Spartanburg Day School (SDS) opened its doors as the first independent school in Upstate South Carolina in 1957. It was established as a college-preparatory school, with 35 students attending grades one through five. The school awarded diplomas to the first six students who graduated as the Class of 1964. Fifty-six years later, the school boasts a 450 student enrollment, a history of 100% college placement for all of its graduates, and a program that educates students from grades 3K through 12.
Under the leadership of the school’s first headmaster, Harry Groblewski, the student body adopted the griffin as the official SDS symbol. The mythological griffin combines an eagle’s head and wings with a lion’s body, representing domination over the earth and the sky. For SDS, the griffin symbolizes the need for individuals to combine intelligence and strength. The school’s motto is “Finis Coronat Opus,” a Latin phrase that translates “The End Crowns the Work.”
The school’s history is replete with “firsts.” In 1967, SDS was the first independent school in the state to be accredited by SACS, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In 1969, SDS was the first school in South Carolina to establish a chapter of the Cum Laude Society, the highest national honor society for academics in independent schools. SDS is a leader among independent schools for the establishment of lifetime sustaining membership on the Board of Trustees to ensure continuity of purpose and the financial well-being of the institution. It is the first in Spartanburg County to implement the International Baccalaureate Program, to introduce Chinese language, and Singapore Math,and to establish College Partnerships with seven local colleges and universities.
Additionally, the school has in place a robust mentorship program for Middle and Upper School students, made possible by a collaboration with over 20 businesses, professionals, and community leaders, while the school’s Center of Innovative Learning (COIL) provides opportunities for faculty professional development.
An extensive scholarships and tuition assistance program attracts and supports motivated, capable students through endowment earnings and the generosity of donors.
The school’s facilities have progressed from very modest beginnings in the Drayton Community Center of Drayton Mills to a vibrant, modern campus on Skylyn Drive. The Mildred Harrison Dent Fine Arts Center was inaugurated in 1999. Since 2006, SDS has benefited from an investment in excess of $20 million in capital improvements. All athletic fields have been reconfigured, and the Pennell Performance Field and the O’Donnell Track were rebuilt. The Webster Athletic Center, Susan A. Bridges Dining Commons, and Presnell Upper School were constructed. The Milliken Center for Learning, comprised of facilities built in the early sixties, was renovated to LEED (Leadership Engineering and Environmental Design) standards, an ambitious transformation that was also a first for a school in South Carolina. Campus-wide landscaping and traffic plans were successfully implemented. These many improvements have dramatically transformed every aspect of campus life. The new spaces serve as inviting and enriching venues for our expert faculty to teach and to continue the tradition of educational excellence that has prepared hundreds of students for a life of success in college and beyond.