"Doers of good and leaders of men..."
A Tradition of Excellence
Celebrating many years of dedicated service to Jacksonville families, Episcopal recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary, an important milestone that reinforces the School’s permanence and strength within the community. Since 1966, the School has lived up to its founding mission of excellence in the Four Pillars: academics, athletics, arts and Christian leadership.
Episcopal's 56-acre campus includes the 28-acre estate that once belonged to the Packer-Cummings family, and was fondly known as the “Keystone Estate” after Mary Packer-Cumming’s native Pennsylvania. Upon her death in 1912, she willed the land to St. John’s Cathedral in Jacksonville, which used the gracious gift by opening a boys’ home for needy children in 1921. The home closed in 1953 as a result of financial complications.
During that time, discussion within the Episcopal Church began regarding the establishment of an Episcopalian high school in Jacksonville which would “develop doers of good and leaders of men” and educate students with a well-balanced curriculum. Therefore, in keeping with the tradition of the Episcopal Church, today's students are required to think critically, explore their individual faiths, learn by questioning, and accept that knowledge of the world and spiritual development are eternally intertwined.
The Purple Book
These discussions within the Episcopal Church led to the formation of a planning committee, that created the Report of the Planning Group – the renowned "Purple Book." Members of the planning committee included parish members at St. John’s Cathedral, as well as other prominent Jacksonville residents. The “Purple Book,” presented to the Vestry, Rector and wardens of St. John’s Cathedral in 1966, outlined the guiding principles of the future school. In 1966, the articles of indoctrination were drawn, and Episcopal would be named Jacksonville Episcopal High School, or JEHS. Dedication of the site was held on campus on January 22, 1967, led by Founders Lucius Buck, David Foerster, The Rt. Rev. Hamilton West, Bishop of Florida; and The Very Rev. Robert Parks, Dean of St. John’s Cathedral. The school opened in September of 1967 with 265 students under the direction of Headmaster Horton Reed. The first class would graduate in the spring of 1970.