The Ethel Walker School is a girls' college preparatory school for girls in grades 6 through 12 in Simsbury, Connecticut. Walker's combination of superior academics in small classes, expansive extracurricular choices in athletics, the arts and equestrian programs, allows girls to emerge as true leaders and citizens of the world.
Founded in 1911, the school was one of the first college preparatory
schools for girls
in the United States
. As of 2007, 269 students (98 boarders and 169 day students) attend Walker's, grades 6 to 12. The school
sits on ; an additional of school land has been preserved as The Ethel Walker Woods. The area is surrounded by forest
The Ethel Walker School was originally located in Lakewood, New Jersey before being moved in 1917 to its present location on the former Dodge Estate in Simsbury Connecticut. The school's founder, Ethel Walker, was interested in creating the first girls college preparatory school, instead of a "finishing" school.
The school claims that the students find a caring environment designed for girls and filled with opportunities for discovering and developing their intellectual, artistic, athletic and leadership talents.
Academics are rigorous and wide-ranging at Walker's, as the school is commonly known, with small class sizes and many Advanced Placement programs. The curriculum is diverse and allows room for innovation by faculty. Many classrooms are set up in a style to encourage conversation and communication. The Ethel Walker School's symbol is the sundial, although for athletics Wally the Wildcat has been adopted as a mascot. The school's motto is Nullas Horas Nisi Aureas
which translates to "None But Golden Hours".
The arts are an integral part of the curricular and co-curricular content at the school, with wide ranging choices ranging from oil painting and drawing to pottery and sculpture, to digital photography. Theatre, music and dance options are extensive. The performing arts offer many outlets as well and groups perform regularly both on and off campus.
Athletics at the school are becoming ever more competitive with the naming of well-known former Division I athlete Dee Stephan as Athletic Director in 2007. The Varsity Soccer and Field Hockey teams were named division champions in Fall 2007, and many of the other teams including volleyball have won multiple championships as well. The school's athletic fields are extensive and extremely well maintained. Athletic offerings include multiple levels of lacrosse, volleyball, field hockey, soccer, basketball, softball, golf, tennis and skiing.
Ethel Walker is also recognized for its world class Equestrian program with students competing at both Regional and National levels. The Equestrian program has been an integral part of the school since its founding. The school's grounds include miles of horse trails, a full cross country course, a large outdoor arena, indoor arena, spacious turnout, and large barn. Ground has been broken, with construction underway, for an addition to the existing barn, including another indoor arena. The school has gained a reputation in the equestrian world as having the foremost equestrian program among preparatory schools. Recently, with the addition of Linda Kossick Langmeier as head trainer, the program has produced many hopefuls for year-end Equitation Finals.
- Stephanie Battle, 2002 Distinguished Black Woman Award, Who's Who in America, president of Wesley, Brown & Battle Company
- Ruth Streeter Brimelow, Producer, CBS News
- Frances Beinecke Elston, Deputey-Executive Director for National Resources Defence Council, Environmentalist
- Frances Haffner Colburn, Philanthropist, Chair of Museum of Fine Arts Campaign
- Pamela Constable, Correspondent, The Washington Post
- Lorinda Payson de Roulet, President, The Patrina Foundation
- Juanin Clay, Actress
- Alexis Swanson Farrer, Vintner
- Mimi Gardner Gates, Director, Seattle Art Museum
- Vera Gibbons, Staff Writer, Smart Money, contributor to CNN, GMA, MSNBC and more
- Sigourney Weaver, Actress
- Cornelia Biddle Robertson, Author, "My Philadelphia Father"
- Cornelia Otis Skinner, Actor and Author of "Our Hearts Were Young and Gay"
- Carol O' Brien Sobieski, Hollywood Screenwriter: "Annie," "Casey's Shadow," "The Bourne Identity," and more.
- Nancy Van Voorhees Barrett, International Track Competitor
- Maud Cabot Morgan, Artist
- Harriett Parker, one of first ten women sworn into office in the US Naval Reserve; Lieutenant Commander
- Abra Prentice Wilkin, Philanthropist
- Jane Parrish Seymour, Artist
- Susan Morse Hilles, Philanthropist, first woman trustee of Boston Athenaeum