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Beacon Academy was the Huntsman Academy of the Kingdom of Vale. The Academy trained teams of Huntsmen and Huntresses to slay the various monsters that plague Remnant. It was overrun following an assault on the Academy led by Cinder Fall in conjunction with Grimm and White Fang. Prior to its fall, the Headmaster of Beacon was Professor Ozpin.
Following the end of the Great War, Beacon Academy was founded in the Kingdom of Vale. Along with the other three Huntsmen academies, Beacon was founded in order to train Huntsmen and Huntresses to slay the Creatures of Grimm. In the 80 years following the founding of the Academy, Beacon trained many generations of Huntsmen and Huntresses, including Team STRQ.
In the past, Qrow and Raven Branwen both originally joined Beacon Academy not to become Huntsmen, but to kill them instead due to them being the only other threat to their tribe besides the Grimm. While they both originally planned on returning to the tribe after graduating, Qrow grew out of his old ways and decided to stay while only Raven eventually returned. It was stated by Raven that many people also joined the academy for ulterior motives instead of actually becoming Huntsmen.
At some point in time, Gretchen Rainart decided to attend Beacon Academy against the wishes of her brother Hazel Rainart and lost her life in a training exercise. Hazel blamed Ozpin for her death and eventually joined Salem in order to get his revenge.
In addition, Vale's Cross Continental Transmit tower, which was vital for long-distance communication across Remnant, was also built in the center of the Beacon campus. Like the other Huntsman Academies, Beacon houses one of the four Relics.
Fall of Beacon
In the lead-up to the 40th biennial Vytal Festival, a celebration of the peace that followed the Great War, students from the other three Huntsman academies around the world converge on Vale to participate and are welcomed into Beacon.
During the Vytal Festival, Cinder orchestrates a concerted attack on Beacon, which also spills over into the City of Vale. Despite a valiant defense of the Academy from students and staff, Beacon falls to the forces of the White Fang and overwhelming numbers of Grimm. In the aftermath of the battle, Beacon is left in ruins and heavily infested by Grimm. Salem has authority over forces located there, who are under instructions to locate the Relic of Choice. So far, they have been unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, as noted by Peter Port, the other professors have been working diligently in their efforts to reconstruct Beacon. Glynda was named the new Headmistress of Beacon, following the death of Ozpin.
Students with the aspiration to become Huntsmen, whose duty is to keep the peace within the world, strove to attend Beacon.
Beacon Academy was a residential or boarding-type school, with its students residing in dormitories on the campus. The school seemed to provide all living facilities, including hygiene, food, and laundry. However, students were not restricted to the campus outside of lessons and frequently spent their weekends in Vale.
In order to be accepted into Beacon, students typically went to combat schools, such as Signal Academy, in order to prepare for the Academy's rigorous entrance exam. Some candidates, like Ruby Rose, may be invited to the school after showing exceptional skill. However, attending previous combat schools does not seem to be a prerequisite, as some entrants were talented enough to pass the exam without transcripts, such as Blake Belladonna. Students were generally admitted at around age 17, although Ruby was one exception, being admitted at age 15.
In the lead-up to the Vytal Festival, Beacon also participated in an exchange program with the academies of the other three kingdoms of Atlas (Atlas Academy), Vacuo (Shade Academy) and Mistral (Haven Academy). Exchange students participated in some activities, such as sparring matches, and attended events such as the Beacon Dance.
For boys, the Beacon Academy uniform consisted of black suits lined with gold, accompanied by a blue vest and a white shirt with a red tie. Girls wore a red plaid skirt, stockings of various length, and a brown jacket with a tan vest and white shirt with a red ribbon tied at the collar.
Students were given the freedom to customize their attire, as Ruby also wore her hood with her uniform. The dress code did not seem to be upheld very strictly, as students were often seen in casual attire during classes, assemblies, and field trips. Students tended to avoid wearing their uniforms during combat practice.
After being accepted into Beacon, new students had to go through an initiation, after which they were placed into teams.
Students attended lectures, given by staff members such as Professor Port, on various topics intended to prepare them for their work, such as the different kinds of monsters they may encounter.
Practical exercises appeared to be a significant part of the courses; of these, some were held in the Emerald Forest. Other out-of-campus activities included field trips to locations such as Forever Fall.
In "The Badge and The Burden, Pt.2", Weiss Schnee also fights a Boarbatusk in Port's Grimm Studies class. In addition, the curriculum included sparring matches that pit students' skills against each other in a controlled environment.
Students were also sent on missions as part of their time at the academy. First-year students were generally limited to lower-risk missions, such as accompanying detectives into the city and had to be accompanied by a professional Huntsman or Huntress on their first mission. Upperclassmen were known to go on higher-risk missions. Additionally, Beacon provided more one-on-one time with veteran Huntsmen than other Academies
Classes at Beacon operated at a 7:30am to 6pm schedule. The standard schedule for a second year team at Beacon was as follows:
- 7:30 am - Breakfast
- 8 am - Class
- 9:45 am - Class
- 11:15 am - Class
- 12:30 pm - Lunch
- 1:30 pm - Class
- 2:15 pm - Class
- 4 pm - Class
- 5 pm - Self-Directed Sparring
- 6 pm - Dinner
Glynda Goodwitch is shown to fondly recall Ozpin's graduation ceremony to students exiting the Academy, in which Ozpin would deliver a speech stating that Beacon was not a place, and instead an idea planted in each and every student to serve as a hopeful light for others by defending those who cannot defend themselves and protecting one another. Furthermore, Ozpin would promptly kick the graduating students out of Beacon in a friendly, humorous manner due to a distaste of long goodbyes.
Beacon lies along the east edge of the city of Vale and has a wide river that runs through part of it. Vale Airships were used to transport new students to the academy.
A port is seen at the bottom of the cliffs next to Beacon Academy, implying that naval transportation was also possible.
Beacon's boundaries appear to extend rather far, including the large Emerald Forest and some surrounding terrain, such as the Beacon Cliff. The academy also held field trips in areas such as the Forever Fall forest.
Beacon is situated just before an impressive cliff's edge that overlooks the city across the sound. At the top edge of the cliffside are several large, circular aerial docking bays, where airships and Bullheads can dock and allow their passengers to disembark. At the base of the cliffs, a docking bay is also available for water-going surface vessels, and a path from there leads upwards to the top of the cliff.
After arrival, new Huntsmen and Huntress cadets were deposited on a long, wide avenue leading up to what appears to be the main academy buildings and their large, impressive main doorway, which opens up to a large amphitheater surrounded by a double ring of colonnades bisected by the main avenue with the outer ring rising high over the main entrance to the academy itself. The avenue is marked with trees and flag-draped light-poles, as well as a number of impressive aqueduct-like features and archways.
In front of the entrance to the main amphitheater is a large statue and fountain of a Huntsman and Huntress standing atop a rock, beneath which a Beowolf cowers. There's also a large circular pond feature surrounded by a pathway and a garden of red trees. The main avenue is also referred to as the courtyard.
The most prominent part of the academy buildings is a large tower. The tower was surmounted by a number of green spheres or lights (possibly the beacon after which the academy was named), as well as an intricate clockwork mechanism consisting of many interlocking cogs and gears. Situated immediately below this was Ozpin's office, which sat high above the clouds and afforded an impressive view of the surrounding area.
Cross Continental Transmit System
- Main article: Cross Continental Transmit System
Forming the base of Beacon Tower, the CCT allows for seamless communication between locations within the other kingdoms outside of Vale. It is very tall, with an elevator in place to take visitors to a level of their choosing.
The interior of the communications room has several video terminals where a holographic AI operator would patch users to the location where they wished to send their messages.
- Main article: Ozpin's Office
The office of Headmaster Ozpin was situated at the top of Beacon Tower. The chair, table, walls and ceiling all featured intricate clockwork mechanisms consisting of many interlocking cogs and gears. As the highest point on Beacon as well as Vale it sat high above the clouds and afforded an impressive view of the surrounding area.
During the Fall of Beacon the Wyvern destroyed the top of the tower and got petrified holding on to Ozpin's office.
Beacon Academy Statue
The campus of Beacon Academy includes a large statue featuring two figures, one a male and the other a younger-looking female, standing on a rock outcropping. They are both dressed in a robe with hoods over their heads.
The male has a sword in his right hand, raised in a seemingly triumphant gesture. The younger female has a double-edged battle-ax in her left hand and looks off to the side into the distance. Below the two figures is a Beowolf looking in the same direction as the male figure.
The assembly area takes the form of a glass-domed amphitheater with raised bleachers arranged in a circle around a circular stage that has a tall, ornate (possibly wooden) backdrop with blue lights. There is also a large, open area in front of the stage where students could stand.
As well as being used for meetings of the student body, the assembly area could be used for dueling practice, with the raised stage serving as the fighting area, as seen in "Jaunedice" and "Extracurricular". The lighting in this area could be carefully controlled, making it impossible to see the rest of the area, thus giving duelists the illusion of being entirely on their own.
This also appears to be the location from which missions were assigned to students. The missions were displayed three at a time on numerous screens, listing the type of mission, location, and mission start time, among other extra details. Teams assigned themselves to missions by selecting one and then entering their team name.
Beacon Academy has at least one lecture hall not unlike those found in universities. In "The Badge and The Burden", a lecture hall with (apparently) antique drawings of the various known species of Grimm is shown.
This hall has sufficient space for practical demonstrations in front of the students' desks: The front of the lecture area could be used for combat training as seen in "The Badge and The Burden, Pt.2". In "Jaunedice, Pt.2", one of the classes takes place in a lecture hall rigged for a history lesson; the Remnant world, map overlaid by a complex pattern of notes linked with strings, is displayed on the wall behind the lecturer, Bartholomew Oobleck.
All the dorms at Beacon appeared to be co-ed dorms, with males and females having slept in the same room. This allowed all members of a team to share the same living area, regardless of differing genders. The students noted that these rooms are somewhat cramped. However, more organized teams generally found that there was sufficient room to meet all of their needs.
The doors to the dorm rooms were secured using an electronic lock, which could be disengaged using a student's Scroll. It was possible to get locked out if the door closes and a student does not have their Scroll with them.
In "Jaunedice, Pt.2", the blocks containing the dorms are shown to be located in separate buildings some distance from the main academy buildings. Students can be seen running through the Academy Gardens on the way to classes in "The Badge and The Burden".
The Academy includes a large, formal dining room running down the length of a cloister-like hall. The dining room features four long tables running the length of the hall with benches to either side and walking areas located in between. Students were able to sit not only with their teams, but other groups.
Like all parts of the academy buildings, the dining hall is somewhat gothic in appearance. The walls are marked with the academy's crossed-ax logo.
In "Forever Fall, Pt.2", it is established that students were allowed to eat in their dormitories.
The library is a repository of books and other sources of archived information within the Academy. It was generally meant to be a quiet place for students to read and study, though students often used the area as a gathering place, playing board games and socializing instead.
It could also make transcontinental calls to areas outside of the kingdom of Vale, similar to the CCT. The library also has access to several holographic computer terminals, which could be freely used by the students.
There is also a ballroom that was used in the Beacon Dance. The ballroom also doubled as a living area that new students slept in until they were assigned proper quarters, as seen in "The Shining Beacon, Pt.2".
A unisex locker room with washroom facilities is also present. After the initiation, to store weapons and extra armor, each student was assigned a rocket-propelled locker that can be sent to a custom location based on a six-digit code.
Beacon Academy used the Emerald Forest as the location for its initiation. The forest is filled with dangerous wildlife. Students were catapulted into the forest from Beacon Cliff, on purpose-built launch pads emblazoned with the academy's insignia.
Vytal Festival Fairgrounds
During the Vytal Festival, a large fairgrounds consisting of many temporary buildings and tents were set up at the Beacon campus, where visitors from all the kingdoms could congregate and intermingle. There were shops and stalls set up to get food, one of which was run by the Shopkeep, as well as tables and chairs for people to sit.
The fairgrounds are surrounded by a lightly wooded area, but it is not known where it is situated in relation to other Beacon buildings.
Beacon has a farm with chickens somewhere on campus. This farm is freely accessible by students.
- Main article: Beacon Vault
Located deep beneath Beacon Academy tower and accessible by an elevator, the Vault is where Amber, the former Fall Maiden, was kept on life support before she was killed by Cinder Fall. The Vault appears to be a very closely guarded secret. Ozpin and his allies bring Pyrrha Nikos down here when they ask her to assume the mantle of the Fall Maiden.
- Glynda Goodwitch - Headmistress, Former Combat Instructor
- Peter Port - Grimm Studies, Military Strategy
- Bartholomew Oobleck - History, Legends of Remnant
- Thumbelina Peach - Plant Sciences
- Ann Greene - Stealth and Security
- Harold Mulberry - Weapon Crafting and Upkeep
- Ozpin † - Former Headmaster
- Team RWBY - Field graduated and licensed through Atlas Academy
- Team JNPR - Field graduated and licensed through Atlas Academy
- Team CRDL
- Team CFVY - Transferred to Shade Academy
- In "Dance Dance Infiltration", it is revealed that Beacon's Wi-Fi password is "b3acon#". Alternatively, due to the shared name between symbols, the password could be "b3acon£".
- In "Best Day Ever", Ruby mentions that the Vytal Festival occurs at the very end of the school year. In "It's Brawl in the Family", Ruby mentions it is fall, and during "End of the Beginning", autumn leaves can be seen outside Yang's window. These suggest the Vytal Festival and the end of the Beacon school year occur in the fall.
- As seen with Beacon, Signal and Pharos, combat schools in Vale seem to be named after buildings or devices made to navigate, communicate or attract attention.
- In RWBY: Ice Queendom, and the main show, it's implied Ozpin puts the teams together based on who finds the matching set of artifacts during the initiation test; Ruby and Weiss found the knight chess piece just like Yang and Blake.