As soon as remoted as a fledgling frontier city with log cabins, horse-drawn carriages and just a few thousand settlers, Elgin noticed a path to development that may turn out to be acquainted within the suburbs almost two centuries later — via schooling.
The dedication to schooling amongst Elgin’s founders gave beginning to one of many city’s first schoolhouses — Elgin Academy, which this Friday will rejoice a milestone recognizing the college’s earliest goals of openness and group service. College students and staff will conduct a schoolwide day of service to mark the 180th anniversary of state acceptance of the college’s constitution on Feb. 22, 1839.
“We’re spending this month in numerous methods speaking concerning the historical past of the college,” stated Seth Hanford, head of college. “It’s a manner for us to consider who we’re and our relationship with every little thing round us. As we take into consideration the long run … the college’s focus is considering methods to marry the significance of these relationships with all the new issues we learn about how folks study.”
As a part of Friday’s Founder’s Day celebration, highschool college students will volunteer at Feed My Ravenous Kids in Aurora. and center faculty college students will undertake service initiatives for the Salvation Military, Ronald McDonald Home, Operation Gratitude and Coloration a Smile.
Elementary college students will likely be making tie-fleece blankets and packaging gadgets to donate to PADS of Elgin. In addition they will likely be making playing cards to donate to varied organizations, whereas third- and fourth-graders will likely be singing at an area senior heart.
Officers are also urging alumni to decide to serving that day wherever they’re to honor their time on the faculty.
“Service is a large a part of what we do right here at Elgin Academy,” spokeswoman Lynn Martin stated. “Whereas it isn’t a faculty requirement, it’s one thing our college students have all the time had a coronary heart for, and due to this fact, it is applicable to be included in our recognition of our heritage.”
Elgin within the 1860s was a fledgling frontier city with just a few thousand residents however was house to a number of faculties, together with Elgin Academy.
– Courtesy of Elgin Academy
In its earliest days, Elgin had a number of education choices with a women seminary, a boys faculty and the city’s first public faculty, which began in 1844. The academy would open its doorways in 1856 to college students who included metropolis and nation people principally from rich households that would afford paying for a classical schooling.
“Elgin Academy was distinctive amongst non-public faculties of its time for welcoming female and male college students of all non secular denominations,” Elgin Historical past Museum Director Elizabeth Marston stated.
Right now, the academy educates 284 college students from all through the Fox Valley in preschool via 12th grade at its six-acre campus at 350 Park St. off Dundee Avenue. Sustaining small class sizes and emphasizing robust relationships between college students and college has been key to the college’s success, Hanford stated.
The varsity largely is funded via tuition — at the moment ranging between $12,000 and $25,000 a yr, relying on a scholar’s age and grade stage — and roughly $500,000 in annual donations from former alumni, group members and company entities, supporting an annual working price range of roughly $7 million.
Elgin Academy stays independently managed by an appointed board and by no means has been affiliated with any non secular order or group.
The constitution that led to the college, nonetheless, did have non secular roots.
Free Will Baptists first utilized to open the academy, meaning to discovered Northern Illinois Faculty. They laid the inspiration at one of many highest factors on the town, however the challenge stalled and the land sat vacant till 1854, when Joseph Tefft organized its buy for the creation of Elgin Academy as an unbiased highschool, Marston stated.
The “Previous Important” constructing seen atop a hill in late 1856, when Elgin Academy opened its doorways.
– Courtesy of Elgin Academy
The varsity opened on Dec. 1, 1856, at a time when schooling was beginning to be standardized nationwide.
Through the years, Elgin Academy adopted many iterations, together with serving totally different grade ranges, working as a residential boarding program till the 1960s and enrolling worldwide college students.
It did have one break in operations — remaining dormant from 1861 to 1865 throughout the Civil Conflict, when 153 college students, lecturers, directors and trustees went off to combat alongside Union troops. Of these, 19 have been killed or later died of battle wounds.
Elgin Academy’s “Previous Important” constructing at 360 Park St., close to historic downtown Elgin, now’s owned by the town and homes the Elgin Historical past Museum.
– Courtesy of Elgin Historical past Museum
The academy’s humble starting was in “Previous Important,” a three-story, blond-brick constructing designed in a Greek revival type at 360 Park St., close to historic downtown Elgin. It now’s owned by the town and homes the Elgin Historical past Museum.
Seven buildings compose the campus. An extra 11 acres of athletic fields and tennis courts lie a couple of mile east of the campus off Franklin Boulevard, west of Lords Park.
“We have been in the identical place the entire time,” stated Hanford of the Elgin campus.
Through the years, there was discuss of shifting the campus to Barrington, however Elgin held a particular place for college leaders.
“It is decidedly been a part of who we’re,” Hanford stated. “We have been based by the founders of Elgin, who knew that the best way to construct a metropolis is to have top-rated schooling. That thread has been constant for us our complete existence. There’s a lengthy historical past of schooling on this city and we really feel like we’re a giant a part of that.”