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Three Cheers for Fifty Years!
The 50th anniversary celebration began at Sullins Academy’s Bristol VA campus on September 6. While the day after Labor Day will be the school’s official “birthday”, the celebration will last all year.
A Founders’ Day celebration for the students, as well as, current and past faculty/administration was held on September 6 at the school. Many of the school’s former leaders and faculty, current board members, and the mayor of Bristol Virginia were on hand for the celebration. The special assembly began with students of alumni leading the Pledge of Allegiance, while current 6th grade students led the group in the Alma Mater. The school’s first principal, Mrs. Ruth King, spoke to students about the school’s history, while current Head of School, Mr. Roy Vermillion, shared the vision for the future. Mr. John Rainero, Board Chair, made a few remarks about the school’s importance to the greater community.
Mrs. Tasha Foy and Mrs. Becca Powers recognized a number of past faculty and school leaders who were present for the celebration, as well as, the members of the 50th Anniversary Steering Committee who have worked on the year long celebration. A number of events for alumni are planned, including a social during the Rhythm and Roots Festival taking place at the school’s original location, Emmanuel Episcopal Church. A Golf Tournament will follow in late September, along with several other events throughout the year. The 50th Celebration will culminate in April with a Gala which will be held at the Southwest Virginia Higher Ed Center in Abingdon, VA
Sullins Academy was founded in 1966 by Rev. Charles Bledsoe as the Episcopal Day School. He served as headmaster from the founding year until his passing in 1978. During this time, he built the school and enrollment, and was instrumental in the move to the Sullins College campus in 1977. The school’s name was changed at that time to Sullins Academy to both honor its’ new location and to reflect the school’s independent nature.
Sullins Academy operated at the Glenway Avenue campus until 1997. In 1998, a gift of 22 acres of land was donated to Sullins Academy by Joseph and Marguerite Lawson and the construction of the current building began. Students were able to move into the new building in 1999.
Over the past fifty years, Sullins Academy has served thousands of students. Sullins teaches each student to be a deep thinker, a powerful communicator, a person of strong character, and to have a giving heart. The foundation each of these students receives sets the stage for future successes.