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Back to School In Central Gardens

Back to School in Central Gardens

Besides the beautiful historic homes, Central Gardens also has churches and schools within its borders. It may feel like the height of summer, but a new school year is just around the corner. This month, CGA would like to highlight our neighborhood schools.

Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School, a coeducational parish day school established in 1947, serves over 500 students in PK-8th grade. Known also as GSL, the school is located at the corner of Belvedere Boulevard and Peabody Avenue. Even though the school was established in 1947, the school's early origins date back to 1919, when Bartow B. Ramage, then rector of St. Luke's Church, first Memphis educator Mrs. S. Griffin Walker, who had taught kindergarten at St. Mary's School, asked Grace-St. Luke's rector Rev. Charles Stuart Hale, for space to open a kindergarten. He agreed, and thus began a kindergarten in the basement of the parish house. By 1959, they had built it into a Kindergarten through 6th grade school, and broke ground for a new day school building on Nov. 30, 1959.

After being issued a charter, Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School began to grow, eventually becoming a K–12 school by the mid-1970s. In 1947, it closed the high school program to focus on kindergarten through middle school structure to better focus on educational and leadership opportunities for Lower and Middle School students. GSL acquired additional properties (Snowden Field in 1984 and Miss Lee's Preschool in 1987). In the early 1990s, Grace-St. Luke's opened the Evans Building that links the church and school administrative offices to the Middle School and gymnasium.

In 2010, the school completed its first major new construction in 20 years, opening the Anchor Center, a multipurpose building designed to ensure the school’s sustainability and allow capacity for future growth.

Immaculate Conception Cathedral School, located on Central Avenue, is a coeducational elementary school and an all-girls college preparatory high school. Founded in 1921 by the Sisters of Mercy, ICCS shares the campus of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Memphis and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as a unit school. The high school is the only parochial high school in the Diocese of Memphis.

In August 2016, the school opened a new early childhood center that connects to the existing lower school building. The building also includes a spacious, technology-rich state-of-the-art media center and art room for all grades.

ICCS's core mission is to provide academic excellence and to help develop strong moral character in a faith-based environment for students of all faiths, races and ethnicities. It prides itself on being one of the most diverse private schools in the Memphis metropolitan area. 

In addition to private schools, Idlewild Elementary School on Linden Avenue is part of the Memphis City Schools system and has been called "Midtown's Best Kept Secret."  Idlewild Elementary School was established in 1851 and is now an optional public school. 

Just outside Central Gardens is Central High School, a public high school (grades 9-12) in Memphis, Tennessee. It was founded in 1897 and is considered the first high school in Memphis; Central is often called "THE" High School. It is a part of the Memphis City Schools Optional School system where it is recognized as a school specializing in college preparatory programs. Central High's building is on the List of Registered Historic Places in Tennessee.

As summer break begins to wind down, it’s a great time to consider the schools in Central Gardens and the role they play in serving not only neighborhood families, but families throughout the City of Memphis.

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Central Gardens Association • P.O. Box 41382 Memphis, TN 38174-1382 • (901) 343-6CGA (6242) • [email protected]