SPA Archives

A Summit School winter dance in 1959, ten years before boys and girls would come together in one educational building.

Merger and losing collective memory

As time goes on, the history of Summit School becomes more distant and is largely celebrated by those who are part of the history. In 1969 Summit School merged with St. Paul Academy and formed a co-educational school. The merger was appropriate for the times, and many other schools were merging as well. However, the merger wasn’t necessarily equal. Curriculum and student expectations were largely carried over from Summit School. However, most of the male teachers from St. Paul Academy stayed a part of the staff, while very few of the female Summit School teachers were kept through the merger. Boys had no uniform and girls wore a specific outfit every day to school.

“One thing that comes across often when you look at schools formed by mergers is that one school or one set of people feel left out. There was the feeling of it being a hostile takeover,” Goldie said.

With the rapid and recent changes that SPA has faced in the 21st century, the school’s origins become more distant. Both SPA and Summit School built the foundation for SPA current culture, however, the core of what the school stands for is derived much more from the latter. To acknowledge this is to honor it.

One way in which SPASS has honored this history is with an entire Summit School reunion in 2017. A potential 400 women could have attended, and the reunion had an astonishing turnout of 100 Summit School graduates.

The history becomes increasingly fragile as fewer and fewer people remember it

— Dorothy Goldie

“It was a success and it was really important to do. I think that we were successful because people really felt positive about the experience,” Goldie said.

As part of the reunion, members of the all-girls choir, Summit singers, performed for the attendees.

“The most meaningful to me was the Summit song, which you don’t hear very much anymore. When the young people got up there and sang it, and everybody stood up it was really nice. And I have a feeling that it isn’t sung in this school anymore and it’s too bad because I think that it’s important” Weyerhauser said.

Aside from school reunions, the community does very little by way of honoring the Summit School half of the SPASS origin. Additionally, the Summit School 50 year reunion which will occur in 2019 will be the last to be celebrated as an individual school, and separately from the 50-year reunion of St. Paul Academy.

“The history becomes increasingly fragile as fewer and fewer people remember it,” Goldie said.

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