Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania (WTAJ) – The Grier School has passed a milestone by providing 170 years of dedicated academics and the arts.
The girls’ boarding school is located in Birmingham in the county of Huntingdon. It teaches girls from grades 7-12 in smaller classrooms.
In 1853, the local Birmingham Presbyterian Church opened the school. In 1857, it was sold to Lemuel Greer. Grier prided itself on being a girls’ school that focused on sharpening the mind rather than its etiquette taught rivals.
Fifth generation Jeffrey Greer is now the head of the school. It continues to build on a rigorous education but also focuses on distinctive programs that are nationally recognized.
“I’m proud of that day because we were pioneers,” Greer said. “The Jarir School pioneered an incredible focus on women and learning today.”
These featured programs include the Horse Riding Program and the Dance and Arts Program. The arts are divided into two categories: performing and visual arts. prestige The Grier School is ranked as the number one art school in Pennsylvania.
These signature programs are optional for girls. They are encouraged to go where their passions lie. Senior Edith Manfred was looking for a more diverse art program than her middle school.
During her tenure, her passion for photography grew and she planned to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design, specializing in photography and photojournalism. She is grateful for the various lessons in art.
“I was exposed to many different kinds of arts that I had not known before, through my teachers, but also through my classmates,” said Manfred. “We all come from different regions and have different experiences. I got to know different people with different artistic trainings, and we all get together and make interesting things.”
The Grier School is nationally known for its rigorous riding program. They offer programs from junior to collegiate level, with girls riding up to six days a week. The school has more than 50 horses. They also have three indoor and two outdoor arenas.
The riding director, Crystal Wood, said they had riders show horses who had gone on to become trainers. The program is considered one of the best riding schools.
“Every year, I feel like the girls are getting stronger and stronger, and that’s something we’ve been able to charge,” Wood said. “The girls work hard, and we’re one of the only interschool collegiate programs that takes place six days a week.”
Their dance program is one of their most popular. They offer a variety of levels from beginner to pre-pro level.
Students learn from all styles of dance including; Jazz, ballet, modern, contemporary and tap. In addition, they bring in a variety of guest choreographers.
Seniors Leila Kurtz and Sophomore Lexi Brickley are in the pre-professional dance program and train 30 hours per week. They told how they made some of their best friends and created a support system.
The school has over 225 girls enrolled from 28 states and 30 countries. Greer talked about how they pride themselves on their diverse growth and international recognition.
Chujun Liu is from China and found this school through her parents. She always wanted to go to school in the US to better prepare for college.
“I’ve always wanted to study abroad, and it was my parents who suggested I go to a boarding school in the United States for high school so that I can better prepare for college,” Liu said.
During Liu’s time at Grier, she completed her college-level workload and won a scholarship for her paper. Leo wants to one day work for a pharmaceutical company developing drugs that treat cancer. She said that this dream came about because of her research and studies at Grier.
Senior Camryn Greene came from Lancaster. She described her favorite memories, which include meeting her lifelong friends.
“I would describe my friendships as lifelong,” said Green. “I love people I’ve made friends with to death, and I’m glad they were there with me.”
“Getting to know everyone and the amazing support I get through all my education and dancing here,” Kurtz said. “It definitely made me a better person.”
Green attends the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, majoring in film production. Kurtz is a nursing major at Saint Francis University with a minor in real estate.
All of the girls said they felt prepared for college because of Grier’s advanced-level courses. Beckley said the school encourages everyone to find their passion and create a supportive environment.
Beckley came to the school because she combined her love of dance and science. Newsweek named Grier School one of the top 20% of STEM schools in the county.
“It’s a very important place, and it helps everyone show their passion, and nobody’s afraid to do what they want to do,” said Beckley. “Everyone is a supportive community.”
Greer also believes that the community they reside in is essential to their development. He said how the community embraces its culture and that the people who come to the school are impressed by the friendly environment.
Greer believes his great-grandfather would be proud of how progressive and adaptable the school was. He added that all the success of the school comes from the students and staff’s hard work and dedication.
“At the end of the day, this is their achievement. I am so proud of the work our people do here, they are all amazing,” Greer said. “I believe it is our staff and students who will lift us to a higher level. It’s not the principal of the school, it’s our staff and students.”