St. Andrew’s School has a unique and rich history, which has been a part of the Richmond landscape for over a century. In 1894, Grace Arents, a visionary social reformer, recognized the need for free, quality education in Oregon Hill and other neighborhoods within the metropolitan area. Grace, niece of businessman and philanthropist Lewis Ginter, carefully researched education and the needs of local children. She believed in providing the poor with academic, social, physical, and spiritual opportunities as a means of lifting families out of a life of poverty.
Grace founded St. Andrew’s School and as principal of the school, took an active role in the construction of the building and the development of class curricula. Originally established as a sewing school, St. Andrew’s School quickly grew into eight programs. These included primary and grammar morning schools, a night school, music school, physical education, nature study, and the City of Richmond’s first Kindergarten. The School became the centerpiece of her charitable activities in Oregon Hill, where she also established Richmond’s first public library, public housing, and public baths. At the time, the School was part of the community outreach of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, itself a mission outreach of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
When Grace Arents passed away in 1926, the St. Andrew’s Association managed her endowment and all of the properties that she developed in Oregon Hill. The intention of her endowment was to support St. Andrew’s School in perpetuity, enabling it to continue serving Richmond’s low-income children. However, St. Andrew’s School must rely on additional financial support from the community to allow us to continue to serve Richmond area children and be good stewards of Grace Arents legacy. Our mission remains the same — to give each student at St. Andrew’s School a balanced academic, social, and spiritual experience, shaped by the Episcopal tradition and inspired by Christian faith.