50 Milestones and Memories

Celebrating 50 Years – 50 Milestones and Memories

In honor of The Grosse Pointe Academy’s 50th anniversary, September 3, 2019, please enjoy the following list. These are just 50 of the many milestones and memories that have shaped our school’s history. Share your favorite milestones and memories with us by emailing our Director of Marketing and Communications, Lani Martin, at lmartin@gpacademy.org, and we’ll feature them on social media.

Early Days
#1 – 8

  • 1867 – The Society of the Sacred Heart obtains the property that is now The Grosse Pointe Academy.
  • 1886 – The Early School Building is built and used as a free school for the children of St. Paul’s parish until 1927. 
  • 1887 – The construction of the Lake Shore Building is complete.
  • 1899 – A French Gothic Chapel is added to the northwest side of the building. 
  • 1929 – The Chapel is renovated and expanded in Tudor Gothic style.
  • 1960s – The Montessori program is implemented.
  • 1969 – The nuns deed the property to a lay Board of Trustees in February.
  • 1969 – The Grosse Pointe Academy opens its doors as a co-educational day school on  September 3.

#9 – 16

  • 1977 – Campus buildings are collectively designated as a Michigan State Historic Site.
  • 1978 – GPA joins the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). 
  • GPA adopts the nun’s tradition of surprise Congé holidays 
  • GPA families are invited to a painting party to help paint the school barn white.
  • A bench is placed outside Principal Reeside’s office as a spot for students to think about their behavior and actions.  
  • Cross country skiing on campus is a regular GPA community weekend activity. 
  • “Corner of the Sky” is implemented as the GPA graduation song. 
  • The first Chapel Giving charity drive is held during the Christmas season. 

#17 – 26

  • 1980 – The Action Auction moves from clipboards to computers.  
  • 1984 – The bulldog is adopted as the official school mascot.
  • 1984 – After being held at various offsite venues, the Action Auction is held on campus for the first time.
  • 1985 – The French Country Fair is held to celebrate the Early School’s centennial. 
  • 1987 – GPA is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1987 – The Laura Timmis wing and “Time for Dandelions” bronze statue are added to the Early School. 
  • 1989 – The Chapel walls and ceiling are repainted by Detroit’s renowned Eugenio   family. 
  • 1988 – The first Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day is held.
  • “Peace, Peace, Peace” is adopted as a signature song.
  • An ice-skating rink is built on the Moran side of the main building during winter, so children can skate during recess.

#27 – 33

  • 1990 – The Tracy Fieldhouse is built through the CARE Campaign.
  • 1994 – The 25th Anniversary Celebration is held, family picnic-style, on campus.
  • 1994 – The first annual William Charles McMillan III Lecture is held, with speaker Dr. Ernest L. Boyer.
  • The “Tres Bien Shoppe” school store opens off the main quad and is staffed by students and parent and alumni volunteers.
  • The first Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony is held.
  • The Lower School all-girl French Choir is formed and performs at various community events.
  • The Big/Little Buddies program is implemented.

#34 – 37

  • 2000 – GPA becomes certified as a Michigan Green School for the first time.
  • 2000 – The first CATCH Fun Run benefiting Sparky Anderson’s children’s charity is held.
  • 2007 – The “Tradition and Tomorrow” renovation of the Fisher Library, Valade Art Loft, classrooms and lobby is complete.
  • 2003 – The Girls Volleyball team celebrates a 12-year winning streak (308 wins, 0 losses).

2010s and Beyond
#38 – 50

  • 2011 – The Action Auction moves to a fully online system.
  • 2012 – Campus-wide Wi-Fi is implemented.
  • 2013 – The outdoor Garden Classroom, including garden beds and pergola, is built.
  • 2014 – “Les Jardin des Amis,” a garden and steel cross pattée sculpture are installed at the center of the main school circle in honor of Action Auction. 
  • 2015 – The Garden Classroom is designated as a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation, North America’s largest wildlife conservation and education organization.
  • 2016 – The barn is repainted red.
  • 2017 – Thirty-three trees are planted on campus as part of the 50th Action Auction sponsorship program. 
  • 2017 – The first international exchange student program is implemented.
  • 2018 – The cafeteria is renovated with a new floor, furniture and original paintings. 
  • 2019 – The Tracy Fieldhouse receives a new wood floor. 
  • 2019 – The 50th Anniversary Cocktail Celebration is held in the Fisher Library.
  • 2019 – The new Middle School “Center for Creative Studies” classroom is completed. (exact date coming soon).
  • 2020 – The Lower Gym renovation is completed (exact date coming soon).