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The Holderness School
Holderness School
TypePrivate high school
MottoLatin: Pro Deo et Genere Humano
Religious affiliation(s)Episcopal
Head of SchoolJohn McVeigh
Grades9-12, PG
Number of students301 (2021)
MascotBlue Bull

The Holderness School is a private, coeducational college-preparatory school in Holderness,[1] near Plymouth, New Hampshire in the United States. The student body of 300 is drawn from 22 U.S. states and 14 foreign countries. While Holderness operates primarily as a boarding school, it also enrolls 25 day students. John McVeigh is currently Holderness School's 10th Head of School (headmaster).[2] McVeigh's predecessor was R. Phillip Peck, M.Ed. In the summer the campus is used as a site for various Gordon Research Conferences.


The town of Holderness had a unique background historically. Granted in 1765 to John Wentworth, and 67 other Episcopalians, Holderness was "a company of English immigrants ardently devoted to the creed and worship of the Church of England, and with glowing anticipation for the future of the colony".[3]

Founded in 1879, still under the auspices of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, the school retains some links with the denomination, but now conducts ecumenical chapel services and welcomes applicants of all faiths.

The school has an exceptional sports program. Competitive with the highest rated college preparatory schools, a few of the school's headmasters had attended boarding schools, and ivy league colleges. Don Hagerman, who was appointed in 1951, had been on the faculty of Deerfield Academy, and served as a headmaster at Tabor Academy, now a highly rated boarding school in Marion, Massachusetts. Hagerman graduated from Dartmouth in 1935.[4]

As a private institution, the contemporary school has attempted to maintain small class sizes, offer a broad variety of subjects and give students the opportunity to experience New Hampshire’s lakes and mountains.[5]


The school is on high ground on the east side of the Pemigewasset River in Holderness overlooking the town of Plymouth, population about 6,000, and home of Plymouth State University and Speare Memorial Hospital. Holderness is about 110 miles (180 km) north of Boston. Access to Interstate 93 is within sight of the campus.[6]

Weld Dining Hall
Holderness School Chapel
Holderness School campus


Holderness School's 600 acres (2.4 km2) of land contains academic buildings, an outdoor covered ice rink, eight playing fields, 10 tennis courts, and 10 kilometers of cross-country trails. In the past few years, the school has built a new library and health center, a new dining hall, two state of the art residential facilities, and a brand new, modern Math and Science center. The school has plans for greater improvements to the rink, an updated Athletics Center, and a student life facility centering on the school's historic chapel.

Special programs

The freshman class participates in Project Outreach, a community service project. Artward Bound offers sophomores a 10-day program of intensive study with professional artists in disciplines such as glass-blowing, blacksmithing, African dance, and stand-up comedy. The "Out Back" program is a cornerstone of life at Holderness. In Out Back, juniors trek in the woods for 11 days in a winter expedition all while, keeping a personal journal, learning and living together and experiencing a three days solo. Seniors complete a Senior Thesis which is a year-long experiential learning project culminating in a presentation and project.[7]

Notable alumni

Jed Hoyer

See also: Category:Holderness School alumni


  1. ^ "Holderness, New Hampshire". Archived from the original on 2012-10-27. Retrieved 2015-06-04.
  2. ^ "School Leadership - Holderness School". Retrieved 2022-10-19.
  3. ^ Stacy, Myrtle, R., "Holderness was Planned to Rival Boston, Mass", Journal Tribune, Biddeford, Maine, pg. 14, 22 June 1961
  4. ^ "Good Shepherd Loyalty Dinner", Nashua Telegraph, Nashua, New Hampshire, pg. 3, 22 October 1956
  5. ^ "School Leadership - Holderness School, School Curriculum". Retrieved 2022-10-19.
  6. ^ "School Leadership - Holderness School, School Curriculum". Retrieved 2022-10-19.
  7. ^ "Holderness School ~ Homepage". 2015-04-06. Retrieved 2015-06-04.
  8. ^ "Holderness School ~ Bro Adams '65 Nominated to Lead National Endowment for the Humanities". 2015-04-06. Retrieved 2015-06-04.
  9. ^ "Holderness School ~ Julia Ford '08 named to the U.S. Alpine Olympic Team". 2015-04-06. Retrieved 2015-06-04.
  10. ^[self-published source]
  11. ^ "Palmer and Miss Boydstun Take Titles in National Skiing Championships (Published 1970)". The New York Times. 15 March 1970. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  12. ^ "Profile - Taft School". Retrieved 2021-05-24.

43°45′32″N 71°40′28″W / 43.75889°N 71.67444°W / 43.75889; -71.67444