Montverde Industrial School was created to educate children from families of limited means, and provide them with training for “the heart, head and hand.” The school opened on September 23, 1912, in a two-room wooden building and a church, with two teachers and a small amount of equipment. The early years of the school were marked by fast growth and hard work. Dormitories were constructed on the campus, along with a broom factory and a canning factory. Students were expected to help earn their keep by working in various capacities on the campus. Please expand each decade for a brief look back at the path we as a school have taken over the past 100 years.
According to MVA Centennial archives, “In these beginning years, H.P. Carpenter served as Head of the School, while his wife served as Lady Principal… Initially, MIS employed approximately 20 faculty and staff members and nearly 200 students … The Montverde Industrial School opened on September 23, 1912. Tuition was $132 a year per student…and they were required to earn half of their tuition by working for the betterment of the school and community. At the Montverde Industrial School, boys were required to work in the fields farming potatoes, corn, and beans or assist in the school maintenance shop repairing the infrastructure of the school and campus buildings. Girls were also expected to work in the make-shift kitchens preparing food for daily meals, or in the living room making curtains, clothes or rugs. Both boys and girls labored at a nearby steam cannery canning vegetables, fruit and meats enriched from the school’s area farm.”
“Realizing that our community is within the American society, we strive to instill in our students an appreciation to keep current on events that are of concern to Americans. Guidelines for behavior are formed, which, we believe, are best suited to develop character conducive to positive citizenship within the American setting… Hence, we strive to promote a desire to honor each other’s rights and duties within a system of mutual responsibilities and law and order. In this light, our young men and women will face the world of tomorrow with a quest for harmony among men and preservation of individual worth. They will do so in a rational and logical way which will result in learned solutions to complex problems”
In the early part of the decade, many Montverde Academy students were offered the opportunity to travel to Europe and visit countries such as Italy, Austria, and Germany in order to broaden their understandings of different cultures. This continued throughout the decade with perhaps the most memorable of these trips occurring in 1987 when Dr. and Mrs. Stephens, along with several Montverde Academy students and chaperones, visited to South Korea and Hong Kong, China. Throughout the 1980’s, talent shows, sports events, and clubs were very popular and prospered at MVA. Clubs included more miscellaneous options for students to choose from – such as the Cooking club, the Weightlifting club, the War Games club, Photography club, Backgammon club, Bible club, Horseback Riding club, Senior Volunteer club. During this period, archive photos suggest that Montverde Academy became more focused on neatness, personal grooming, and fitness than in the 1970’s – yet a school (as exemplified in the MVA 1985 yearbook) always reminding students that there is “No Better Time to Improve the Body and Mind” than when one “Perfected Work and Play”. The Student body of the 1980’s included international students from as far away as Brazil, Japan, Mexico and Saudi Arabia and as nearby as Winter Garden, Florida. MVA boys’ and girls’ JV and Varsity teams competed in basketball and volleyball and also had successful boys’ track and field and soccer team – as well as a very strong cheerleading squad. In 1989, a very important administration appointment was made. Mrs. Sandra O. Stephens, wife of then MVA President Walter L. Stephens, was appointed Vice-President of Montverde Academy and Director of Admissions and Public Relations. By the end of the decade, America had witnessed cultural battles associated with a world-wide economic recession, observed geopolitical conflicts relating to economic policies, “culture-wars” surrounding funding for the arts and improvements in nuclear energy policy, the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, the invasion of Grenada, and unrest in the regions of Beirut, Afghanistan, and the Middle East. President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to end the “Cold War” and the Berlin, Germany, “Wall” was “torn-down” beginning in 1989 – a symbolic decision to end regional separation due to communist rule that “opened the door” for German reunification. Through all of this, Montverde Academy remained focused on doing what they had done for over fifty years: Developing the minds and bodies of students by creating an environment where students were provided with opportunities and tools to attain a (as a MVA handbook from 1986 states) “deeper desire for learning and a greater appreciation of the higher values of life.” Perhaps a message from the President, Dr. Stephens in a 1988 Student Handbook best exemplifies the Montverde Academy mission and philosophy of achieving student success when he writes of “Stars to Steer By” from “a book we have here at the Academy”:
The best defense is common sense. Opportunity and ability add up to responsibility.
Spend your life for something that will outlast it. The road to success is always under construction. Every man is the architect of his own future. Even perfect people buy pencils with erasers. Running people down is a bad habit, whether you are a gossip or motorist.
Be sure your path leads upward; there is always room at top. You may delay, but time will not.
History of School Presidents
- H.P. Carpenter, 1912-1944
- L. Neal Smith, 1944-1945
- H.P. Carpenter, 1945-1947
- Karl Lehmann, 1947-1949
- D.P. Hawkins, 1949-1950
- L. Neal Smith, 1950-1951
- Grover M. Ford, 1951-1952
- L. Neal Smith, 1952-1955
- Henry D. Roberts, 1955-1968
- Walter L. Stephens, Jr., 1968-1999
- Kasey C. Kesselring, 1999-Present
Alma Mater (TMS)
Oh, Montverde, our guide and friend Dear School, we sing your praise That you and we may once again bring work, success And play to all our days. Take thou our minds, our hands, our hearts; Fill them for your purpose high, That in our lives you may impart Strength and growth anew for each day passing. Oh, Montverde, Our guide and friend, We sing your Love and praise. For home so dear you e’er Have been All hail, Montverde, all hail, Our guide and friend.
Alma Mater (Montverde Academy)
This is my Montverde Academy My home away from home Where friends are friends forever Despite how far we roam My heart swells with pride Every time I see The purple and the gold, The Eagles soaring free And since nineteen twelve In these we all believe Knowledge and good character, Diverse community And though I’ll leave someday Out in the world I’ll be My heart will always linger At Montverde Academy Written by Aubrey Connelly & Lindsey Drnek ’06
Purple and Gold
Montverde Academy Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees meets two times per year in April and November. The Board is also broken down into the following committees that meet on an as needed basis:
- Admissions Committee
- Trustee Selection Committee
- Finance, Development & Investment Committee
- Executive Committee
- By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation Committee
- Buildings and Grounds Committee
- Programs and Services Committee
- Long Range Planning Committee