A Family Tradition for Four Generations of Women

In 1915, Louisville Collegiate School opened its doors at 512 W. Ormsby Ave. as a college preparatory school for girls. Back then, around eight students sat in a classroom wearing untucked white blouses, knee-length navy skirts and fashionable navy scarves. Students traveled to school on the blue bus not to where Collegiate is located today but to downtown, where campus sat on Ormsby Avenue. This is the Collegiate my great-grandmother Grancy knew.

Harcourt AllenIn 1958, Collegiate was still an all-girls school. Students sported non-uniform navy skirts, presumably a bit longer than those worn today, and plain, white, collared shirts covered with navy sweaters; the look was topped off with loafers and absolutely no lipstick. During school, students studied a variety of subjects such as English and math. Girls took dance and gym in the now auditorium, and at recess, they played big games of soccer outside of the single Collegiate building while drinking milk or juice. Lunch was served family-style by the head of the table, and students worked on the Pandemonium newspaper, played half-court basketball and even got their names on an orange and gray banner for Amazon field hockey even though participation was forbidden by Collegiate. Each grade was assigned to either the blue or gold team and engaged in spirited competitions throughout the school year. This is the Collegiate my grandmother Teeta knew.

In 1988, the second class of boys graduated from Collegiate. Students all wore what we now call “special occasion dress” every day: ties and navy knee-high socks, unless someone – like my mother – was super cool and scrunched them around her ankles. Amazons became a school-sanctioned mascot, and pep rallies before every game helped the field hockey team to an Apple and State victory. The Latin club won the school contest to name the Collegiate boys, and so the Titans were born. Most of the 500 students handwrote their final drafts and did research in books. The six boys and 25 girls made up the largest graduating class at that point in the school’s history, and instead of graduation parties, they attended prom the same night they graduated in the same white tuxes and puffy-sleeved, floor-length dresses with big bows that they wore at the ceremony earlier that day in the gym. This is the Collegiate my mother, Chenoweth, knew.

In 2015, Collegiate celebrated 100 years. This past school year, students wore polos and jumpers and kilts and khakis and tennis shoes and makeup and even dyed hair. Students had block scheduling and classes with up to 20 kids in the four school buildings we now have. They played GaGa and basketball at break and ran around the playground during recess. Titans and Amazons competed at Champion’s Trace, and everyone always saw the plays, concerts and art shows in the fine arts building. They sat in the Davis Commons or their advisor’s room to work on homework, study for tests or talk to friends. This is the Collegiate I knew.

It’s amazing how some things are so different now, while some things have stayed the same throughout the generations. Collegiate has gone from eight to 700 students, from all girls to coed and from one building to four, but it has stayed the same community with the same mission, honor and school spirit it has always enjoyed. I’m proud to say my family and many others have called Collegiate home for the past 100 years. Here’s to the next 100 years of academic excellence at Louisville Collegiate School. Thanks for being a part of our family. VT

By Harcourt Allen ’16,
Former Student Body President at Louisville Collegiate School