Main Street Maury

Santa Fe Unit School celebrates 100th anniversary with parade

Santa Fe Unit School marked 100 years with a parade held Saturday, May 20 at the school. A proclamation was also read to mark the special day, with May 20, 2023, being named “Santa Fe School Day.” 

“It’s been said that Santa Fe School is the best kept secret in Maury County,” the proclamation read. “Students that attend Santa Fe School often share how they have a sincere bond that makes them unique.”

Various speakers addressed the school’s history and its impact on the close-knit Santa Fe community. The festivities ended with an alumni basketball game in the school’s gymnasium.

The school, which opened in 1923, has roots dating back to the 1880s, according to the proclamation. Classes first began in the Masonic Lodge Building and the Cook School house. Prior to the school’s opening, the location served as Santa Fe College.

After suffering from a tragic fire in 1922, a brick building was built one year later. This building became Santa Fe School.

The K-12 school, which currently serves 600 students, first began as a two-year high school going through the 10th grade, with only four students graduating in 1924. In 1938, lavatories were added to the building for both girls and boys, and the first annual yearbook was published and named. In 1964, the school was again destroyed by fire. The following year, students moved into the newly constructed building that is now known as Santa Fe School.

In the fall of 1976, the school was recommended for accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. While both Santa Fe and Spring Hill received the honor at the same time, due to alphabetical order Santa Fe became known as the first K-12 school in the South to receive the accreditation.

For the 2018-19 school year, Santa Fe reached the honor of being named a State of Tennessee Reward School.

The parade saw past alumni of all decades gather to mark the occasion, including 93-year-old Colleen Baker-Hargrove, who graduated in 1947.

“Santa Fe is a good community to be in,” Baker-Hargrove said. “Never forget your roots. I love the community, my school and my teachers.”

Lisa Ventura, MCPS Superintendent of Schools said she was grateful to attend the centennial celebration.

“Not every superintendent gets to celebrate something like this,” Ventura said. “Today we celebrate not only the longevity of this school, but the success of the school and the community that it calls home.”

Ventura said all of Maury County Public Schools look at Santa Fe as an example of community involvement and partnership.

“We can all be proud of the hard work and dedication that has enabled us to reach this milestone,” she said.

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