Jerry Summers: Preparatory Schools At Sewanee

Sunday, March 29, 2020 - by Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers

A recently released 280-page written history of the preparatory school divisions of the University of the South (Sewanee), March On, has been completed and is available for purchase by the public. 

 

In its December 9, 2019, edition of the local newspaper, an article by Bailey Bashsam with The Sewanee Mountain Messenger as staff writer briefly describes the contents of the book. It was initially started as a project by Author Nathan Schultz while a student at the University of the South and he participated in its completion after graduation.

 

Phil White, Sewanee Class of 1963, is also one of the book’s editors and wrote the section on the Sewanee Academy.  Waring McGrady, Sewanee Class of 1959, is another editor who is credited by White with “making it flow smoothly, and together we worked to make it a bit more readable.”   

 

After Sewanee’s cornerstone was laid in October 1860 and following the Civil War, the university reopened in 1868.  A preparatory school known successfully as the Junior Department (1867) evolved into the Sewanee Grammar School (1869-1908), the Sewanee Military Academy (1908-1971) and the Sewanee Academy (1971) after it dropped its military program.  A memorial plaque is located at All Saints Chapel at the University that was erected in honor of the 53 students of Sewanee Military Academy who served and died in World War II after making the Supreme Sacrifice.

 

In April 1981 the university board of trustees voted to merge the academy with St.

Andrews School on the 550-acre St. Andrews campus just outside the gates of the University Domain.  This academy had also become co-educational with the closing of the St. Mary’s Preparatory School for Girls which closed at the end of the 1967-1968 academic year and allowed the transfer of 68 girls to the Sewanee Academy.

 

Activities of the preparatory schools often merged with the upper-class institution as the battalion of SMA cadets would regularly march to the late Friday night movie at the “Owl Flick” auditorium in the lower level of the Thompson Student Union.  The long overdue history of the preparatory schools’ divisions of the University of the South is complete and available for purchase.

 

Phil White reports that “all proceeds from the book sales would (will) go directly to the Sewanee Trust for Historical Preservation.”  “Book stores or other businesses that desire to market March On may receive instructions by writing the Trust at P.O. Box 21, Sewanee, TN 37357.  Individuals may send a check or money order for $29.95 per book and $5 shipping and handling for one book and an additional $1 shipping and handling for multiple books shipped to the same address.

 

Said publication fills an important gap in the historic and colorful past of what has become known at the Domain of the University of the South.


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Jerry Summers

(If you have additional information about one of Mr. Summers' articles or have suggestions or ideas about a future Chattanooga area historical piece, please contact Mr. Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com  


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