. Engineering or marine biology? Movie making or robotics? Choir, guitar or painting?
Robotics: build a 3d car - session 1, block 1
During this course, students will learn how to program an Arduino micro-controller for a variety of projects. Students will also work with 3D printing and design software. At the end of the course, students will leave having utilized their new knowledge in the process of creating a 3D printed remote-controlled car! No prior experience needed.
SAT Prep - session 1 & 2, block 1
Learn tips and tricks to ace the SAT exam! This class will focus on both the English and Math sections of the test. Students will practice with actual test questions, work individually and in groups to perfect their test-taking skills. A good SAT score can be important for getting into a top university, let our experienced SAT tutors help you achieve your dreams.
Songwriting - session 1 & 2, block 2
What goes into writing a song? How do I write a good one, something that is meaningful to me? In this class, we will be activating, and synthesizing creative skills as we endeavor on this adventure of answering these questions. We will explore different approaches/sources of inspiration in writing a song, and apply these components to our own, personal, beautiful works of art!
Visual Art Exploration - Session 1, Block 1
During this two-week course, students will explore a variety of materials to develop their expression through art. Students will learn techniques that support an understanding of landscapes, still life, and portraits. We will discover how to use different materials by investigating the playful side of art.
7:00am - Wake up, shower, get ready for a great day!
7:30am - Breakfast in the dining commons.
8:00am - Block 1: click class descriptions to see all of our options.
10:00am - Block 2: click class descriptions to see all of our options.
12:00pm - Lunch in the dining commons.
2:00pm - Afternoon activity: Lobster boat cruise! Catch your own lobster and learn about these interesting animals.
4:00pm - Free time for shopping.
5:30pm - Dinner in the dining commons.
7:00pm - Evening activity: Mini-golf and ice cream. Compete with your friends and enjoy a delicious treat!
9:00pm - Dorm Hangout time - play games, call your family, relax.
10:30pm - Lights out - get lots of sleep for another busy day tomorrow!
Boarding tuition is $3,000 / session.
- Three meals on weekdays and two meals on weekends
- Boarding in our modern dormitories with two students per room
- Health insurance
- Activity fees for two activities each day
- Local transportation
- Airport transfer (select dates only)
- Class materials
What's not included?
- Flights to / from the United States
- Other incidental costs
andrew carlson, maine streets & current issues in society
Andrew Carlson began working at TA in the fall of 2000. He has been the coach of Thornton's boys soccer team since the fall of 2000 and the boys tennis team since the spring of 2001. Andrew grew up in southern Connecticut and is a 1990 graduate of Cheshire High School in Cheshire, CT. He is also a 1994 graduate of Colby College, BA Government; a 2001 graduate of the US Sports Academy, MA Sports Management; and a 2005 Graduate of University of Southern Maine, CAS Educational Leadership. Andrew is an avid runner who serves on Saco's Park and Recreation Advisory Board.
AdriAnne curtis, intro to linguistics
AdriAnne Curtis grew up in a suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina. She began taking German classes as a 9th grader and won a study trip to Germany at the end of her junior year. Frau Curtis continued her studies as a German major at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, graduating in 2008. Though she had originally planned to go on to medical school, she eventually found herself working as a German tutor for struggling students and fell in love with teaching. She earned her MA in Foreign Language Education from New York University in 2011 and began teaching at Thornton shortly thereafter.
When not teaching, Frau Curtis enjoys a wide variety of hobbies. She loves to drive and work on her 1970 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, a car that she restored herself over 12 years. She also enjoys knitting, repairing old furniture, drawing, and sewing. She lives in Sanford with her husband, young daughter, and cat.
katie dube, intro to acting & intro to musical theater
Katie Dube graduated from Thornton Academy in 2016. Aside from studying, she was involved with the TA Players, Chamber Singers, and Treble Choir. She recently graduated in May from The University of Maine. She received a B.S. in Secondary Education English and a minor in theatre. Over the past four years at UMaine, she has participated in nine theatrical productions. With this class, Katie hopes to instill a love of theatre, play, and imagination for everyone!
corey Jones, marine biology
Corey Jones received a BS degree in environmental science and certification in GIS technologies from the University of Southern Maine. Corey is also completing his MS in education through the University of Southern Maine. Corey has a variety of field work and laboratory experience in the fields of marine biology and environmental science, partnering with NOAA, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, Friends of Casco Bay, University of Tampa, University of Hawaii Manoa, & University of Southern Maine, Dept. of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. His research ranges from oceanographic data collection and analysis off the coast of Hawaii, spatial & temporal diets of rainbow smelt in the Penobscot River Estuary, water quality analysis, marine invertebrate zoology/ecology, and access to environmental education in the Casco Bay watershed.
Corey enjoys hiking, surfing, being on the coast, and camping in his free time. You can usually find his trusty companion, Charles Darwin (American Bulldog) by his side on his outdoor excursions.
justine lasdin, artists of maine, visual art exploration, cardboard boat building
Justine Lasdin is an artist and educator based in Portland, Maine. Her work focuses on landscapes that capture the viewer with color, line, and expressive marks. Her educational background extends from small group workshops for adults and children to her most recent endeavor, earning a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from Maine College of Art (MECA). Justine currently teaches 6th, 7th, and 8th graders at the Middle School of the Kennebunks. Justine has a passion for teaching creative practices, building techniques and skills, and harnessing an appreciation for art. She works to strengthen problem-solving and critical thinking skills by leveraging exploration through the arts. Justine creates a student-centered environment by understanding each individual and allowing student interest to influence lessons.
devin mcgrath-conwell, film as literature, filmmaking 101
Devin McGrath-Conwell is a Thornton Academy alumnus who went on to earn a B.A. in Film & Media Culture / English & American Literatures from Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT. Since graduation, he has worked in a variety of roles in creative and educational spheres, both at the collegiate and high school levels. Most recently, he was a member of the Humanities Faculty at St. George’s School, and currently works as a writer, editor, and podcast host for PortlandFilmReview.com. Devin has also been lucky enough to have his writing produced on film, both as a short film he also directed entitled Locally Sourced (2019), as well as a number of episodes in the ongoing web series Lambert Hall (2020-).
Emily murray, American jazz dance
Emily Murray graduated from Thornton Academy in 2019. She currently studies Elementary Education with a Dance Minor at The University of Maine in Orono. She danced with the Thornton Academy Dance Company from her sophomore year to her senior year of high school and was heavily involved in musical theater. She was the associate choreographer/dance captain for “Crazy for You” and student leader of TADC. Emily has assisted dance classes for years and began teaching her own classes at Brooks Dance Center in Waterboro last summer. Emily has been a counselor and choreographed for the Twin City Theater Academy summer camp for the past two summers and has volunteered as a counselor and dance assistant at TA Arts Camp for the past three years.
daniel picard, Robotics
Daniel Picard will be graduating with a degree in secondary education with a concentration in mathematics along with a minor in computer science and a certificate in teaching English language learners. Daniel has worked at Thornton Academy summer camps for the past five years and has been teaching technology classes to grades K-5 for the past three years.
Tony sequiera, geography of the earth, famous mainers, personality styles
Tony grew up in Maine, but left for the United States Marine Corps after high school. After spending several years stationed in Hawaii, and seeing a few other parts of the world, Tony returned home and attended the University of Southern Maine. He graduated with a Bachelor’s in History, and is pursuing a Master’s in Educational Psychology with a focus in behaviorism. Tony has been working with kids in several capacities since 2008. Initially Tony worked primarily serving families with children on the autism spectrum. He then worked as a one-to-one in Maine schools and ran a before and after school program in New York. In 2019 Tony joined the Thornton Academy faculty.
katie spagnolo, songwriting & intro to musical theater
Katie Spagnolo graduated from Thornton Academy in 2017. During her time there, she was an avid, and enthusiastic member of the TA arts department. Band, Chamber Singers, and the TA Players were the highlights of her time at TA. She currently studies Music Education at the University of Maine, and could not be more excited to return to her alma mater on the flip side of the classroom.
Students live in Thornton Academy’s modern dormitories in double placement. The dormitories have bathrooms, laundry, kitchen, and lounges for studying and socializing. Staying in the dorm is one of the most important and fun parts of the program. Hang out with your new friends and practice your conversational English.
Meals are held in the Atkinson Dining Commons. Three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) are served on weekdays while two meals (brunch and dinner) are served on weekends. Occasionally, we will eat off-campus with either a bagged lunch or at a restaurant during a longer excursion. The dining staff prepares delicious, healthy food for our students and staff. They can make adjustments for any dietary concerns, just let us know before you arrive on campus!
Summer at Thornton Academy is FUN! We do two activities per day: one in the afternoon, and one in the evening. Weekends mean no classes and trips off-campus that explore the beauty of Maine.
Afternoon activities include:
- Lobster boat cruise
- Soccer tournament
- Visits to universities
- Swimming at the beach
- Amusement parks and more!
Evening activities include:
- Bonfire & s’mores,
- Basketball tournament,
- Art projects,
- Trivia night,
- Watching the sunset at the beach and more!
- Trips to Boston to visits to MIT and Harvard,
- Hiking in beautiful state and national parks
- Taking a ferry boat to a remote ocean island
- Whitewater rafting and more!