Woodberry Forest School was founded on land that originally belonged to General William Madison, brother of President James Madison, near Orange, Virginia. In 1889 Civil War veteran Captain Robert S. Walker brought a tutor to the farm to educate his sons. Soon boys from neighboring farms joined the six Walker boys in the classroom, and a school was born. Over the years the campus and curriculum have changed with the times, but the school's mission has remained constant: Woodberry Forest is an exceptional boarding school community for boys in grades nine through twelve.
The purpose of the school is to develop in its students, under Christian principles, a high sense of honor and moral integrity, a deep respect for sound scholarship, a full acceptance of responsibility, a love of excellence, and a will toward personal sacrifice in service to others. It is likewise its mission, based on these ideals, to develop its students into leaders, to train its students toward a useful contribution to the democratic society in which they live, and to give them thorough preparation for the best colleges and universities consistent with their individual potentials.
The abiding concern of Woodberry Forest School is the personal growth of its students. To this end, the school attempts to provide a broad experience with balanced emphasis on the academic, artistic, physical, and spiritual development of its students. In so doing, the school believes that well-conceived challenges, together with support and encouragement, will instill self-confidence and a striving for continuing excellence throughout life. Woodberry Forest is committed to helping students become individuals whose sense of values and capacity to reason effectively will allow them to deal with important intellectual, ethical, and social problems and to lead rewarding private lives. In keeping with this objective, the faculty is more concerned with teaching students how to think than what to think.
As a community, the school fosters an atmosphere of civility and cooperation, urging its members to treat one another with the respect and consideration they hope to receive in return. The underpinning of that effort is the honor system, which is not so much a rigid code as it is a way of life that is fundamental to the decency of the Woodberry Forest community. The school seeks to maintain a secure and healthy environment for its students to go about the process of growing and learning, in the hope that every student will come to think of Woodberry Forest as a second home.