In 1867, the Reverend Dr. Anthony Toomer Porter, Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, stood at the grave of his young son and had a vision directing him to “stop grieving for the dead and do something for the living.” This vision led him to found an Episcopal school that became known as Porter Academy and later evolved into Porter-Gaud School. From its inception, the school has been closely associated with the Episcopal Church. For the school’s first 100 years, each successive Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina served as Chairman of the school’s Board.
During the 140 years since the school first opened, the school has at times wrestled with its Episcopal identity. In recent years, the Board of Trustees revised the school’s mission statement to reflect a desire to lead the school in openly and intentionally embracing its traditional Episcopal identity. The revised mission statement reads as follows:
Porter-Gaud is an Episcopal, coeducational, independent, college preparatory day school with a diverse student body. We acknowledge the sovereignty of God, recognize the worth of the individual, and seek to cultivate a school community that endows its citizens with a foundation of moral and ethical character and intellect. Porter-Gaud fosters a challenging academic environment that honors excellence in teaching and learning, respects differences, expects honesty, and applauds achievement. The school strives to create an environment that nurtures and protects what we value most in our children: their faith, their curiosity, their talents, their integrity, their humanity, and their dreams.
Noteworthy in the school’s attempt to embrace its Episcopal tradition is the presence of a historically significant non-Christian population. As an Episcopal school, Porter-Gaud stands on the strong foundation of orthodox Anglican theology rooted in the Scriptures and expressed in the Book of Common Prayer. Because the school community is diverse, a climate of respectful dialog is the emphasis in matters of faith. The school respects different faith traditions while simultaneously emphasizing the school’s Episcopal core.
For more information about Episcopal schools, click here to visit the National Association of Episcopal Schools' website.