The Miller School of Albemarle

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Miller School of Albemarle
Miller School of Albemarle.png
Mind, Hands and Heart
1000 Samuel Miller Loop
Charlottesville, Virginia, 22903
School type Co-ed day & boarding
Founded 1878
Founder Samuel Miller
Head of school Board of Trustees
Headmaster Rick France
Grades 8-PG
Enrolment 185
Average class size 10
Color(s)           Teal and green
Athletics Baseball, basketball, conditioning, cross country, equestrian, golf, lacrosse, tennis, soccer, volleyball, wrestling, Endurance Team
Mascot Mavericks (2008-present)
Red Devils (-2008)
Affiliation VAIS
Boarding 60% of student body
Day students 40% of student body
Co-educational ratio Boys: 65%
Girls: 35%
Curriculum College Preparatory

Miller School of Albemarle was founded in 1878 with a bequest from Samuel Miller, who was raised in Batesville, Virginia, with limited means. His mother realized the value of education and ensured that Samuel was tutored by a teacher who lived nearby. Samuel Miller used his education and his keen intelligence to earn a very handsome living as a market-oriented businessman. Along the way, his charity became legendary in his adopted hometown of Lynchburg, Virginia.

The Last Will and Testament of Samuel Miller provided for the majority of his estate to be used for the establishment of a boarding school for girls and boys to be located on 1,600 acres near his birthplace in Albemarle County.

By 1874, following Mr. Miller’s 1869 death, architects and builders were ready to begin work in designing and constructing the Miller School of Albemarle. This work culminated in August, 1878, with a grand opening and dedication of the central portion of “Old Main”, an impressive Gothic-Victorian brick structure, around which much of MSA educational life still revolves.

In its 138+years, MSA has evolved to the coeducational college preparatory school for grades 8-12 that it is today. Throughout these years, the Miller School of Albemarle has been providing remarkable educational opportunities to promising students. Today, MSA is home to over 185 girls and boys from around Virginia, around the nation, and around the world. . It was designed by Albert Lybrock.[1]


Miller School was founded in 1878 with a bequest of $1.1 million from Samuel Miller, who, as a boy, romped with his brother on the very area on which the school bearing his name is now situated. Near the village of Batesville, Virginia, Samuel Miller was raised in poverty by a mother who realized the value of education and who ensured that Samuel was tutored by a teacher who lived nearby. As an adult Samuel earned his living as a merchant, and his charity became legendary in his adopted hometown of Lynchburg, Virginia.

His will provided for the majority of his estate to be used for the establishment of a boarding school for orphaned children, a school to be located near his birthplace in Albemarle County. By 1874, following Mr. Miller’s 1869 death and the resolution of several legal disputes that arose as children of Mr. Miller’s sought to challenge his bequest, architects and builders began designing and constructing The Miller Manual Labor School. This work culminated in August, 1878, with a grand opening and dedication of the central portion of “Old Main”, an impressive structure of [Victorian architecture], around which much of Miller School life still revolves. "Old Main" is now on the Virginia Historic Landmarks Registry

Nicholas Murrell Page[edit]

The name of Nicholas Page is so closely associated with the history of Miller School that there can be no more appropriate time or place than this to give the leading facts in his life and pay a due and fitting tribute to his memory.

Nicholas Murrell Page was born hear Greenfield, Nelson County, Virginia, November 2d, 1810. In 1814 the family moved to Adair County, Kentucky, In 1827 Nicholas returned to his native town and in the early thirties went into business. A few years later, however, he moved to Batesville, Virginia, and there, with his uncle, Jon. H. Rodes, began the mercantile business, which was continued until the outbreak of the Civil War. It was while keeping store at Batesville that he became acquainted with Samuel Miller. Mr. Miller had located his mother and sister on a farm which is now a part of the Miller School property, and Mr. Page furnished them supplies from his store. At the end of each year, Mr. Page sent in his bill, or presented it in person to Mr. Miller in Lynchburg. Mr. Pate was constantly consulted as to all improvements and additions to be made to Mrs. Miller’s house and farm. The business relations thus begun between the two men ripened into a lasting friendship.

In 1859 Mr. Miller made his will, naming Samuel N. McCorkle, Nicholas M. Page and Chiswell Dabney as executors. Of these, only Mr. Page survived Mr. Miller. Upon the death of Samuel Miller, Mr. Page went to Lynchburg to enter upon the delicate and intricate duties of settling the estate. He found everything in utter confusion; valuable papers were scattered here and there, parties were preparing to contest the will, and serious legal difficulties on all sides, owing to the status of the courts in the Reconstruction period. He temporarily saved the estate by transferring the probation of the Miller will from Lynchburg to Richmond. New obstacles presenting themselves, he employed as counsel the late Judge Wm. J. Roberson, the late John F. Slaughter, and the Hon. Robert T. Craighill. After a great legal battle, running through five years, a compromise was effected, the suites against the estate were dismissed, and Executor Pate was able, after all legacies and court and lawyers’ fees had been paid, to turn over to the Board of Trustees for the establishment and perpetual support of the Miller Manual Labor School of Albemarle more than $1,000,000.

After this great and lasting work had been finished, Mr. Page returned to Batesville and engaged in farming, which he continued until near the end of his long and useful life. He died at the home of his son, Dr. R. L. Page, January 24th, 1902, in his ninety-second year.

Mr. Page will always be remembered as a man of shrewd business sense and incorruptible integrity. Both of these characteristics no doubt made an early and lasting impression on Samuel Miller, so much so that when he made his will, involving the disposition of millions of dollars, he directed that no security be required of Mr. Pate and the other executors. When we think of the chances of fraud that were in easy reach of Mr. Page, and of the immense amount of money he could have taken to himself as sole executor, we wonder whether he was tempted. Whether he was or not, no man has ever said that Nicholas Page put one cent in his pocket that did not rightly belong to him. He deserves the lasting gratitude of the people of Virginia for his management of the estate, and the Miller School owes to his memory the deepest reverence as one of its best and most faithful friends.

~Article taken from Blue Ridge Blast, Miller Manual Labor School publication, 1905


  • 1878: The first curriculum was designed; students received instruction in the classics as well as instruction in agriculture and such trades as carpentry and metal work.
  • 1882: The first baseball team won its initial game, a 55-0 victory over Fishburne Military School.
  • 1883: Thomas Edison’s company designed and supervised the installation of Miller School’s first electric power plant, two Edison Style “K” dynamos and 250 incandescent light bulbs.
  • 1884: Girls board at the school.
  • 1927: With mounting operational expenses and little fund-raising, Miller School began to cut its programs; the girls program was the first to go, not returning until the early 1990s.
  • 1939: Began to phase out its farming operations and, instead, leased the land to generate income.
  • 1948: Won the annual interschool boxing championship.
  • 1950: Began to charge tuition to supplement its trust funds, which no longer generate sufficient yearly revenues to support the school.
  • 1951: As military schools reach new heights of popularity in post-World War II America, Miller School went military with its program.
  • 1964: 224 boarding boys were enrolled at Miller School, many of them 5th and 6th graders supervised and guided by Thomas F. Hart.
  • 1967: School was racially integrated.
  • 1984: Miller became a founding member of the Virginia Association of Independent Schools and charted a course toward a college preparatory curriculum.
  • 1992: The school accepted boy and girl day students.
  • 1994: A girls boarding program began; the military program was de-emphasized (and eventually eliminated).
  • 1999: New state legislation was passed to give Miller School more flexibility and authority in the appointment of members of its own Board of Trustees; sports teams begin to win championships again.
  • 2001: A student was awarded the first-ever Emily Couric Award for Leadership, given annually to a young woman in central Virginia who demonstrated by her good deeds the high ideals, work ethic, and leadership qualities of the late State Sen. Emily Couric
  • 2003: A Point Guard was named VIS Division II Player of the Year.
  • 2004: The school adopted a Strategic Plan, expanded its Board of Trustees, and recommitted to a college preparatory curriculum, and set up a Development Office.
Women at Miller School in 1891
  • 2006: A Point Guard was named VIS Division II Player of the Year.
  • 2007: The largest senior class in Miller School's history was established with 42 students.

2006: The boys varsity baseball team won its first state championship title.

  • 2007: The school's historian, Peggy Flannagan, died at 101 years old.
  • 2007: A Power Forward was named VIS Division II Player of the Year.
  • 2008: School changed its colors from maroon and gray to teal and green. The mascot was no longer the Red Devil; Miller School's athletic teams compete as the Mavericks.
  • 2008: A Power Forward was named VIS Division II Player of the Year.
  • 2009: The boys varsity basketball team won its first state championship title.
  • 2010: The girls varsity basketball team won its first state championship title.
  • 2011: The girls basketball team wins back to back state championships.
  • 2014: The girls varsity basketball team again wins state championship title.
  • 2015: The girls basketball team again wins back to back state championships.

Historic buildings[edit]

Miller School of Albemarle
The Miller School of Albemarle is located in Virginia
The Miller School of Albemarle
Location Southeast of Yancey Mills off VA 635, near Yancey Mills, Virginia
Coordinates 38°0′21″N 78°42′4″W / 38.00583°N 78.70111°W / 38.00583; -78.70111Coordinates: 38°0′21″N 78°42′4″W / 38.00583°N 78.70111°W / 38.00583; -78.70111
Area 90 acres (36 ha)
Built 1874
Architect Anderson,D. Wiley
Architectural style Gothic, High Victorian Gothic, Other
NRHP Reference # 74002102[2]
VLR # 002-0174
Significant dates
Added to NRHP February 15, 1974
Designated VLR April 17, 1973[3]

The school includes architecture designed by D. Wiley Anderson. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The listing includes three contributing buildings on 90 acres (36 ha).[2]

Honor Code[edit]

The Honor Code at Miller School is "I will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor will I tolerate any violation of the honor code by any other student."

The Honor Code is administered in large part by an Honor Committee of student and faculty members. The Honor Committee which conducts hearings with respect to allegations of Honor Code violations. These hearings are conducted in private.

Student on second floor of 'Old Main'

AP courses[edit]

English Literature, English Language, U.S. History, Modern European History, Environmental Science, United States Government, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, French Literature, Spanish Literature, Spanish Language, Economics

Elective offerings[edit]

Visual Arts, Photography, Performance Arts, Woodworking, Music, and Drama

Community outreach[edit]

Students do a service project from 13:00 to 15:00 (EDT/EST) every other Wednesday. Students work with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity or the local hospitals and other need-based organizations. Miller School awards 35% of the student body with need based financial aid.

Extracurricular programs[edit]

The school has a National Honor Society Chapter. Membership in the National Honor Society is based on a combination of factors, including overall GPA, leadership within the school community and service to the wider community. Students who are inducted into the NHS serve as peer tutors during their time at Miller. In addition, the Society performs some sort of community service each year, whether by volunteering with a local organization or raising money to support a local charity.

The student run "Miller School Publications" distributes The Devil's Advocate, the school newspaper which includes student activities, world news, movie reviews, and interviews. Light upon the Hill, the art literary magazine showcases student prose, poetry, photography and art work. "The Hill" is the nickname that students call the campus.

Student government[edit]

Miller School has a student government which consists of a student body President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Each student grade has two class representatives which represent their classes during student government meetings. The student government works with the school's administration to represent the views of the students in decisions made which affect the student body. The student government works with the school's administration and board of directors to raise money and orchestrate student activities such as dances and balls with other boarding and day schools, and student requested dress down days, which are days where the school's dress code does not apply.

Miller school in popular culture[edit]

  • Used for the exterior and interior scenes of the boarding school attended by the characters in the film Toy Soldiers
  • Used for the exterior and interior scenes of the boarding school attended by the characters in the film Major Payne
  • Used for the opening sequence of the boarding school attended by the characters in the film Morgan Stewart's Coming Home
  • Used for the opening credits fly-over sequence in the film Cry Wolf


  1. ^ Morson's Row April 2013 ArchitectureRichmond
  2. ^ a b Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  3. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 05-12-2013.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

External links[edit]