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Alumni & Advancement

Bright. Talented. Unique. Gifted. Friendly. Empathetic. These are all words that apply to the young people at Franklin Academy. But too often our students arrive having never heard the truth about who they are. Lost in settings where their gifts are not appreciated, they have grown discouraged and lost confidence. They often arrive uncertain if they can succeed anywhere.

Franklin changes everything. From the moment students arrive on our campus, they find friends like them, adults who believe in them, and hope for the future. The initial boost buoys them, providing the confidence to try new approaches for tackling challenges. Franklin graduates go on to enroll in college, have successful careers, maintain friendships, and marry partners. The impossible becomes possible.

What Success Looks Like

A Franklin Academy diploma puts you on a path to an extraordinary future that can include friends, partners, college, professional jobs, and more. Here are stories of some of our alumni:

Before Franklin: “My K through 12 education was just abundantly terrible until I got to Franklin. I am diagnosed with a nonverbal learning disability. I had experienced trauma. I was coming out of a very severe depression. My grandfather had just passed away. So I was very much a kind of a broken human and I was 17.”

After Franklin: “Franklin gave me my confidence back. Like I just needed someone to believe in me and believe that I could do things and that really helped me believe in myself. I felt free to kind of make mistakes, explore what I was good at and practice skills. I made friends.”

Lauren was admitted to 13 of 15 colleges she applied to, many with merit scholarships.

She earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Catholic University and is working toward a PhD. She is employed as a hospice social worker.

Community: “You feel very welcomed immediately. From minute one, people were like, ‘Do you want to come sit with me in the dining hall? Do you want to hang out in the common room?’ It really makes you feel safe right away, which is something I needed.”

Teachers: “They really believed in me. They really cared. They listened to my feelings. They encouraged me. They believed that I could go to college and be successful, which is not something I had gotten from school before.”

Before Franklin: “When I was a younger kid, I didn’t really see a future for myself. My peers were telling me that I was worse, dumb, slower. And to be frank, in a lot of ways in the tests and measures, I was. I was internalizing that I was worthless. I spent a lot of time crying underneath my desk. I just struggled and was isolated.” He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (now part of the autism spectrum).

After Franklin: “Franklin has changed the trajectory of my life. To be rather candid, I thought I was probably going to be flipping burgers or have hurt myself. It has left a profound impact on me. I realized I do have all these skills. It was really that the way that I was getting taught and how I was expected to perform did not complement my skills.”

Royce has earned a bachelor’s of science in child psychology from Eastern Connecticut State University and a master’s of education in rehabilitation counseling from Pennsylvania State University. He has returned to Franklin to work as a residential dean.

On embracing neurodiversity: “We have a community that doesn’t see this as a flaw. They see it as a strength. People want to hang out with you and nerd out about D & D or something like that. You can relate to them. You’re not only making growth and struggling yourself, but you can see other people struggle and make growth. You can be part of helping them with their struggle and their growth as you grow up in the program.”

How Academics are Different at Franklin: “Quality over quantity is what comes to mind. Other school systems, you have to do 40 examples of the problem set in math to prove that you know it. We spend a lot of time focusing on the process and how to be a student, how to do the specific skills we’re teaching. We don’t do a lot of the busy work that you see at other schools.”

Preparation for college: “In college, I didn’t have to try harder than my Franklin classes until my senior year. Franklin got me prepared. I knew how to be a student.”

Before Franklin: He was diagnosed with anxiety when he was young and eventually an autism spectrum diagnosis was added as well. “It was my senior year. I technically passed, but I was not prepared for anything. I wasn’t brushing my teeth. I wasn’t washing my hair. It was awful.”

After Franklin: He earned a bachelor’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson and a master’s from Pennsylvania State University. He works as a counselor on Team Heron at Franklin.

“Just being in this environment pushed me. I had friends for the first time that felt like real friends. I cannot stress how much this going here changed my life. Absolutely and utterly. There is another Billy out there in a different timeline that looks very different from the Billy of today.”

What he hears now that he works with parents of Franklin students: “Before Franklin, students are barely scraping by. Generally it is one of the parents’ full time jobs to just advocate and keep that kid going. And they’re really just barely scraping by and not really fitting in.

I hear from parents all the time, ‘My daughter has only been there a week. She’s made five friends. She hasn’t had a single friend in the last four or five years.’”

What a Parent Sees

Parents have a unique view of how Franklin has changed the lives of their children. Here are a couple of their stories:

Before Franklin: Her daughter was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (now part of the autism spectrum) in the middle of elementary school.

“We had been in a war from second grade on. She needed me to function. Every aspect of her day, from getting out of bed, to eating meals, to homework, to all the therapy appointments. And she was miserable through all of it. Fourth, fifth grade, she really started to fall apart. Academically, she was fine. Her issues were social and emotional. Every year it got worse and worse and worse. From a parent’s perspective, it’s just all these things that you’re doing to cope.”

After Franklin: “From the minute she set foot on campus, two young women students approached her and chatted her up. She had never, ever been able to maintain any kind of normal friendships. And there was just this warm embrace and this enthusiasm. ‘You’ve got to come here.’”

“I didn’t hear from her for the rest of the term. She never called. She was like, ‘I’m fine, mom.’ She just loved her autonomy and she loved the relationships she was making.”

“She just moved herself to Edinburgh, Scotland and found a job and a roommate and the whole thing. So it’s a very happy story.”

What Makes Franklin Different: “We keep asking kids to adapt to a program that they cannot adapt to. The minute you change the program, they get to be themselves. She was no longer the weirdo, the outsider. She was in a community.”

“These kids, they’re so sweet and engaging. They’re quirky, but they’re very kind. There’s a kindness there that it’s not about discipline. It’s not about trying harder. It’s about kindness and nurturing and celebrating the kids for who they are.”

On learning to understand themselves: “When she’d come home, she’d regress a little bit. We had some issues, but I can say to her, ‘This morning — what was going on there?’ And she’d go, ‘Oh, well, I was feeling really anxious cause I was dysregulated about this thing, but I wasn’t really feeling it intensely. But then when this thing happened, I felt it more intensely.’ She was just like a mini psychologist. She absorbed all the social emotional stuff. She can translate autism for the rest of us beautifully. Her ability to advocate for herself is unbelievable.”

The faculty at Franklin: “My daughter has some very deep friendships with her teachers. That’s very common. The teachers really, really, really love the kids. It’s genuine and the kids sense it. And that’s everything.”

Then and now: “It’s hard to describe how miserable this kid was in middle school. You’re sort of running the gauntlet with public schools and IEPs and lawyers and therapists. It’s a very bleak world. It’s a very hopeless world because they just say, yeah, we know it’s hard and it’s gonna get worse in high school. “

“What Franklin does for these kids is it gives them that sense of possibility.”

Before Franklin: Her son is on the autism spectrum and also has ADHD. “He was in his eighth grade IEP meeting. Out of the blue he said to me, ‘I don’t want to go here next year. I need something else.’”

After Franklin: “He’s a very high achieving student — as a lot of kids are there. He got a 35 on the ACT on his first try. He has high aspirations for college. He is very involved — he’s the student body president. He’s taking AP Calc as a junior. He’s very, very busy.”

Why the schedule at Franklin works well: “The five weeks on week, two weeks off has been a great model. It gives the kids time to come home and chill and then go back and be refreshed and ready to go.”

Personalization at Franklin: “They’re actually working with him to see if maybe he can do an internship next year, working in a local place along with school. It’s so customized to your child, which I very much appreciate. They really give them what they need, which I think is key.”

What acceptance looks like at Franklin: “One day I was moving my son in. One of the teenage girls who I didn’t know was outside, and she was in a full princess gown with a crown, and had this adorable purse. I said, ‘Oh my God: I love that purse. It’s adorable. She said, ‘Thank you.’ Only at Franklin. Nobody even thought twice. Without any judgment, you’re fully accepted.”

selective focus photo of woman sitting on the grass

Franklin Academy Students’ College Acceptances 2019-2024

Adelphi University (NY)
Alfred State College of Technology (NY)
American University (DC)
Appalachian State University (NC)
Arizona State University (M)
Bay Path University (MA)
Beacon College (FL)
Bennington College (VT)
Berklee College of Music (MA)
Bridgewater State University (MA)
Bryn Mawr College (PA)
Central Connecticut State University
Champlain College (VT)
Chapman University (CA)
Chestnut Hill College (PA)
Christopher Newport University (VA)
Clark University (MA)
Clarkson University (NY)
Colby College (ME)
Colby-Sawyer College (NH)
Colorado School of Mines
Connecticut College
Curry College (MA)
Daemen University (NY)
Dean College (MA)
Denison University (OH)
DePaul University (lL)
DeSales University (PA)
Drew University (NJ)
Drexel University (PA)
Eastern Connecticut State University
Eastern Illinois University
Eckerd College (FL)
Elizabethtown College (PA)
Elmira College (NY)
Elon University (NC)
Evergreen State College (WA)
Fairleigh Dickinson University (NJ)
Florida Institute of Technology
Fordham University (NY)
Fort Lewis College (CO)
Franklin & Marshall College (PA)
Full Sail University (FL)
Furman University (SC)
George Mason University (VA)
Goucher College (MD)
Gustavus Adolphus College (MN)
Hampshire College (MA)
Hartwick College (NY)
High Point University (NC)
Hofstra University (NY)
Illinois State University
Iona University (NY)
Ithaca College (NY)
James Madison University (VA)
Johnson & Wales University (RI)
John Jay College of Criminal Justice (NY)
John Tyler Community College (VA)
Juniata College (PA)
Kutztown University (PA)
Lafayette College (PA)
Landmark College (VT)
Lasell College (MA)
Lawrence University (WI)
Lehigh University (PA)
Lesley University (MA)
Longwood University (VA)
Lynn University (FL)
Manhattanville College (NY)
Marist College (NY)
Merrimack College (MA)
Marshall University (WV)
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
McDaniel College (MD)
Mercy College (NY)
Merrimack College (MA)
Messiah University (PA)
Millersville University(PA)
Misericordia University (PA)
Mitchell College (CT)
Muhlenberg College (PA)
Muskingum University (OH)
New England Institute of Technology (RI)
Northeastern University (MA)
Northern Vermont University
Norwich University (VT)
Pace University (NY )
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Point Park University (PA)
Quinnipiac University (CT)
Quinsigamond Community College (MA)
Reed College (OR)
Regis University (CO)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY)
Rochester Institute of Technology (NY)
Roger Williams University (RI)
Rutgers University (NJ)
Sacred Heart University (CT)
Saint Joseph’s University (PA)
Sarah Lawrence College (NY)
Salem State University (MA)
Savannah College of Art and Design (GA)
School of the Visual Arts (NY)
Seton Hall University (NJ)
Simmons University (MA)
Southern Connecticut State University
Southern Illinois University
Southern Maine Community College
Southern Oregon University
Springfield College (MA)
St. Bonaventure University (NY)
St. Joseph’s University (PA)
St. Thomas University (Canada)
Stevens Institute ofTechnology (NJ)
SUNY Binghamton University (NY)
SUNY Oswego (NY)
SUNY Cobleskill (NY)
SUNY Fredonia (NY)
Susquehanna University (PA)
Syracuse University (NY)
Temple University (PA)
Texas Tech University
Thomas Jefferson University (PA)
Tunxis Community College (CT)
University of Arizona
University of Cincinnati (OH)
University of Colorado
University of Connecticut
University of Dayton (OH)
University of Denver (CO)
University of Hartford (CT)
University of Hawaii
University of Indianapolis (IN)
University of Kansas
University of Maine
University of Maryland
University of Mary Washington (VA)
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Boston
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
University of Massachusetts Lowell
University of New England
University of New Haven (CT)
University of New Hampshire
University of New Haven (CT)
University of North Dakota
University of North Texas
University of Oklahoma
University of Puget Sound (WA)
University of Redlands (CA)
University of Rhode Island
University of Rochester (NY)
University of Saint Joseph (CT)
University of Southern Maine
University of Texas
University of Vermont
University of Washington
Vermont Technical College
Webster University (MO)
Wheaton College (MA)
Westchester University (PA)
Western Connecticut State University (CT)
Western New England University (MA)
Westfield State University (MA)
Wheaton College (MA)
Whitman College (WA)
Wilson College (PA)
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MA)
York College (PA)

Engaging Our Alumni & Upcoming Events

Each of our alumni matters to us. We have been part of your journey and love to hear your updates. They encourage our current students, parents, and the faculty who love you. Here are some ways to stay in touch.


You are always welcome home. Every year we hold one or more organized reunions, on campus or virtually. At in-person reunions, you are the expert, an alumnus returning to share about how the lessons learned at Franklin have served you well in the world beyond. Our alumni panels at community meetings are a highlight!

When you visit Franklin, faculty and administrators enjoy having a meal with you and a chance to catch up on your life. Historically we end our formal reunions with an alumni reception and dinner at the Gelston House.


Our alumni website allows you to connect with fellow alumni, offer to mentor graduating students, and be part of a Franklin professional network. Join here now.

Upcoming Events

Celebrate Franklin Academy in New York City
Thursday, April 4th

Franklin Academy has been reimagining education and transforming lives for many years. We hope to see you on April 4th to reminisce, reconnect, and get excited about the future of our school. Come meet (or be reintroduced) to Alex Morris-Wood, our Head Elect, celebrate Franklin Academy’s distinctive mission, and enjoy the gracious hospitality of one of our alumni families.

Register here

Annual Alumni Reunion
Saturday, June 1st

We had so much fun last year, we are doing it again! Join us on Saturday, June 1, 2024 for any or all of the day’s activities, beginning with Graduation in the morning, followed by a special Luncheon honoring the retirement of founders Fred Weissbach and Tom Hays. After the luncheon, there will be an Alumni Association meeting on campus. We will end the day with a short ride on the Essex Steam Train to Deep River, where we will board the Becky Thatcher for a sunset cruise on the Connecticut River!

Register here

Fall Franklin Celebration & Installation of Alex Morris-Wood, Head of School
Saturday, September 7th

Franklin alumni and their families are welcome to attend the installation of Alexander Morris-Wood as the next Head of School. The event will celebrate Franklin’s history through storytelling and alumni speeches. Taking place at Franklin Academy, the Celebration will also take a look into Franklin’s future with an overview of the strategic plan over the next few years. Registration will open in May.

Alumni Boards

Alumni Association Executive Board

  •  Zac Silverman ’15, President
  • Foxx Brownstein ’19  PG ’20, Vice-President
  • Brian Clarke ’12, Treasurer
  • Lauren Klein ’15, Communications Chair
  • Alec Lyness ’11 PG ’12, Membership Director
  • Kaitlin Jackson ’14, Events Chair

Alumni Parent Advisory Board

  • Ginger Cooper
  • Robert Hobbs
  • Lynne Maloney
  • Peter Margolis
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