The academy — a pluralistic middle school and high school in Merion Station — began in 1946 with 20 students and five teachers at the YM & YWHA on Broad and Pine streets in Center City. It changed venues several times before moving to its present site in 1956. It now has more than 320 students.
Beginning on the first Friday of the school year, students will mark the 60th anniversary with a barbecue. On Oct.10, Akiba is planning a 60th-anniversary Sukkot dinner for students and their families. In November, the parent and board leadership is set to take part on a 10-day mission to Israel.
Coinciding with the mission, an anniversary event will be held in Jerusalem, which many of the 200 Akiba alumni now living in Israel are expected to attend.
Next year, an anniversary Purim gala is set for March 18. And on May 20, the school will hold a 60th-anniversary reunion.
Other events featuring Akiba alumni working in the fields of music, film and the media are also in the works.
"This year is about taking a step back to really enjoy all that the school has accomplished," said Rabbi Philip Field, the longtime head of school who plans to make aliyah next year. "It's also about taking a step forward."
"Our students learn how to be creative and independent thinkers, and live Jewish values every day," he continued. "They go on to play leading roles in their professions and communities here in the United States, in Israel and throughout the world."