Who We Are


To provide a personalized educational program in a stimulating, supportive learning environment for students pursuing outside professional training in athletics and the arts.


Opening in 1993, the formerly named ESI International Academy was a single morning classes-only school for 17 international and non-local tennis players and golfers. The school was located on the Van der Meer Tennis University campus.

  • Co-ownership between Dennis Van der Meer and Ray Travaglione beginning 1997 enabled the International Academy student population to grow from 17 in 1993 to 72 in 2001 as the school became the academic complement to tennis, golf, and visual and performing arts training.
  • The school moved to new campus at 11 New Orleans Road November 2002 with 72 students and changed its name to Heritage Academy to better reflect its mission and philosophy.
  • From 2003 to 2006 Heritage Academy served US and international tennis players, golfers, visual and performing artists, equestrians, swimmers, and students with singleton passions. During the school year 2004-2005, there were 185 students.
  • In the fall of 2004, HA morphed into two campuses, one on HHI and one on DI. The Daufuskie campus was for high school and post grad golfers only.
  • In the fall of 2008, HA moved back to a single campus serving grades 6-12 in all passion areas with an a.m. program.
  • Heritage Academy evolved into the present model of a single campus for grades 6-PG for all-passions plus fast track academic acceleration in the fall of 2008. Grades 10-PG golfers attended classes in the p.m. program.

Heritage Academy today is still the top choice for serious scholar-athletes who need flexible course scheduling, individualized programming, freedom to attend tournaments, and to work alongside a faculty whose charge it is to challenge them academically and support their passion.

“We could not have found a better school (or Academy) to take a twelve year old and make him into a Colgate University student.” – Judy and Stuart Chin


Since 1993, Heritage Academy has assisted aspiring young men and women to create dreams, make them real, and achieve new worlds for themselves. Nestled a short sprint from the Atlantic Ocean on the small, barrier island of Hilton Head off of the coast of South Carolina, Heritage Academy is a refuge for teenagers with an extracurricular passion.

There are three focus areas at Heritage Academy: students commit to a passion in athletics, academics and research, or the visual and performing arts. Students in all these areas share the same qualities: a desire to excel and stand out in their field, and the willingness to work as hard as they can to achieve this goal. Along with our school community’s common goals, we have tremendous diversity in our student body. Our local students attend classes with students from many countries and states.

At Heritage Academy, we believe that a small caring community of diverse, highly-trained professionals working with students who seek to develop a passion in life creates the ideal learning environment. Young people have curious minds, tremendous energy, innate talent and incredible spirit all waiting to be awakened and nurtured. We respect research suggesting that students can reach full potential in analytical thinking, creative expression, and civic responsibility only when the walls of the traditional classroom are extended beyond the school facility. Whether in the classroom or pursuing extracurricular passions, our students are actively engaged in learning as accomplished scholars, artists and athletes.

Heritage Academy Serves

  • Local, national, and international students in grades 7-12 from 27 countries and 28 states
  • Scholar-athletes and performing artists who are training academically and athletically to earn a spot on an NCAA sports team or arts program
  • Students who aspire to attend the college of their choice—be it an Ivy League or state university
  • Students whose goal it is to complete high school graduation requirements in three years via our Fast Track High School Academics Program
  • ESL post-grads who are preparing for academics at a U.S. college

Heritage Academy Offers

  • Grades 7-12
  • Small class size with an average of 8 and a maximum of 15
  • Block scheduling
  • ESL, College Prep, Honors and Advanced Placement classes
  • Community partners in athletics and arts
  • An international student population
  • Personalized college placement services
  • I-20 authorization