A BRIEF HISTORY OF TRINITY EPISCOPAL DAY SCHOOL, NATCHEZ, MISS.
Trinity Episcopal Day School traces its roots to 1888. After the completion of Trinity Episcopal Church’s Parish House that year, one of the first acts of Trinity Church’s rector, The Rev. Frederick Ancrum De Rosset, was the opening of a parish school for young ladies. Mrs. Mattie Yerger was principal.
The parish school also housed the first kindergarten established in Natchez. This took place in November 1888, with Mrs. Hildreth as directress and Miss Jennie Stietenroth and Miss Aimee Young as assistants.
In 1950, under the leadership of the church’s rector, The Rev. Louis O’Vander Thomas, Trinity Church sponsored the official opening of Trinity Episcopal Day School. A nursery school for four-year-olds was held in the church’s Parish House. Later, nursery and kindergarten classes were held in a two-story house on the corner of South Commerce Street and Orleans Street, a former church rectory that no longer stands.
Expansion of the Day School began in 1962, after the church’s vestry voted to purchase Magnolia Hall at 215 South Pearl Street from Mrs. George Armstrong. The purchase took place in September 1963. After an architect was engaged, plans were drawn up to convert the home into classrooms. Nursery and kindergarten classes were moved to Magnolia Hall, and grades were added each year: first grade in 1965, second through fifth grades in 1966, sixth grade in 1967, and seventh grade in 1968.
In 1969, the Trinity Church congregation voted to expand the school further. Trinity Episcopal Day School’s high school building was erected at 321 Highway 61 South. The school stands on a 14.1-acre tract donated August 7, 1967, to the rector, church wardens, and vestrymen of Trinity Episcopal Church by Frederick Schuchardt in memory of his family, who for generations had been members of Trinity Church.
In 1970, an elementary school building was erected on the south side of the high school. Classes were moved there from Magnolia Hall, which was sold back to Mrs. Armstrong in 1974. In 1971 Trinity Episcopal Day School's first high school senior class commencement exercise was held. Since that time, the school has offered classes from pre-nursery for three-year-olds through twelfth grade.
In 1973-74, with funding from R. B. Sharp and others, another elementary school building was added on the north side of the high school. Other campus additions were also added through the years, including a football stadium, tennis courts, a baseball field, and, in the early 1990s, an outdoor chapel.
In 2000, the school became an independent Episcopal school, structured under the Louis O’Vander Thomas Education Foundation. This corporation’s purpose is to maintain and operate the school as a not-for-profit enterprise. Members of the corporation are parents of children enrolled at the school. An elected board of trustees, a majority of whom are Episcopalians, administers policies for the school on behalf of the vestry of Trinity Church.
The school is fully accredited with a curriculum that is college preparatory with a Christian base. Students are offered a varied athletic program and other extracurricular activities. Recent total enrollment from pre-nursery through twelfth grade totaled several hundred students.
Trinity Episcopal Day School has a record of hundreds of successful graduates who are leaders in various careers across the country.
TRINITY EPISCOPAL DAY SCHOOL LEADERS
The Rev. Louis O’Vander Thomas acted as director of the school in the early years, assisted by principals. Others in charge have been:
Peter Psikogios, 1974-1981
Walter Stampley, 1981-1982
Ronald P. Sykes, 1982-1988
Ray Worthington, 1988-1992
Robert Owens, 1992-1997
John Suitor, 1997-1998
G. C. Gibson, 1998-1999
Michael Hannan, 1999-2000
Delecia S. Carey, 2000-2009
Jackie B. Ezell, Interim, 2009-2010
Cynthia Smith, 2010-2011
Brandt Dick, Interim, 2011-2012
Les Hegwood, 2012-2016