Ninety Candles for Buckley!
Buckley is entering its 90th year. Throughout the year we will be celebrating this momentous milestone and of course, Buckley being Buckley, using this anniversary as an opportunity for more learning.
The birth and coming of age of our school, as immortalized by Frances Curran and Carol M. Canter in the first two volumes on the history of Buckley, goes something like this:
In 1923, Mr. and Mrs. Morgan H. Grace planted the seed of a vision for a new school in Kings Point, NY. It appears that every fall the Grace family and their friends would reluctantly leave the quietude of the North Shore of Long Island and move back to New York City to be near the schools their children attended. With her mind set on keeping her children on Long Island and her unwavering determination to provide them with a superior education that would prepare them for success in some of the best secondary schools in the country, Mrs. Ruth Grace (née Eden) managed to raise $50,000 from a group of her friends and donated ten acres of land on Steamboat Road for a school site.
Benjamin Lord Buckley, who was the founder of the Buckley School in New York City that all three Grace sons attended, was asked to serve as an educational consultant for the new school. Mr. Buckley served on the original Board of Trustees, chaired by Mr. Grace.
In September 1923, twenty-three children in grades Kindergarten through Five reported to what was then Great Neck Preparatory School. In 1938, the school’s name was changed to Buckley Country Day School to acknowledge Mr. Buckley’s contribution to the school and to reflect a student body that had extended far beyond the reaches of the West Egg.
In 1955, the Board of Trustees made the historic and farsighted decision to purchase the Frederick Lunning Estate in North Hills. The mansion and its property (19 acres at the time) offered more space, more playing fields, and made it easier for most students to travel to. The twenty-room Georgian mansion had been built during the Golden Age and, to the consternation of today’s real estate magnates, was acquired for $100,000!
Many additions were built over the years to continue to support the school’s mission to provide a superior education and enable students to reach their full potential and excel as educated, ethical, and self-confident individuals. The Buckley that is school and home-away-from-home to today’s students is a gift to us from past generations.
The story of Buckley Country Day School is the story of an ambitious and enduring vision that took root in the 1920’s, has grown over the past nine decades without aging, and is continuing to provide the inspiration needed to prepare students, now almost all born in this century, for a future of opportunities, leadership, and contributions.
Happy 90th, Buckley!
Saturday August, 18, 2012 at 11:20PM