For everyone: a history rich in tradition
Our school is rooted in two of the nation’s most prestigious military boarding schools. In 1884, The Rev. Sidney Smythe founded St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin. For 39 years he inspired, guided, and instilled the pride that prevails on our campus today. The Beacon, a campus landmark, was erected in 1923 after Rev. Smythe’s death. Built from field stones collected by cadets, it features his four sayings: “Don’t be a mollycoddle,” “Play the game,” “The game’s not over ‘til the whistle blows,” and “Carry on.”
Col. Harlan Page Davidson founded Northwestern Military & Naval Academy in Highland Park, Illinois, in 1888. After two devastating campus fires, Colonel Davidson rebuilt his school in stone on the shores of Lake Geneva in southern Wisconsin.
In 1995, the schools merged to become St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield. In 2018, we became coed, and a year later added the non-military Leadership Academy. Today our parent school is known as St. John’s Northwestern Academies, comprising St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy, St. John’s Northwestern Leadership Academy, and St. John’s Northwestern Summer Academy.