As a result of $1.2 million in donations, a small private school in Huntly is now able to offer tuition assistance after almost closing in May.

Wakefield Country Day School has launched the Huntly Scholars Program, which will offer $1.2 million in tuition assistance as a result of donations from benefactors.

The donations are made up of one anonymous donation of $960,000, which will fund 20 Huntly scholars for three years. The school then received five matching donations of $240,000 that will fund another five students for three years, said Paul Larner, chairman of the board of the Wakefield Country Day School.

“It’s really an astounding turnaround from May,” Larner said. “Since May we have raised $2 million, which includes this $1.2 million in donations, to keep the school alive and thriving.”

The school is continuing to seek matching funds and aims to eventually be able to offer tuition assistance to 40 students.

The school has 130 students enrolled now compared to 105 students in May, Larner said. They would like to have closer to 200 students enrolled, he added.

Anyone seeking to apply for tuition assistance can go to the school website at or contact Suzanne Zylonis, the school's director of admissions and marketing, at 540-635-8555 or email her at

Larner noted that another factor in the turnaround is the adjunct faculty program. The program is now made up of 35 adjunct faculty members from Rappahannock County who are all "high profile and esteemed people" in their careers, he said.

Larner said they hope to be able to increase international enrollment at the school while becoming more involved in the local community.

“I have never been more excited about WCDS’s future. It has been the joy of a lifetime to work on this effort,” Larner stated in an email.

The Wakefield Country Day School, founded in 1972, is a private, co-educational school for students in preschool through 12th grade. 

Contact Melissa Topey at