Cutting-Edge Curriculum. Competitive-Edge Results.

In the Upper School, the benefits of CFA’s unique teacher-student relationships reveal themselves in students capable of independent learning and exceptional achievement. Advanced academics include Honors and Advanced Placement courses.

  • 80% of graduates are accepted to their first choice college.
  • On average, seniors take 3 AP courses and garnered numerous National AP Scholar distinctions.
  • 95% of students in grades 10-12 take at least one AP course prior to graduation.
  • Over 92% score a 3, 4, or 5 on the national AP exams (NC average = 56%).

In addition to honing scholastic skills and credentials, arts, athletics, and extracurricular activities allow Upper School students to explore individual interests and develop unique talents. On our university-like campus,

  • 80% of students will join at least one of our athletic teams.
  • 90% will play an instrument, sing, or act on stage with their schoolmates.
  • All students have the advantage of flex scheduling 2 days per week, allowing additional help sessions, club meetings, project-based work, and peer collaboration.

Students benefit from a caring campus community that produces confident, accomplished scholars equipped and ready to succeed in any endeavors they pursue. Central to that experience is our exceptional college planning program.


Student Life

The Student Government Association (SGA) of Cape Fear Academy is the student organization that serves the Upper School student population by advocating student concerns to faculty and administration, coordinating social events, and facilitating new and existing clubs and organizations. The SGA relies heavily upon energetic and invested student representatives who are elected annually from the student body. The elected representatives can serve on the Executive Board, as class officers, our as House captains or vice captains.

Class Cup is a friendly competition between Upper School  classes that allows students from each grade to compete against one another in a variety of intellectual and athletic contests. Contests from previous years include: Flag Football, Trivia, March Madness and Poker tournaments. Points are also earned by classes whose members excel in service to the community and involvement in school and beyond. The winning class is one that earns the most points in a given school year, claiming the title “Class Cup Winner,” and of course, bragging rights.

Green Club
Beach clean-ups, growing food in the CFA Greenhouse, sponsoring environmentally-themed documentaries, participating in eco-friendly community volunteering, and promoting recycling initiatives are just a few of the experiences had with the CFA Green Club. We are also working toward competing in this year’s North Carolina Envirothon competition.
Diversity Club
The CFA Diversity Club seeks to generate awareness and promote acceptance of different ways of life and – through doing so – create a greater sense of unity within our student body, our local community, and our global society. Among other things, The Diversity Club looks to celebrate and sponsor the following events during the school year: Latino Festival, Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade, and the National Day of Silence.
Book and Vinyl Club
Meet a few times in the year to discuss a common book and enjoy music played on old-fashioned vinyl.
Math Team
Compete in regional competitions at various levels and national written contests.
International Experience
28 Students traveled to Germany, France, Italy and Austria this summer. We have taken groups to Japan, Australia, New Zealand and China in the past.

  • Fall Festival
  • Holly Ball
  • Spirit Week
  • Homecoming Parade and Pep Rally
  • Jr./Sr. Prom
  • Salute to Seniors

The Hurricane newspaper is produced quarterly by a staff of Upper School students.  Led by Publications teacher, Mrs. Jan Reid, this group has won numerous recognitions at the NC Scholastic Media Awards.

High Tide, the literary magazine produced by Upper School students, features original works of prose, poetry, and art crafted by Upper School students. CFA faculty members Emily Fancy and Maureen Vanscoy serve as the advisors for this publication.

Curriculum & Highlights

College Counseling

This foundation is key to stellar college acceptance and performance. 100% of our graduates go to college; 80% are accepted at their school of first choice including our nation’s most competitive schools. They graduate high school with the social, emotional and academic skills to succeed… in college, and life.
And they do succeed. Our students graduate college in four years at nearly three times the national average, with grade point averages significantly above their peers.
The success of our students both at CFA and beyond comes from deliberate planning, compassionate guidance, and deep relationships that begin early.
By embracing the whole child throughout their academic careers, we turn students into adults who are ready to realize their full potential.

Signature Programs

Speaking For Success

There’s a presenter in all of us. Our Speaking For Success program has been carefully developed to bring every student’s inner orator out.
We believe that when a student speaks often, they gain a lot. That’s why the opportunities to become a confident and inspiring presenter are embedded into our academic, social, and extracurricular programs from the very beginning of a student’s career.
From presenting a color study as a Little Explorer to giving a Ted Talk as a senior, Speaking For Success allows students to master the art of public speaking one support-filled experience at a time, gaining powerful skills that will benefit them throughout their college, professional, and personal lives.

2020-2021 Course Booklet

Please note:  some of these course offerings could change from year to year.

College­ Prep, Honors, and Advanced Placement courses allow students to choose the level of challenge they seek in a particular discipline. While all Upper School courses emphasize critical thinking as well as oral and written communication, AP and Honors courses push students to an even greater level of achievement through college ­level coursework. Our consistently outstanding AP test scores are one of the many important outcomes of our mission of discovering and developing academic potential in each student.

The purpose of the Center for Writing and Reasoning is to support students in grades 6-12 in areas of writing, reading, and critical thinking across the curriculum. The Center also serves to elevate and highlight writing/reading opportunities outside of the classroom by sponsoring contests, special speakers, and more.

The Center for Writing and Reasoning (CWR) primarily offers one on one support to middle and upper school students on writing they are working on in or out of the classroom. A teacher is available for 25 minute or longer sessions to provide feedback guided by the writer’s questions on the piece. The CWR is also available to work with students on building reading and thinking skills in all areas of their study. Students (or teachers) primarily schedule appointments during a student’s free period or during select after school or before school sessions. The CWR also supports teachers across the curriculum by coming into the classroom to provide whole class, small group, or individualized instruction on any topic related to writing or reading.

At CFA, we recognize the importance of preparing our students for a dynamic, complex, and rapidly changing world. Our curriculum offers a number of opportunities for students to analyze global issues, explore perspectives that differ from their own, and consider what elements shape their worldview. Small, student­-centered global education classes demand thorough research, encourage thoughtful debate, and ultimately produce in our students a deep understanding of the world.

All Upper School students are required to successfully complete a minimum of 9 hours of service per semester.  Students can complete these hours independently as well as within their Advisory. At CFA, we believe that service not only makes a difference in the lives of others, but it also allows our students to solve problems, teaches our students to empathize, and strengthens our community.  From beach sweeps and soup kitchens to nonprofit races and the Special Olympics, our students are active in the Greater Wilmington area and happy to help.

The Upper School Summer Internship Program provides an opportunity for outstanding CFA students to learn, explore, and prepare them for their future through diverse intern career opportunities within an authentic work environment. Students get involved not only with CFA companies, but also with the Wilmington community as a whole. The students progress through stages of an application process, interview with the employer, and finally can be awarded an intern position for the summer.