Student Life

The Cascadilla experience offers something for every student

The Cascadilla experience is rewarding, challenging, and fulfilling on every level, and life at Cascadilla goes beyond the classroom. We are in the heart of Ithaca’s Collegetown, and students enjoy dining and shopping just a few blocks from the dorms. Since we’re immediately adjacent to Cornell University, students often walk over to see films and plays, hear lectures and use the Cornell libraries. Students on class trips regularly see Cornell’s science labs and museums. Ithaca is also part of the beautiful Finger Lakes of central New York which provides numerous opportunities for hiking, skiing, swimming and more.
International students at Cascadilla get a truly global learning experience as they interact with their American peers every day in class and during extracurricular activities. Our American families often open their homes and hearts to international dorm students for meals and friendship, and school field trips blend fun and learning in many American cities. All Cascadilla students –whether living in the dorm or at home– are active in school clubs and activities


Making the most of the Cascadilla experience means taking full advantage of extracurricular activities. It’s important to work hard on your academic work, but things you do outside of class are important too! We encourage all students to take advantage of student clubs so that you can explore personal interests and develop social and leadership skills. At the same time, though, we encourage them to be committed participants in these activities. A full commitment to one activity is more rewarding than being a passive or sporadic member in too many activities.


Cascadilla’s clubs are driven by student interest, so if you would like to start a new club – let us know! We’ll help you explore a current interest or discover something new. Cascadilla’s current or recent clubs are:

Sports Clubs

  • Soccer
  • Equestrian
  • Tennis
  • Basketball

Interest Clubs:

  • Chess Club
  • Game Club
  • Fashion Club
  • Music Club
  • Photography Club
  • Pottery Club
  • Knitting Club
  • Dance & Yoga Club
  • Hiking Club

Academic and Cultural Clubs

  • Cascadilla Society of Science
  • French Club
  • International Club

The Gryphon: The News Magazine of the Cascadilla School

Students on the staff of the Gryphon produce, edit and design all aspects of Cascadilla’s news magazine. The Gryphon staff designs pages, writes its editorials and columns, edits copy, gathers the school and community news and reports it for the Gryphon. Students write and publish reviews of film, music, and the arts. Working on the Gryphon also provides an introduction to desktop publishing and the composing of newspaper and magazine style pages using the Adobe InDesign program.

Students who join the Gryphon staff can move among positions on the staff during their time at Cascadilla. Much of the work is individually tailored to a student’s interests and abilities. Students who learn to write stories for the Gryphon often find new confidence in their writing and discover talents in journalism that they did not know they have. This is a learning-by-doing experience as student editors coach the work of student reporters while they rewrite a story several times before it is published. In addition to experiencing the creative process, the Gryphon experience makes teachers of students. Producing a news magazine provides plenty of opportunities for students to develop leadership skills.

Creating the Gryphon is about graphic design (page design, photo direction, art direction), constructing a publication through computer programs, and putting it together by combining creative observations, emotional impact, the written word, and visual images. It is about creating a finished product for a public audience. By working efficiently to a deadline and cooperatively within a large group, students also learn to respect individual talents and individual decisions.

The Cascadillian: The Yearbook of the Cascadilla School

The yearbook of the Cascadilla School is called The Cascadillian. Students who join the yearbook staff have the opportunity to learn graphic design, the book arts, and marketing and advertising. The Cascadillian is published by and for the students of Cascadilla at the end of each academic year. Working on the Cascadillian also provides an introduction to desktop publishing and the composing of yearbook pages using the customized Adobe InDesign program provided by Herff-Jones, the largest yearbook publisher in the U.S.

The yearbook tells the stories from the Cascadilla year. It’s a memory book, a history book, a record book, and a reference book with great design and many photos. Like working on the Gryphon, working on the yearbook also gives you valuable skills in organization, teamwork, management, writing, and visual communication skills which are important in almost any career.

Unlike the Gryphon, though, members of the yearbook staff work all year on just one project. There are short-term deadlines with one long-term goal. Covering the whole year and all students is how you make a great memory book. Students learn to report on events and to interview people, attending events, club meetings, games, and so on.

The first Cascadillian appeared in 1901.

Community Service & Outreach

At the Cascadilla School, we believe that independence and individuality should be balanced with a commitment to community. We welcome the responsibilities we have toward each other and to the world outside of Cascadilla. We find that we often ask better questions and find better answers when we work together than when we work alone. All Cascadilla students participate equally in the daily work of the school so that they may cultivate a respect for the dignity of labor and service to the community, both within the school and beyond.

In order to give every student the opportunity to experience the deep satisfaction that derives from service to others; each Cascadilla graduate must complete 20 hours of service to the community. Each year Cascadilla students tutor in the local public schools and volunteer in community service programs.