Uniquely Athenian

The Athenian Wilderness Experience

"AWE cemented the notion that one must try something before deciding one can't. I never would have done anything like that had I not been at Athenian. This is a fundamental part of how I live now." -Sarah Raymond '91

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  • The Ultimate Adventure

    At The Athenian School, we are committed to developing resilience and empathy in our students. These attitudes and skills are critical for their success in life. One of the opportunities you will have as an Athenian to develop these attributes is on the Athenian Wilderness Experience (AWE). You and a small group of your classmates will explore the beauty and enchantment of either the High Sierra mountains or the Death Valley desert during your junior year.  Learning how to collaborate, problem-solve, empathize, and believe in yourself and others, you will work together to navigate off-trail terrain, cook group meals, rock climb, and set up camp, we hope you will come to appreciate the freedom from technology, routine, homework, and other responsibilities afforded by this experience.

    AWE is coordinated by Phoebe Dameron and Jason Ham, AWE Co-Directors.
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Interim embodies the core elements of Athenian's philosophy of experiential education: shared inquiry and exploration through hands-on activities by faculty and students together. Interim activities are devised by faculty, allowing them to share one of their passions, explore one of Athenian's Pillars, or delve into student-driven projects.

Recent Interim Experiences

Green Gulch Meditation Center in Marin
Circus and Trapeze Arts
Industrial Arts at The Crucible
Women's Self-Defense
Discovering New Orleans' Music Scene
Shakespeare in Ashland
Kitchen Chemistry
International trips to Belize, Puerto Rico, Ireland, South Africa, China

Engineering & Design

Engineering and Design is a new department at Athenian based on the idea that creating and making are important skills. You will have the opportunity to work in Athenian's Maker Studio in a variety of your classes in the fine arts, sciences, and occasionally humanities.

Additionally, the Maker Studio is host to Athenian's Airplane Project, robotics, the electric car project, 3D printers, a computer-controlled router, a laser cutter, and an array of tools, electronics, and other making equipment.

Some of the core classes that are offered through this department include Project-Based Introduction to Computer Programming, the Art & Science of Making class, CAD Programming, and Applied Science.

Engineering & Design Electives

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  • "Spirit of Athenian" Airplane Project

    Around 55 students a year participate in the airplane project, assembling a fully functional, FAA approved two-seat plane by hand. From riveting the wings to installing the engine, Athenian students have successfully completed two Piper Cub planes. The Spirit of Athenian III is expected to be completed in the next couple of years.
    The newest airplane project began in August 2012 and is a Van's Aircraft RV-12.
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  • Athenian Robotics Collective (ARC)

    ARC was founded when students wanted to bring a FIRST robotics team to Athenian in the early '00s. The club has recently been focusing on giving back, doing outreach with younger students to inspire them to love engineering.
  • Electric Car Project

    Students have been working for several years to convert a gas-powered car to an electric vehicle that can be recharged by energy collected from our own solar array. 
  • FIRST Robotics

    Upper School students work together to design, program, and build a new robot annually for the FIRST Robotics Competition. By joining the robotics program, you will be mentored by professional engineers, build and complete a robot of your own design, learn sophisticated hardware and software, and see a complicated engineering project from conception through completion.
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Entrepreneurs are people who drive economic and social change. They have brought us innovations like the iPhone and Google. They entertain us with apps such as Instagram and Snapchat. Social entrepreneurs like Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes, are changing the world using business principles to solve social problems. Entrepreneurs are independent thinkers and creative problem solvers. Do you see a problem you want to solve? Do you have an idea for a cool new product? Now you have a chance learn about entrepreneurship by creating your own venture.

Started by current parent and Trustee Laura Victorino, the entrepreneurship program has grown to include an introductory course, a continuing course, and an independent study. Working individually or in a small team, you can build your entrepreneurial skills by developing and launching your own product or service.  There is also an Entrepreneurship Club for enthusiasts who do not have the time for the classes.

Students in these classes have worked on a luggage tracking device, a fantasy sports app, a camera mount for scuba divers, an app to connect volunteers, an online business school, a tutoring service, an internship placement service and a film/speaker series.

Diamond Challenge
The Athenian School, an official partner of the University of Delaware, hosts the Northern California Pitch competitions of The Diamond Challenge.
Entrepreneurship 1: Introduction to Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship 2: Developing New Ventures
Entrepreneurship Independent Study: Capstone Projects

Student Projects and Presentations