Pinewood Celebrates 60 years
Panther Pride radiated from a packed Eidson Gym as students, staff, alumni, and distinguished guests celebrated Pinewood Preparatory School’s 60th birthday.
The celebration, held Jan. 11, featured comments and reflections from distinguished guests, music from Pinewood’s High School Choir, and the inauguration of a new tradition, the Bleacher Dance.
“Pinewood really helped me in many ways,” noted alumnus Moses Smith, who graduated in 2010 and now attends Oberlin College in Ohio. “A lot of people helped me here – I don’t think I would be where I am today without Pinewood and the people here.”
The history may simply read that the Allan Family founded Pinewood School in 1952 with a student body of 52 in grades 1-8. Eventually, the school would merge with another independent school, Summerville Academy in 1980.
However, those who remember the early years well remember founder Henrietta Muckenfuss Allan, whose personality and character was an important defining factor of the essence of the school.
“When it came to iron she had a trainload,” was a quote that immediately came to mind for Bill Walker, an alumnus and former development director who delivered a few remarks on the history of the school.
People who remember her will obviously remember that she ran the school with great business acumen, love for her young charges, and absolute authority, he noted. She demanded the best of everyone under her, students, teachers and staff alike – and she brooked no nonsense. Hers was a mission to build excellence – and that legacy is embodied in Pinewood today, Walker noted
“She would be absolutely thrilled to see her school today,” Walker said.
Guest Speaker Rutherford Smith, a former trustee spoke of the traditions of the early years and the founders’ ideals of vision, mindset, and tenacity. They had a dream of building an institution of quality education and they held to their vision even when the reception of the community was sometimes less than enthusiastic. He exhorted the students to find heroes to emulate and to have the vision and tenacity to follow their dreams.
Rhett Frampton, a senior faculty member, spoke of teaching at Pinewood and what it means to her. She read an excerpt from the classic children’s story, “The Little Engine that Could,” drawing a parallel between the values underpinning the Pinewood experience and the book.
“Pinewood is a family,” she said. “A family is people who love and care for one another, people with whom you feel safe.”
Like the little engine, when one is a member of the Pinewood Family, one is part of a group that seeks challenges, explores new ideas, and believes in truth.
“Pinewood, I know we can,” she said.
After the bleacher dance and remarks from current board member David Price, Head of School Steve Mandell presented a large birthday card covered with hundreds of signatures to the student body. Rep. Chris Murphy and Rep. Jenny Horne then presented Mandell a framed copy of a resolution passed in the SC House of Representatives commemorating Pinewood’s 60 years of educational and community contributions.
In closing Mandell gave the students three points to ponder, telling them to look back, look around, and look forward.
“Look back to those who have come before you, look around to those who are with you,” Mandell said. “Then look forward to a great future.”
Pinewood is not just Summerville’s best school; it’s one of the best in the country,” he said.