GHS's UNIQUE HISTORY

GHS Juniors John Spinale and Jackson Barry created this video to
commemorate the 35th Anniversary of the founding of our school. Enjoy!


It began as a vision over a quarter century ago . . . a vision shared by a small group of St. John families who saw clearly the need for an educational alternative that offered challenging academics in an environment that nurtured children's talent, character, and intellect. Through shared vision and community support, our school has grown with the island, but our commitment to each student and our standards of excellence remain constant.

1978

Pine Peace School opens as a summer program in the new Daniel's building in Pine Peace. Dorothy Muilenburg and JoAnne Pach teach with help from Anna Johannson Lagercrantz and Janet Cook-Rutnik.

1978

Preschool begins with four students.

1979

School is moved to the late Toni Oppenheimer's beach house at Hawksnest Beach; 3 children participate in the Carnival parade as the "Little Donkey Cart", accompanied by Dorothy Muilenburg and JoAnne Pach.

1980-1982

School moves four times to Jens and Irma Pickering's warehouse in Pine Peace, Catholic Church, Schnell’s guesthouse, and Toni Oppenheimer’s beach house at Hawksnest Beach. Shailer Bass family donates Gifft Hill land; 5 students participate in the Carnival parade as "The Little Engine That Could".

1981

Construction of first building begins (the current ELC building).

1982

School opens on Gifft Hill; Kathy Hilliard takes role of administrator.

1983

Classes expanded to lower level of building, up to Grade 3.

1984

Bass family donates second parcel of land. Richard Schlieffin gives large donation for second building.

1987

1st Annual Dinner Auction is held at the Fernhouse, organized by Janet Cook-Rutnik and Trish Capuano. $35 tickets sold out to a crowd of 130 people. George Blackhall was the first auctioneer. 41 students are currently enrolled. VI Department of Education gives Pine Peace their Certificate of Accreditation for K-3rd grade.

1988

New building constructed!

1989

Hurricane Hugo. Pine Peace School was the first to re-open in the territory. School expands to include Grades 4-6.

1990

Dedication for St. John Community Room (the "Great Room") officiated by Lt. Governor Derek M. Hodge. Beth Knight joins faculty as Kindergarten teacher.

1992

New Playground completed through a donation from the Doris Freedman family in her memory; 75 students enrolled.

1993

Albert Sewer Scholarship added to the Scholarship Fund; Fish Bay parcel deeded to the school.

1995

Hurricane Marilyn; parents helped rebuild roof of original building.

1996

Accreditation from Commission on Elementary Schools of Middle States Association.

1997-1998

Bertolino Building constructed at the Lower Campus.

2000

Beth Knight takes role of Lower School Principal. Coral Bay School is created by Scott and Sabrina Crawford as the first independent middle and high school on St. John, enrolling 13 students in grades 7-9 its first year. Over the next four years, the school grew to 85 students in grades 7-12 and gained accreditation.

2004

Pine Peace School and Coral Bay School merge as St. John School on Gifft Hill; 8 acres of land were donated to the school, nearly contiguous to the Pine Peace campus.

2004

First senior class in St. John history graduates with a ceremony at Annaberg.

2005

Ground-breaking for Upper Campus. Fred Trayser leads the construction.

2009

4 acre parcel of land adjoining Lower and Upper Campuses donated by Glen and Jo Ann Hall; school now sits on 14 contiguous acres.

2010

Dedication of Trayser Field; completion playground and green-top renovation at the Lower Campus; 5 year partnership established with Iowa State University to form EARTH program; accreditation renewed for K-12th grades; dedication of Nekwan Sprauve Memorial ½ court Basketball Court; Judy Chamberlain assumes position of Head of School.
Construction of Pine Peace School


The first Preschool Class


Pine Peace School - 1978


Great Room Expansion


Dorothy with Kids


One of the early Pine Peace School kindergarten classes


Bertolino Building Ground Breaking


Coral Bay First Class


The start of Trayser Field
         Cheerleaders

Gifft Hill Students and Faculty