As Grace Church School celebrates this important birthday, we look back 125 years to the elements that brought the school to 2019. We were a different institution in 1894, comprised of 16 choirboys, ages ten to thirteen. The curriculum, planned by choirmaster, James Morris Helfenstein, included arithmetic, geography, spelling, grammar, history of the United States, penmanship and drawing. Latin was optional. The boys had private voice lessons with the choirmaster. There was no tuition.
The choir school grew, and economic imperatives brought about changes - a day school charging tuition in 1934. Still under economic pressure in 1947, a coed school opened, and the Reverend Louis Pitt, rector of Grace Church, described the school he envisioned as one, “giving ethical training without denominational bias.” He said the school’s aim was “to give children…sound mental, moral and physical training…which can have such a marked influence on the development of the future citizens of our city and nation.”
The vision continues today, a school focused on excellence, a curriculum that develops character and integrity, a community that is diverse across racial, religious and socio-economic lines, and a mission devoted to developing civic and globally-minded students.