The New Hope Academy was founded in 2118 in New Hope Town, colonial capital of the New Hope colony on the Alpha continent of the planet Tau Ceti 4. The first group of 64 students, all between the ages of 14 and 16 arrived on the initial voyage of the Colony Transport Ship James Cook.
During the first years of the colony beginning in 2104 only contract employees, scientists and government representatives and administrators were allowed to go to the colony, usually on 3 year contracts which included the 6-7 month voyages from Earth to Tau Ceti 4 and back. With few amenities to occupy their time away from work and a male to female ratio of nearly 4-1 few workers without families at home were willing to extend their contracts for longer periods despite the extraordinarily high salaries they were earning there. Workers with families at home were even less reluctant to remain separated from them for even longer than their original contracts called for. The personnel situation was only exacerbated by the limited space on the three Cargo Supply Ships then in service - North America, Antarctica and Australia - which carried a maximum of about five hundred fifty passenger each and often returned with as many as four hundred returning workers. These reasons significantly together significantly limited the growth of the colony far below initial estimates and caused several revisions in the timeline drawn to estimate when the colony would begin paying dividends to its investors, consortia of national governments, multi-national corporations and and large private companies.
By 2117 sufficient infrastructure was deemed available to support the addition of family members including older children to the colony's population. Adult family members without specific needed skill sets were required to take employment in the growing and terribly shorthanded support and service sector of the colony's labor force. As the colony expanded but unable to convince many workers to remain longer at the colony more and more service and support jobs required to keep the colony running opened up with no one to fill them. SWAP sentences. All student age dependents age 14-18 were required to study, and live, at the newly opened New Hope Academy, at least until they graduated.
The decision to allow family members to go to the colony coincided with two other equally important events. The first was the completion of the first Colony Transport Ship, the James Cook. Over the next two years two other ships of the same type entered service -the Amundsen and the Marco Polo. These huge ships could carry as many as five thousand passengers at one time although passenger loads were usually closer to three thousand to avoid overloading the colony's growing but still limited facilities. The second event was the deployment of the first detachments of the Colonial Rangers, a newly created multinational force designed to protect the increasing number of survey and exploration team working in the planet's interior and mountainous areas were large numbers of fearsome predators lived. Before this there were only privately contracted security forces with limited assets and firepower to do this important task but they had proved to be incapable of carrying out this mission and scores of explorers were killed and eaten by the armoured, red-eyed demon wolves and other dangerous native wildlife that called Tau Ceti 4 home. By 2122 the population at the colony had grown to more than twenty thousand including over 200 students at the Academy and nearly two thousand other family members.
Students applying for admission to the Academy and permission to travel to the colony must pass all the same screening examinations that all adults must successfully complete. They must pass thorough and stringent physical and psychological exams and pass tough physical fitness tests. They must be free of any medical, emotional or other psychological problems and they must be able to cope well in very stressful situations, able to understand and comply quickly any directions given them in the event of an emergency. They must pass a basic English test, English being the common language at the colony, and if not fluent must study the language on the long journey to the colony.
In addition students entering the Academy must meet very high academic standards. all are among the top five percent of students in their respective countries and most are in the top two percent. In that the vast majority of their parents are highly educated and skilled professionals meeting these standards is not as daunting as it might seem on the surface. These students are high achievers who are the sons and daughters of high achievers.
Parents of students at the Academy are doctors, scientists, engineers, senior company managers, government representatives, settlement operations staff and other highly educated and trained specialists Most of the less senior personnel at the colony are too young to have high school age children. Although eventually lowering the minimum age to 13 or even 12 has been discussed permitting younger children to go to the colony is still prohibited for good reasons.
Everyone including children must have the maturity and self-control to remain calm and respond quickly in a crisis. The long voyage across the stars has its own set of potentially catastrophic situations during which being able to follow directions quickly in an emergency without the presence of their parents could be essential to their survival. After the voyage they must be able to contend with the potential dangers of an alien planet that range from deadly predators, to sometimes extreme weather and tectonic events that spawn earthquakes and volcanoes. Students will live in the Academy dormitories sometimes thousands of miles from where their parents live and work although they will often stay with them during the twenty four day spring and fall transition seasons instead of taking extra classes. Most classes are taken during the sixty day summer and winter season. Students enroute to the Academy also take classes aboard the starships so that they don’t fall behind during the journey.
Students graduating from the New Hope Academy typically are accepted easily at elite universities on Earth. These schools know that these students are elite students and are hungry to enroll young people with the experience of living on another planet and relate those first-hand experiences to both other students and academic staff.
The New Hope Academy campus is located on a low flattened hilltop on the southeast side of the settlement adjacent to Dana Bay about one mile south of the New Hope Main Terminal.