Celebrating Our Legacy, Shaping Our Future
Meadowbrook School was founded in 1919 as an independent, non-sectarian, country day school for boys from Kindergarten through 8th grade.
Advertisements published by the founders, a group of families whose names included local luminaries such as Robert Sewell and J. Herkness, said the school "would combine the latest and most improved methods of instruction, together with the opportunity of country life."
The Rev. John White Walker served as the first headmaster for more than 20 years. He retired in 1941 when, for the first time, he found that the students could out-run him on the track. Eleven students were enrolled that first year. Just like today's students, they attended classes in the three-story building surrounded by more than 16 acres of fields and woods.
In the early the 1920s, Meadowbrook had become a thriving school for the sons of many prominent families in the area, whose names now adorn the mastheads of Philadelphia businesses and law firms: Lippincott, Drinker, Hallowell, Ewing and Sinkler were among the names of the early graduates. Local philanthropist Eugene "Fitz" Dixon was commended for bringing in "good movies for rainy days" in 1933. In 1940, the upper school boys' orchestra was directed by a young student from the Curtis Institute: one Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein later wrote a letter to Meadowbrook saying he well- remembered his experience there: he was pelted with chalk when he tried to conduct his musicians in a composition by Rimsky-Korsakow.
Although it started out as an all-boys school, Meadowbrook became a co-educational institution in the 1970s. Also, in the 1970s, Meadowbrook eliminated the 7th and 8th grades to become singularly focused on elementary education as it is today.
In 1927, the school catalog boasted that Meadowbrook graduates "easily enter" local boarding schools and other private schools. "At such schools as Penn Charter, the Episcopal Academy, St. Paul’s, and the Hill School, they acquit themselves in a manner which is a credit to themselves and their school," said the catalog. The same can be said today. Meadowbrook graduates are actively pursued by all of the leading independent schools in the area. Many Meadowbrook graduates have gone on to distinguished careers.
Meadowbrook still remains faithful to the sentiments expressed in the first advertisement for Meadowbrook in 1919: "The aim of the school will be to give (children) such training as will develop equally the mind and body, laying a foundation for perfect (adulthood) in years to come. The moral growth of the child will also be carefully nourished for the upbuilding of character." Through the years, Meadowbrook has remained true to that mission – to build that foundation for our children by providing the very best in elementary education.
1919 - Seven men, George Satterthwaite, Charles McInnes, Anderson MacPhee, Robert Sewell, John Martin, J. Herkness and John Warren applied for charter for The Meadowbrook School.
John White Walker - First Headmaster 1919-1941
Student Population - 12 boys in grades 3, 4, and 5.
The First Enrollment:
Alexander MacPhee Robert Sewell
Harrison Martin John Stevens
John MacInnes Wirt Thompson
John McPhearson Newton Walker
Dwight Satterthwaite David Warren
Livingston Satterthwaite William Watts
1921 - School phone party line is removed and a single line is installed.
1922 - First Field Day is held.
1923 - Headmaster house is complete at the cost of $11,000. The Walkers move in January.
62 students are enrolled in September.
Meadowbrook's football team beats Germantown Academy.
1924 - School opens with a new kitchen wing. The new room is added to the building by tearing out the roof on the third floor and adding a dormer. This becomes the art room.
1925 - The motto of the school adopted, "Viriliter Agite" (Be Men)
1926 - The first "Spirit" newsletter is published.
Meadowbrook becomes a school for K through 8.
1928 - First annual Hobby Show is held.
First alumni dinner had 26 of 37 graduates attend.
1929 - The school song, "Dear Old Meadowbrook" is written. Rumor has it that Nelson Eddy had a hand in writing it.
1934 - Mother's committee starts out with a $56 cash balance.
The Library is established.
1935 - Kindergarten is discontinued because the room is needed.
1936 - Enrollment is 72 students, the highest for the school so far.
1940 - A music teacher ($75.00 appropriated) was hired to teach for the winter months. He was a Harvard graduate who was studying at the Curtis Institute. His name was Leonard Berstein.
1941 - Reverend Walker resigns. Edward C. McEachron becomes the new Headmaster.
The students appear on experimental TV at Philco.
1942 - The first yearbook is published. The editors are Charles Barooll, Philip Collins, Lloyd, and W.B. Killhour.
1943 - Grades are limited to 12 students in a class.
A new rule is enforced. Beginning with 5th grade, all boys should have homework.
1944 - A fire damaged the roof and a wall in Walker Hall.
1946 - The tuition range was $200 - $345 per year.
1947 - Edward McEachron resigns, the new Headmaster is William E. Shuttleworth.
1948 - The family picnic after Field Day is established. Another roof fire occurs.
1950 - The first Meadowbrook Fair was held. It netted $3000.
A 60-foot flagpole is erected by the Davis family.
1951 - Architect studies ways to enlarge the school.
School uniform is gray slacks, maroon and gray jersey, white shirt and maroon cap.
1952 - Porch and stairs from the front of the building are removed and the enclosed area becomes a classroom.
1953 - All applicants must be tested before admission.
1955 - The first Meadowbrook directory was printed.
1957 - A new kindergarten building plan is approved.
The lower level of the building will be used as a woodshop.
1959 - The new Kindergarten building is dedicated in January. It is on the site of the original caretaker's cottage.
1960 - Girls are permitted to attend Kindergarten classes.
Plans for a gym are underway.
1961 - Construction of a gymnasium is started. The architect is Dana G. Stetser.
1962 - Shuttlework gymnasium is complete in October, at the cost of $90,000.
The annual book fair is established.
The school radio station WXAM goes on the air.
William Shuttlework leaves and Harold C. Parachini becomes Headmaster.
Ice skating at Old York Road Skating Club was initiated.
The first Art Show is held in conjunction with the Fair.
1963 - The main classroom building was renamed Walker Hall, October 25th.
The Alumni Spirit is issued for the first time.
The old gym on the second floor was paneled and made into the Chapel/auditorium.
The first of three Meadowbrook school buses is purchased.
The "new math" appears in the curriculum.
1964 - The Art Show becomes a three-day event, no longer part of the Fair.
1965 - A garage is added to the Shuttleworth gym and an extra athletic field is put into use.
The first planning and development committee is formed.
1967 - The Library wing and Administrative offices are completed.
The faculty lounge is made in the old offices.
1968 - A science room is created upstairs, along with a visual aids room.
1972 - Harold C. Parachini resigns and Vincent Fiordalis becomes the new Headmaster.
Mr. James Kerr introduces the Shop program into the curriculum. Students in 1st through 8th grade participated.
1973 - Meadowbrook School goes coeducational.
1976 - Vincent Fiordalis resigns. Thomas P. Rouillard becomes Headmaster.
1979 - 7th and 8th grades are dropped.
1980 - Tom Rouillard leaves and Robert Sarkisian becomes the new Headmaster.
1981 - Computers are added to the curriculum.
1983 - The Kindergarten playground is renovated and expanded.
1986 - The Meadowbrook Alumni News is re-established.
1989 - The new Dining Commons opens and receives an architectural award.
1990 - The first class to matriculate from K-5 through 6th grade as a double class graduates 32 students.
Extended Day program commences. It runs from 3 PM through 6 PM daily.
1991 - The playground is renovated with tennis and basketball cours.
The memorial garden is dedicated "In memory of Gloria DiFiglia, The heart of the school, 1972-1989." Gloria was the school Secretary for 17 years.
1992 - Science room is built next to Shuttleworth Gymnasium. Improvements are made to the connecting walkway from the Dining Commons to the gym and science room.
1993 - Headmaster's house gets major renovations.
1994 - Meadowbrook celebrates its 75th anniversary.
A commemorative courtyard, "Place du Soleil" was dedicated in front of the Dining Commons with the names of students, parents, alumni, past parents and friends of the school.
A new logo was created for school signs.
The first girls field hockey team is formed.
1995 - Meadowbrook Alumni News publication and the Lark merge and become the Meadowbrook Spirit magazine.
Alice Hovsepian, K-4 teacher for 30 years retires.
Robert Sarkisian celebrates 15 years as Headmaster.
1996 - Cyberspace campaign provided Power-Macs for the office plus the same for grades 3rd through 6th.
The library becomes automated for circulation and catalog functions.
1997 - The Literary Lantern is created by fifth-grade teachers. This magazine is devoted entirely to the best poems, stories, essays, and drawings of Meadowbrook students.
Meadowbrook holds a reunion for 1940's alumni. Ten men return for an afternoon of reminiscing.
1998 - Alumnus Bruce Castor comes to Meadowbrook School to announce his candidacy for District Attorney of Montgomery County.
1999 - Meadowbrook hosts a Past Parents Reception for parents with graduates from 1980 through 1998.
A campaign is launched to replace the windows in Walker Hall.
2000 - Leman Davis '50 and Preston Scoboria III '52 return to School to commemorate Veteran's Day and the refurbishing of the flagpole that was erected fifty years ago, Louis Davis.
2001 - The Gateway to the Arts project is finished. The new Marion-Louise Saltzman Art Center includes the Thomas Family Lobby, The E. Jane Given Studio, and the Goldsmith-Greenfield Gallery.
2002 - The girls' bathroom in Walker Hall and the K-5 bathroom are refurbished.
Air conditioning units are placed in all classrooms with donations from present parents.
The Sarkisian's daughter, Caitlin '86 marries Michael Engelberg in the first on-campus wedding of an alumna.
2003 - The second floor of Walker Hall is renovated. The music room is divided to make room for a new computer lab and the area where the computers ad been is made into a study center for the 5th and 6th-grade students. These renovations were made possible by donations from the POM organization, an alumnus, and a present family with a matching gift from Hewlett Packard Co.
2004 - 2005 Meadowbrook celebrates its 85th anniversary and Bob Sarkisian's 25 years as Headmaster.
2008 - David B. Stephens begins as the 8th Headmaster.
2011 - A preschool program is developed by a current teacher and is added for 3-year-old children.
The Children's Early Learning Center is dedicated in memory of Theresa E. Lynch.
2012 - A mobile technology cart and 20 iPads are donated by members of the Board of Trustees.
Spanish is added to the World Languages curriculum.
2013 - Michael J. Reardon is named as the 9th Head of School.
2017 - Kindles are assigned to all students in Kindergarten through 3rd grades.
2018 - Chromebooks are assigned to all students in 3rd through 6th grades.
2019 - Meadowbrook celebrates 100 years!