“A perfect fit from the very beginning” — that’s what Marina Jòkanović felt when she first joined Thornton Academy.
Born and raised in Serbia, Jòkanović wanted to pursue her final year of high school education in the US. Her parents agreed, saying it was an excellent idea. She contacted multiple foreign school agencies before finally deciding on Thornton Academy.
From Jòkanović’s first week at Thornton Academy, she was already having a marvellous time. “I was extremely excited to meet new people and experience a different educational system,” enthuses Jòkanović. “My first week at school was full of interesting classes and new friends from all over the world.”
Thornton Academy is a private, co-educational day and boarding school for grades 6 to 12 in Saco, Maine — the safest state in the country, according to the US News and World Report. It’s a centre of inspiration, innovation, and community, where students like Jòkanović can be who they are and become who they want to be. Each day here is filled with inspiration as students pursue a broad academic programme, top-level athletics, and excellent arts opportunities.
Dynamic, engaging days
Jòkanović wakes up at 6:45 a.m. every day and gets to school in an hour. “I take a short walk from the dorms to the cafeteria where I meet with my friends and have breakfast until the beginning of class at 8:35,” says Jòkanović.
Jòkanović has four classes a day. Her favourite class is Human Geography, as it combines history and geography, connecting us to our everyday lives. Once her classes are done, she spends most of her time at the school’s arts wing. It is, as she puts it, “the highlight of my day.”
Thornton Academy’s Visual and Performing Arts department showcases over 35 performances each year, allowing students to hone their skills and craftsmanship, and translate ideas into beautifully executed work. Students stretch themselves with Visual Art, Dance, Music, and Theatre courses.
“There’s usually something happening in the arts wing — a rehearsal or perhaps an audition,” says Jòkanović. “I have been part of the Thornton Academy plays. I cannot choose between ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ since both have been unforgettable experiences that forged lifelong friendships and gathered a diverse group of people who love theatre.”
Jòkanović would usually spend a few hours in the arts wing before finally heading to the cafeteria at 5:30 p.m. for dinner and then returning to the dorm for some reading.
During the weekends, she would make plans with her friends to visit somebody’s house, watch movies or take an unexpected field trip. After all, Thornton Academy is in a strategic location, just five minutes away from the beach, 15 minutes away from Portland and an hour and a half from Boston.
“I love Maine! It’s truly been a pleasure living in such a relaxing and peaceful corner of the world,” shares Jòkanović. “I’m lucky to have met people who are willing to show me the true beauty of this state — from famous historical sites to random beaches found on Google Maps.”
For Jòkanović, the weekend is all about having fun and getting as much rest as possible. “All in all, the weekends are incredibly fun and relaxing. I get back to the dorms right on curfew at 10:30 since I have a hard time separating from my friends.”
A great boarding school for all
At Thornton Academy, you can be who you are and become who you want to be. The school was voted the Best Private School in Maine in 2020 and 2021, ranked in the top 2% in the US for high school athletics and was voted among the top five boarding schools in North America.
That’s not all. The school is also an Apple Distinguished School. Its integrative approach to technology through a one-to-one technology device initiative, dedication to staff training, and commitment to technology access are all reasons for the recognition.
Jòkanović knows that the school has prepared her for her next stage in life, and she has landed a placement at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.
“I plan on pursuing a career on Broadway or in Hollywood, and I believe that the experience I gained through being a part of the Thornton Academy Players will benefit me,” she shares. “Not only have I improved my artistic abilities, but I’ve also learned some important communication and cooperation skills.”
Former student Jingqi “Owen” Tu from Beijing, China, can confirm this. He is currently studying Physics at the University of Rochester after four years at Thornton Academy.
“Thornton Academy is so much more than a school. Yes, the classes are challenging, the course offerings are varied, and the teachers supported my learning in so many ways, but it is what’s outside the classroom that truly makes Thornton Academy so special,” enthuses Tu.
“I know that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it hadn’t been for all of the different experiences I could have at this amazing school.”