Children smiling and laughing with arms reaching toward the sky marked the culmination of festivities as St. Mary’s Episcopal School celebrated its 30th anniversary and Oklahoma’s centennial with a balloon release.

Students also plan to bury a time capsule to commemorate the current era of the community and school.

Established in 1977 as an outreach of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, the parish day school opened its doors with 20 students and three teachers. Today, it has grown to more than 200 students and is fully accredited as an early childhood and elementary school.

Kay Salyer, the first school board president in 1977, and Beth Peacock Watson, the first director, were both present.

“It is amazing that such a tiny dream could have turned into this dream come true,” Salyer said.

Thirty years ago Salyer and Watson were given $100 and instructions to go and start a school.

“A discount store was going out of business so we bought most of our supplies there,” Salyer said.

“My mother also passed away that year so many donations were given in her name, and with them we bought paint and some playground supplies.”

Lee Smith also was present for the activities. A former school supply salesman, he volunteered to be the liaison between the school and the contractor in the construction of the last three school buildings.

“I oversaw the construction of the first building, worked hard, learned a lot and really enjoyed it,” Smith said.

He enjoyed it so much that he oversaw the construction of the next two buildings on the new campus.

“I stayed under budget on the first one as well as on the other two buildings on the new campus,” Smith said.

In 1981 Father David Egbert joined the school as rector, and by then the school had doubled in size.

“It was such a marvelous transformation to go from a one-room schoolhouse to this grand acreage with more than 200 students,” he said.

Included in that number are his grandchildren, third-grader Courtney Glenn and kindergartner Max Egbert.

Headmaster Nancy Hetherington has been head of the school since 1990 and was on staff for five years before that beginning in 1980.

“It is very rare in one’s lifetime to be able to see the growth and travel the journey of a school,” Hetherington said. “It is a privilege and honor to come from such a simple beginning to where we are today.

“As I looked around the room today I got a familiar feeling as I saw the same smiles and looks on the children’s faces as those on the faces of the children in photos taken 30 years ago.”

Now at 505 E. Covell Road in north Edmond, the school boasts a 51-acre campus and a staff serving more than 140 families. | 341-2121, ext. 171

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