The Grand Centr Academy was founded in 5 Y.S. by Armin Artilli, one of the first advisers to then-High Father, Marcus Odehn. Artilli’s initial intention was to educate Khatam’s future leaders in Menessism, but as Artilli discovered, one cannot build and run a school on one’s own, and his fellow founders and faculty preferred the idea of offering a broader education to a larger student body, and eventually convinced Artilli to relax his acceptance standards.
Even this, though, was not enough to provide suitable funding, and so Artilli hired some of the most prestigious mages throughout Khatam to teach, and re-branded the academy as a school for magic in addition to the education already offered, and furthermore used this as a reason to raise tuition rates. But it was sufficient, and the academy finished primary construction of its grounds in 12 Y.S.
Artilli would pass away in 22 Y.S., but not before declaring that his final wish for the academy was that it be named “The Great and Illustrious Halls of Learning, In The Name of His Glorious Beacon, Ever He Be Praised.” While unpopular with most all of the faculty, no one was willing to disobey the dying wish of the school’s founder, and the change was made. As no one was willing to recite the entire name of the school, it became known, both to its students and faculty, and then to the rest of Khatam, simply as “The Halls.”
Now, two hundred years later, the Halls have not changed drastically. Renovations and expansions to the original campus have been made to accommodate larger student bodies, but the basic spirit of the school has remained the same. Its students are largely made up of the children of Grand Centr’s wealthier families, mixed with those gifted with noteworthy intellect or skill in magic, the latter often offered loans or scholarships to help ease the tuition.
Students are first welcomed into the school at the age of twelve and given a common education covering basic subjects, with mage students taking part in extracurricular courses. At the age of eighteen, the basic education is considered complete, and students are free to graduate from the school, but encouraged to remain at the Halls for its higher learning.
After graduation, students who remain depart the normal classroom setting, and instead take up a master/apprentice style relationship with one another. As an apprentice, one will learn all they are able from their master, until such a time as there is nothing more to be gained, at which point the apprentice will seek a new master, and continue their education until they are themselves ready to take an apprentice of their own.
All master/apprentice relationships are one-on-one, but all students are also encouraged to engage in self-formed classes on an array of topics, from basic swordsmanship to advanced mathematics and poetry appreciation to advanced spellcrafting, all without their master or apprentice. The academy will provide food and dormitories for students, but the assumption is that the students will fend for themselves at this point, so the amenities provided are generally lackluster. It is not a stretch to say that the students are responsible for their own education at this point, and since the school encourages students to pay their own way beyond the normal curriculum, the student gains nothing by paying the school fees and not attending classes. All of this allows mage students to customize their learning at will. It is not strange to see Halls students away from the school and in the wilderness fighting monsters, as even the school instructors will say that experience is a better teacher than a classroom lecture.
Academy uniforms vary by the position in the school. All instructors wear an ankle-length cassock during active hours, but will generally wear civilian clothing when off-duty. Young students wear a navy blue military tunic and dark pants or skirt, but students are allowed to personalize beyond this. Mage students and general students will be distinguished by different emblems pinned on the collar of the uniform. Should a student stay at the Halls beyond graduation, they are required to wear a navy blue long coat version of the uniform, and personalization is barred until the student takes a master or apprentice. After taking an apprentice or master, the student is released from any uniform constraints, though it is expected of all students to maintain a respectful image for the Halls at all times.