On Aug. 23, students and faculty of TMI – The Episcopal School of Texas went back to school for the 120th time, starting the year with a traditional, university-style Convocation, including an academic procession in which all instructors and administrators participate.
“We all think about our teachers,” said Headmaster John W. Cooper, Ph.D., in his welcome address. “As you reflect on your teachers, now and later, you will remember the ones who made a difference in your lives, how much they gave you and how important that was to you.”
Convocation in All Saints Chapel was followed by another TMI tradition, “The Greeting.” Each year on the first day of school since the mid-1990s, the entire student body shakes hands with all faculty and staff members – more than 100 adults who line up to welcome new and returning students.
Founded by the Rt. Rev. James S. Johnston, first bishop of the independent Diocese of West Texas, TMI opened Oct. 3, 1893, with 12 students in primary through high-school grades. By the end of that first year, that number had quadrupled, and the school was on its way to becoming one of the most popular and respected in San Antonio and the larger South Texas region.
Distinguished alumni include U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, banker/philanthropist Tom C. Frost Jr., rancher Richard M. “Tres” Kleberg, McCombs Foundation Vice President Connie McCombs McNab, historic preservationist Dru Van Steenberg and many other men and women who have pursued impressive careers in business, the arts, medicine, academia and other disciplines.
Originally an all-boys, all-military school, TMI admitted girls to its summer program from the 1940s onward, welcomed its first 11 female full-time students in 1972 and is now fully coeducational.
TMI’s Corps of Cadets became co-ed in 1974 and optional in 1976; the award-winning Army JROTC unit recently was recognized as an Honor Unit with Distinction – the highest designation possible – for the 20th year in a row. The Corps’ current battalion commander, who is the highest-ranking student officer, is Falon Little, the third female “BC” in TMI’s history.
This year, the flagship and only high school of the diocese has a record-high enrollment of 469 students in grades six through 12. While the school was founded as and still is an Episcopal church school, TMI welcomes students of all faiths. All TMI students are required to perform community-service hours; last year, the student body performed a total of 11,533 hours of service, far exceeding the required number.
Throughout the 2013-2014 school year TMI will celebrate its 120th anniversary with the goal of performing “120 Acts of Service” as its signature observance, reaffirming the school’s commitment to educating servant leaders.
The mission of TMI is to provide an excellent educational community, with values based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, challenging motivated students to develop their full potential in service and leadership.