In 1946, members of First Presbyterian Church in Victoria decided they wanted to open a school to provide a quality education for their youth while fostering a Christian environment. With guidance from First Presbyterian Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, their dream became a reality. On Monday, September 9, 1946, Presbyterian Day School opened its doors for classes to begin.
One first grade and two pre-school classes were held the first year with an enrollment of forty-eight students. Classes were held in the Fellowship Hall of First Presbyterian Church, then located downtown on the corner of Goodwin and Liberty Streets. In 1947, Presbyterian Day School received accreditation from the State Department of Education. It continues to maintain this status today.
The founding principal and first grade teacher was Miss Lucy Mackrell. Lucy served as principal from 1946 – 1957. Lucy stood in the wings of the school though the years and returned from time to time to assume interim leadership as new principals were selected. Until her death in 1995, next to First Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Day School was uppermost in her heart.
Festivities of Presbyterian Day School that have become traditions include a Silver Tea and May Fete. The first Silver Tea was held in 1948 as a fundraiser for the school. It was a very dressy affair fashioned after a British “High Tea.” Guests were encouraged to put silver monetary donations in the silver tray atop an antique table.
A May Fete was held at the close of the first school year, beginning with the coronation of a King and Queen. A band played to entertain the students and a contest was held featuring children’s pets. Other attractions included a fish pond, pitch the ball booth, country store, concession stand, and a doll house filled with miniature furniture.
The Silver Tea was changed to a Silver Coffee in 1966, when the school moved to its current location on Navarro Street. Today, the Silver Coffee & Tea included a luncheon, silent auction, and the sales of children's crafts, books and baked goods. In 1963, the May Fete was changed to a Spring Festival complete with games and activities for all of the students and families to enjoy.
Although the events have changed over the years, tradition remains very important at Presbyterian Day School, and new traditions have added to the richness of the Presbyterian Day School experience. An Ice Cream Social, Halloween Trick-or-Treat Parade, Thanksgiving Feast, Christmas Program, School wide Picnic, and Splash Day have become yearly celebrations.
Over the years Presbyterian Day School has offered classes through the fourth grade. Presently, classes for children eighteen months through Kindergarten are held. Current enrollment is approximately 100 students, with a staff of eight teachers, five aides, and a Music/Spanish/Kid-Fit teacher, all under the direction of Melissa Samudio.
The idea of a school did not originate with this church, but with John Calvin in Geneva Switzerland. Calvin, endeavoring to meet the demands of both secular and religious training, conceived the idea of a school in which the fundamentals of religion were given as a background upon which to build the life of a well-rounded citizen.
While this school is under the control of the Session of the First Presbyterian Church of Victoria, Texas, it is not a parochial school, and further, while the fundamentals of religion are taught, it does not interfere in any way with the child's or family's religious denomination, but seeks to strengthen each home represented in its religious affiliation. Over 70 years later, the ultimate purpose of Presbyterian Day School remains, as stated by Calvin, to produce an individual fitted and prepared for the task of life.
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We look forward to meeting you and you family soon and showing you first hand how an early childhood experience at Presbyterian Day School can put your child on the right educational path.