Lincoln Academy’s dorms may be relatively new, but the precedent for students to live in town for the week and travel home on the weekends is as old as the school itself. Some may remember when many of the homes around Newcastle and Damariscotta also housed students who attended school at LA during the week. On Fridays, they would travel to their family homes and farms in Jefferson, Whitefield, and North Nobleboro. The old train station under the bridge is testament to the old ways in which students attended school before auto transit was available for all.

Now that Lincoln Academy has a residential program, this historic model has taken hold again. In the last two years, LA has enrolled several students who are officially 5-day boarders. These students move into the dorms with a roommate, sleep, eat, study and participate in after-school activities through the week with the other residential students, then return home to spend the weekend with their families. The local families who take advantage of this opportunity find numerous benefits to this model.

Five-day boarding students find that they can fully participate in their studies and extracurriculars when spending less time commuting to and from school. Boarding is also convenient in winter, when weather can make the school commute challenging. At LA, breakfast, lunch, and dinner with friends and dorm families grounds students during the week and provides them the opportunity to focus on their after school activities and studies in greater depth.

“As a 5 day boarder, you’re constantly around people, and for someone like me, being able to bounce ideas off of people has been really helpful,” said 2019 graduate Chas VanDamme, who was a 5-day boarder at LA and is now in his first year at Bates College. “Also, with school, I took the hardest classes I could and I was always around people who could help. You get to live with the teachers, which you might not think would be good, but has been great!”

This year, LA also intends to offer midcoast students weekday boarding for a single trimester. This offers the unique opportunity to board during a single sports season, theater production, or other intensive extracurricular period.

Five day boarding is an excellent option for students who would like to focus on a particular interest, just like a specialty summer camp, during the school year. Lincoln offers 135 courses and 19 AP courses, that allow students to pursue diverse academic interests. Maine towns with school choice will usually cover the cost of tuition for students, making short term residential options affordable, since families only pay for room and board. Room and board includes all room fees, meals, and transportation to weekday activities and appointments.

Additional financial aid is available. Current LA students, and students interested in transferring to LA are welcome to apply. Contact Hilary Petersen at for more information, or this page of the website for more details.