|Charleston, South Carolina, United States
|Motto||Fides, Honor, Scientia|
|Number of students||950|
|Campus||88 acres (360,000 m2)|
|Color(s)||Garnet and Gray|
|Rival||Pinewood Preparatory School|
|Average SAT scores||1310 (M+CR)|
The Porter-Gaud School is an independent coeducational college preparatory day school in Charleston, in the U.S. state of South Carolina. Porter-Gaud has an enrollment of some 950 students, comprising an elementary school, middle school, and high school, and is located on the banks of the Ashley River. The school has historic ties to the Episcopal Church.
Porter-Gaud was formed in July 1964 from the merger of three schools: The Porter Military Academy (founded 1867), the Gaud School for Boys (founded 1908), and the Watt School (founded 1931). The legal name of the institution remains The Porter Academy.
The Porter Military Academy was formed in 1867 by the Reverend Dr. Anthony Toomer Porter, an Episcopal priest, to educate children orphaned during the Civil War. Established as the Holy Communion Church Institute in 1867, the school was later known as Porter Academy and eventually Porter Military Academy. William Steen Gaud established the Gaud School in 1908. In 1948, Berkeley Grimball purchased the school from Gaud and over the course of 16 years increased the enrollment to nearly 150 as the Gaud School attained a position of eminence among Southern preparatory schools. Ann Carson Elliott, Berkeley Grimball's mother, founded the Watt School in 1931, a coeducational primary school, which served as a feeder school for the Gaud School.
In 1964, the original Porter Military Academy campus in downtown Charleston was sold to the Medical University of South Carolina, and the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (now CSX) donated the current 88-acre (360,000 m2) campus on Albemarle Point. In July 1964, the three schools merged and dropped the military program. The new entity, Porter-Gaud School, opened its doors to 435 male students in grades 1–12. As modern school facilities began taking shape across the Ashley River on the property donated by the railroad, classes met at the old Porter campus.
Porter-Gaud opened its new campus in September 1965 with an enrollment of 469 day students. In the following year it became one of the first schools in the South to adopt an open admissions policy. In 1972, the school admitted female students into the first three grades. By the fall of 1976 the program had been accelerated to include girls at all levels of the school, although Porter-Gaud has retained close ties to its sister school, Ashley Hall.
In May 2008, Porter-Gaud acquired The O'Quinn Schools, a local preschool that dates back to the early 1970s, with the intention of maintaining the names of the schools, faculties, programs, and tuition policies.
Porter-Gaud School graduates an average class size of 83 per year. The four-year average SAT score is 1310 (the average for the state of South Carolina is 1023). Porter-Gaud offers 21 Advanced Placement and 11 Honors courses, in addition to a variety of specialty semester courses. Porter-Gaud School currently offers French, Spanish and Latin. The German program, however, is to be phased out in favor of other languages such as Mandarin Chinese.
- 1 Porter Military Academy
- 2 The Gaud School for Boys
- 3 The Watt School
- 4 The O'Quinn Schools
- 5 Athletics
- 6 School Publications
- 7 Traditions
- 8 Campus and Facilities
- 9 Heads of School
- 10 Notable alumni
- 11 Notable faculty
- 12 Guest Writer program
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Porter Military Academy
On October 25, 1867, while in Magnolia Cemetery, mourning the death of one of his sons, Anthony Toomer Porter, rector of Holy Communion Church, became convinced that he should start a school. Many of his son's friends could no longer attend school, as their families had been impoverished by the war. By December of that year, Porter had founded the Holy Communion Church Institute, using church facilities.
In 1879 the old Federal Arsenal on Ashley Avenue, a block from the church, was put up for sale. Porter went to Washington and secured the help of President Hayes and Gen. Sherman (Porter had saved the life of Sherman's nephew during the war) to convince Congress to lease the property to the school for $1.00 a year.
Adapting the military buildings to school use, it was fitting that the school became known as Porter Military Academy. Both boarding school and day school, students came from towns and farms throughout the Low Country, and eventually from upper South Carolina, other states, and even other countries. From its beginning, the school accepted students from all faiths. It was and is affiliated with the Episcopal Church, but is owned by its Board of Trustees, with the Bishop as an ex officio member. One of the primary goals of the school was, and is, character development, summarized in the motto on the PMA crest: WATCH: Words, Actions, Thoughts, Character, and Habits.
Porter developed a broad curriculum, ranging from Greek to woodworking to athletics. The school day began with bugle call, breakfast, and chapel. Facilities ranged from a dormitory, an infirmary, library, classroom buildings, rifle range, tennis courts, a parade ground, and the notorious "bull ring" where detention students were made to march. Porter Military Academy boasted a naval program, including several surplus Navy vessels. The "Porter Navy" was discontinued, however, after a fire destroyed the ships. Porter also claimed one of the first high school football teams, one of which in a 1913 scrimmage held the Citadel to a 0 to 0 score.
The Gaud School for Boys
Mr. Gaud, born in Canada, had a master's degree from the University of Chicago, and had been headmaster of Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts. After marrying a Charleston girl, he founded the Gaud School in 1908 with 34 students. In 1912 he turned the school over to others in order to teach at Phillips Exeter and then to serve during World War I. He returned to Charleston in 1919 and again took over his school.
Last Graduating Class of 1964 The school was first located in a building behind his home at 29 Legare Street, but in 1920 it relocated to 77 Church Street. From 1928 until 1941 and again from 1957–1961, the school was located at 90–92 East Bay Street on the corner of Adger's Wharf. The school had also been located for a time at 77 Church Street and at 79–81 East Bay Street.
Upon Mr. Gaud's return to Charleston in 1919, his school essentially became a school to ready Charleston boys for successful entry into New England boarding schools. Its high academic standards meant that Mr. Gaud often had a waiting list of applicants. The number of his students ranged from ten to eighteen, and these were divided into two grade levels in his one schoolroom, one class studying while the other recited. After Mrs. Watt's school began in 1931, it was customary for boys to attend her school through the third grade, and then fit into Mr. Gaud's school, which went through the eighth grade. Mr. Gaud would let his students take a break in the school day and go to the nearby playground, where one of the games was called "Gaud ball" – rather like baseball without a bat.
In 1948 Mr. Gaud retired at age 82 and his equity in the school was purchased by Mr. Berkeley Grimball for $125.00. Mr. Grimball began to build his school, a grade at a time, until he had some 180 students. The building on East Bay Street became too small for the growing school. In 1961 Mr. Grimball bought the Rutledge mansion on Broad Street where the students had classes until 1964. Mr. Grimball continued the high academic standards of Mr. Gaud, at first teaching many of the subjects himself. As the school grew, he added fine teachers such as Mr. Maurice McLaughlin, who taught Latin and Spanish, and Admiral Florence, who taught math. Mr. Grimball was a particularly fine teacher of literature and history. The school lacked athletic facilities, but Mr. Grimball at first used the East Bay Street playground and later took boys out to practice on his tennis courts on James Island; soccer was also added to the activities.
The Watt School
Mrs. Watt was Mr. Grimball's mother, so running a school came naturally for him. After her husband died, she began her school in 1931 in the depth of the Great Depression. Her first classes were held in the dining room of her Broad Street home, but she had a small classroom building constructed at the rear of her property. The reputation of her school grew among her neighbors and among those living south of Broad Street. Many of her graduates went on to the Gaud School, particularly after Mr. Grimball became headmaster there. Most of the children would walk to school and then walk home for the traditional 2:00 p.m. dinner. It was a homey and welcoming school and very “Charlestonian.”
The O'Quinn Schools
Founded in the early 1970s by Linda O'Quinn and her daughter Anna, the pre-school quickly became known for its personality and southern charm. The School quickly rose to prominence as the regions major feeder for many private schools and expanded to a second campus. Today The O'Quinn School is a subsidiary of Porter-Gaud, maintaining two campuses on James Island and in Mt. Pleasant.
Porter-Gaud participates in the South Carolina Independent School Association or SCISA.
- Fall Sports: Cheerleading (State Champions 2007 & 2011), Cross Country (State Champions 2010) (Boys'), Football, Sailing, Swimming (State Champions 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) (Boys'), Tennis (Girls'), Volleyball (State Champions 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
- Winter Sports: Cheerleading, Basketball, Ice Hockey, Strength and Conditioning
- Spring Sports: Baseball, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Tennis (State Champions 2009) (Boys'), Track(State Champions 2011) (Boys')
- Bishop England High School – Bishop England is Porter-Gaud's biggest rival and the rivalry is one of Charleston's oldest and most prominent. Porter-Gaud and Bishop England trace the rivalry back to Football in the 1920s, when both schools were located in Downtown Charleston. The rivalry has spread to other sports including Basketball, Tennis, and Volleyball. However, after incidents on both campuses, the Bishops and the Cyclones were unable to battle on their fields for years. In 2011, competition between the two schools resumed after a 4-year hiatus.
- Note: In the fall of 2006, historic rivals PG and BE merged their respective ice hockey teams, marking the first time such a merger has taken place in the school's history.
- Pinewood Preparatory School – Porter-Gaud and Pinewood have become rivals primarily on the basketball court,as well as, on the soccer field in the past decade.
- Ashley Hall – Shortly after the merger, Porter-Gaud began to accept female students. As a result, the historical sister school of PMA, Ashley Hall, became an instant rival, primarily in girls' Volleyball, Tennis, and Basketball.
- Charleston Day School – Porter-Gaud and Charleston Day's lower and middle schools have developed a rivalry in the sports of basketball, volleyball, and, as of late, bantam football.
Early Football Teams
During the early 20th century, Porter Military scrimmaged several University Football teams:
Porter-Gaud has six student produced publications. Each is funded by the school and supervised by a faculty member. Porter-Gaud's Development Office also produces two regular publications. In addition to the eight aforementioned official publications, unofficial student produced and funded weekly newspapers can be found on campus.
- Polygon – School Yearbook
- The Porter Grits – Upper School Newspaper, est. 1920
- Watch – Upper School Literary Magazine, merged with and took over "The Porter Grits" in 2010.
- The Porter Gaudzette (inactive)– Middle School Newspaper, est. 2004
- Daze Between – Middle School Literary Magazine
- The Paper Clip – Lower School Literary Magazine
- The Cyclone Times (inactive) - Lower and Middle School Newsletter
- Porter-Gaud Magazine – Summer/Fall and Winter/Spring magazine, distributed to all alumni, families, students and faculty
- Gaudeamus – weekly electronic publication
- The Frog Weekly (inactive)- a weekly newspaper produced and funded entirely by students, est. Aug. 2004 by five members of the senior class.
- The Weekly (inactive)– a weekly newspaper produced and funded entirely by students.
- Stephen T. Colbert Debate Tournament
- An annual debate tournament on the SC Forensics circuit, hosted by the speech & debate team at Porter-Gaud.
- Halloween Carnival
- An annual carnival held by the Student Council and Parents Guild. It is the primary fund raiser for all school clubs. It has been consistent festivity for several decades. Granted satisfactory weather, the carnival is spread across much of the 88-acre (360,000 m2) campus. During inclement weather the carnival is spread through The Wendell Center, Fishburne Gym, Washington Hall and Breeze Ways.
- Halloween Parade
- An annual parade involving the first grade and senior class. Both classes dress up in their Halloween costumes to march little-hand in big-hand along a traditional route around campus. It is viewed as a right of passage for the seniors in the run-up to graduation.
- Thanksgiving Play
- An annual play performed completely by the first grade with the guidance and leadership of their teachers. The play and accompanying music, delivering the traditional story of Thanksgiving, were written entirely by first grade teachers in the 1970s. There are typically several performances, the most popular of which is for the high schoolers, who enjoy spotting their old part in the play.
- Founders' Day Concert
- An annual concert held on October 21 featuring a revolving theme to celebrate the school's establishment. The concert's origins can be traced back to 1978.
- Holiday Market
- Held in the Wendell Center during the weeks preceding Christmas, the Holiday Market is an annual holiday centric venue for Charleston area artisans to sell their goods. It is hosted by the Parents Guild, which puts the proceeds towards the annual fund.
- Holiday play
- An annual play performed completely by the second grade.
- Holiday Assembly
- A tradition that has become a sort of phenomenon within the community. Occurring on the last day before Christmas Vacation, the assembly features a massive singing competition of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" between the grades. Typically the music is performed live by the Porter-Gaud Jazz Ensemble. In the past years, it has been held in the Wendell Center.
- Porter-Gaud Holiday Classic
- An annual basketball invitational tournament held on the Porter-Gaud Campus at the Wendell Center and Fishburne Gym.
- Winter Semi-Formal
- An annual dance held during the winter months and organized by the students. In the past, the Winter Semi-Formal has been held at the South Carolina Aquarium.
- The Baccalaureate
- Held in the closing days of the school year before graduation, the Baccalaureate is the closing sermon to the graduating class and is held at Rev. Anthony Toomer Porter's home parish, the Church of the Holy Communion.
- The Quarter Pounders
- Porter-Gaud's male quartet group that consists of four upper school students, two tenors and two basses. This group is by invitation only and represents some of the top male vocalists in the Upper School.
Campus and Facilities
The school sits on an 88-acre (360,000 m2) campus, located at the banks of the Ashley River in Charleston, SC. The tract was donated to the newly merged entity by CSX Railroad in 1965.
Heads of School
|Porter Military Academy (1867–1964)||The Gaud School (1908–1964)||The Watt School (1931–1964)||Porter-Gaud School|
Business and media
- Octavus Roy Cohen – Editor, writer
- Stephen Colbert – comedian, host of The Colbert Report
- Joel Derfner – author, musical theater composer
- Shepard Fairey – artist (did not graduate)
- Jack Hitt – writer and contributing editor to This American Life, Harper's and The New York Times Magazine, previously wrote for Rolling Stone and Wired.
- Sallie Krawcheck – Former CFO of Citigroup Inc., Former CEO of Smith Barney and a Member of the Board of Directors at Dell Computers, Head of Bank of America's Global Wealth Management division.
- Archibald Rutledge – South Carolina poet laureate
- Sonny Seiler – attorney, owner of Uga, the University of Georgia bulldog mascot
Politics and military
- George Swinton Legaré – Member of the United States House of Representatives and prominent Charleston lawyer
- Burnet R. Maybank – Depression era mayor of Charleston, Governor of South Carolina and United States Senator
- Charles P. Summerall – United States Army general, Army Chief of Staff
- Kurt W. Tidd – United States Navy rear admiral
- Vic Rawl - Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate, received national attention after losing to Alvin Greene
- Benjamin Hutto served as music director and choirmaster at the school during the 70s through the 90s, during which time the Porter-Gaud Choir recorded several albums.
- Hervey Allen was a famous author from Pennsylvania. His work's include: Anthony Adverse, Israfel, Action at Aquila, and The Forest and the Fort.
- DuBose Heyward was an American author best known for his 1924 novel Porgy. He was also co-author of the non-musical play adapted from the novel, which became the foundation of George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess.
- Wyndham Meredith Manning was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, after which he was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army. Later he took up a teaching position at Pinopolis School in South Carolina resulting in his resignation from the army. Two years later he was elected Commandant of Cadets at Porter Military. He went on to take military other positions, but made three attempts to follow in the foot steps of his father as Governor. He was never successful. He did, however, manage to join the South Carolina House of Representatives with two consecutive victories.
Guest Writer program
- Billy Collins
- Pat Conroy
- Dori Sanders
- Larry Baker
- Peter Meinke
- Jack Weatherford
- Jeannette Walls (A visiting writer, but not part of the program)
- Elizabeth Spires
- Jonathan Tropper
- Cathy Smith Bowers
- Charleston Arsenal, the original site of Porter Military Academy
- "Good Morning Lowcountry: Native Sons", The Post and Courier, December 29, 2005.