Mother Marge Blessing the Animals
Emmanuel Episcopal Day School opened in 1966 with one kindergarten class. The rector, Rev. L. Robert Graves, appointed Kathryn Shirkey as teacher. In 1967, a four-year-old class of ten students, taught by Reba Easty, was added Alice Buchanan was then hired as a kindergarten teacher and as the first Day School Director. Mrs. Buchanan strengthened the educational goals of the school by introducing curriculum development, teacher in-service training, and parental involvement. The curriculum emphasized Christian education and also included field trips, art, dramatic play, music, language development, science, storytelling and reading.
As the school prospered, age-appropriate furnishings and hands-on supplies were added. Centers for home living, dress-up/imaginary play and block building were created. In addition, indoor and outdoor physical development equipment was provided. By 1972 there was a need for a school board to write a constitution, establish financial policies, and oversee the general operation of the school. The rector appointed Alice Buchanan along with Pat Soles, Chair; Jo Ann Brenner, Secretary; Walter Brewster and Charles Hughes, Vestry; and Mary Ann Howard, at-large to serve two-year terms.
In June 1974, Elsie Stakes became the Day School Director. In the early morning hours of her first day on the job, arsonists set fire to the parish hall. The blaze engulfed the school and destroyed ninety-five percent of its equipment. Rebuilding became a major task.
When Fr. Mike Vermillion was rector, enrollment reached ninety pupils. By 1988, enrollment had grown to more than 100 students. When Elsie Stakes retired after 14 years of dedication to the school, Fr. Peter Courtney appointed Carol Scarfato as its third director. Under her wonderful leadership a two year-old program began, computer instruction was added to the curriculum and teacher salaries were significantly increased. In order to unify the mission of the school and the parish, the school board was replaced with a commission of Emmanuel parishioners, which oversees and administers school policy. Parents and teachers are welcome to attend their monthly meetings.
Children’s Chapel in 1980’s
Under the guidance of the new rector, Fr. John Baldwin, in 2001 Emmanuel renovated its facilities and added a beautiful, spacious education wing where the Day School can provide exceptional programs, including our Thanksgiving Feast, Christmas Program, Teddy Bear Picnic, Blessing of the Animals, Fiesta Day, Splash Day and Spring Graduation Program, as well as other special celebrations. A new playground was built in 2003, due in part to the generosity of parishioners Pat and Brooks Harris. The Day School program now provides weekly music, Spanish and computer classes as well as after-school sports, ballet and art classes.
2002 Dedication of the New Day School Building
Emmanuel Episcopal Church Day School continues to offer a progressive, Christian environment which fosters the social, pastoral, and educational needs of our youngest citizens. The school carries out its mission by enriching our families as well as our community.