Skip To Main Content

Upper School

Welcome to the Lucy Bryans VanMeter Upper School.  We provide our students with rich and varied opportunities for academic and personal growth.  Our exceptionally diverse curricular offerings and co-curricular programs promote collaboration, exploration, and active learning.  Our faculty know their students as people first, acknowledging and valuing their students’ strengths.  We encourage students to take risks, develop talents and affinities, and excel in their areas of strength.
The Upper School building is designed to facilitate interactions with open communal gathering spaces such as the central atrium where we hold Morning Meetings and students perform public speaking speeches while smaller conference rooms are used for collaboration and quiet study.  Sayre’s college-like campus, located in Lexington's historic district, promotes student autonomy, as they learn to think critically, value honorable behavior, and develop the skills and maturity necessary to succeed in college and beyond.

Loading from Vimeo...


The Upper School curriculum is divided into seven disciplines, each with a department chair who oversees the development of curriculum in conjunction with the Director of the Upper School. Guided by an active, enthusiastic and knowledgeable faculty, students develop an enthusiasm for learning and discovery while developing critical thinking skills, and establishing a moral framework to guide their decision making. Over time, students acquire self discipline and independence, experience working cooperatively in small group settings, and learn to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing. During their four years in the Upper School, students complete a core curriculum as well as choose from a wide range of electives as they develop their interests, talents and skills in preparation for higher education. Woven throughout the curriculum is the objective of developing character, including honorable behavior and personal accountability in an atmosphere where community matters.

Character Development

Sayre School values students as individuals and works to foster their understanding of themselves and their roles in the larger community. Our core values of wisdom, integrity, respect, and compassion are woven throughout the school. Our efforts to promote these core values include classes, clubs, and activities to reach all students. Topics and skills are taught and practiced on a developmentally appropriate continuum centered on these themes: student mentoring, giving back to community, understanding personal and cultural differences, awareness of self, and development of social skills.

Sayre defines its core values as:
Wisdom – knowledge of what is right combined with sound judgment
Integrity – understanding and practice of what is honest, decent, and good
Respect – holding self and others in high regard
Compassion – empathy for others combined with helpful action

I've had the privilege of learning from some of the brightest minds and kindest hearts.  Sayre is the perfect balance of academic excellence and a warm social environment.  I've come to think of all of you as an extension of my family.

Claire Thayer '21 Valedictorian Address, attending Columbia University

It is also important to not lose sight of this key principle: that you are the one thing in life that you have complete control over. Your outlook, your attitude and the way that you treat others are all in your power, so use that for good.

Ellie Webb '18, attending Georgetown University 

I decided that New York would be fine without me, and that I could have a greater impact here, in the community that I care about. And so I came home to Kentucky. Here, I’ve been about to design libraries, senior centers, and public clinics, and seen how welcoming and thoughtful buildings can strengthen communities and give people a vision of a new and better future. 

Harding Dowell ’01
Baccalaureate Speech to the Class of 2019
Group 4 Architecture, Research and Planning, Architect