Training takes place at this time each year for our school board and administrative staff to ensure we have standards in place representing the expectations of an Episcopal education and to keep us all mindful of best practices in following our board’s bylaws.
This year, the Rev. David Madison, executive director of the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools, encouraged us to tell people about the four pillars of an Epsicopal education. He also reminded us of the importance of sharing our school’s story in the community.
As I thought about telling our story, it became evident that our school is very much meeting our accrediting organization’s expectation of having the four pillars in place. I would like to share and tell you about our school’s history.
St. Cyprian’s Episcopal School has been educating children in the Episcopal tradition since before it was chartered in 1955. For several years there had been kindergarten and first-grade classes offered in the parish house.
Characteristics relevant to Episcopal schools, known as the Four Pillars of an Episcopal education, are academic excellence, a specific time set apart for collective worship, spiritual formation as part of each day and emphasis on service to others.
In June 1955, the school’s first headmaster and rector of the church, the Rev. John F. Caskey, was called to come to Lufkin from Trinity Church Galveston, where he had established a similar school.
Upon establishment of the school’s charter, Mr. C.P Sumners accepted the position of president of the school board. He was followed in those early years by John Henderson, James Gibbs, James Clark, James P. Hunter III, Ross W. Vic Jr. and many more community leaders throughout the years willing to offer their leadership and expertise to move the school forward to where it is today, 66 years later.
The school was founded to give a religious foundation for learning and to provide personal attention in small classes. The school board was, and continues to be, dedicated to promoting academic excellence in the Episcopal tradition.
Early school boards also were dedicated to the classroom teacher and the importance of her influence. This is what was shared in an early Parent, Student, Faculty Handbook: “The teacher is the most important influence in establishing the climate in the classroom. The guidance-minded teacher organizes the classroom in ways that permit each child to feel a sense of worth and self-respect.
As the children feel the teacher’s acceptance, they are able to be friendly and supportive to one another. The result is a friendly and harmonious group.”
This school is a continuing legacy of great individuals who had a vision of offering a choice for parents and children in our community and surrounding counties. Classrooms dedicated to spiritual formation, character-building opportunities and service to others; are all part of day-to-day classroom experiences grounded in outstanding academic experiences leading to student success.
Small classrooms, outstanding teachers and religious foundations are being created and an environment in which children feel a sense of self-worth and self-respect. The good work continues, and we will always be grateful for school boards past and present that lead us forward and share the vision established in 1955.
That’s the St. Cyprian’s Episcopal School’s story and we are happy to tell it again.