January is the month that families across our community begin the process to enroll in an independent school. There are campus tours to take, entrance testing and applications to complete, and lots of brochures and printed information to review in the quest to find the right fit.
Today, in the age of slick marketing, many schools hire professionals to craft branding messages and design appealing brochures. Everyone wants to make a good impression. The same was true for Mount de Sales in the early 1900s.
In 1902, the Sisters of Mercy published a “Prospectus” on Mount de Sales Academy with support from local businesses that advertised in the booklet. At that time, the Academy enrolled 104 day and boarding students, all female, Catholic and non-Catholic, from around Georgia and as far away as Ohio and New Orleans. The Sisters had purchased Governor Towns’s former home for the convent and school, which is where the Academy is located today.
The prospectus included a description of the school, academic program, behavioral expectations, and clothing requirements as well as a few pictures and playbills from student performances. The campus was described as “delightfully located on one of the highest hills in Macon” and touted the spectacular views of the city and surrounding counties. Several large wings had been added to the Towns home and the brochure noted that “the latest and best improvements are supplied throughout, such as gas, electric lights, steam heat, hot and cold water, on every floor.”
At that time, the school educated young ladies at three levels: primary, preparatory, and academic, where students graduated after four years. A full course of academic study included rhetoric, literature, history, logic and mental philosophy, algebra, geometry, natural philosophy, Church history, and Christian doctrine. Special classes were offered in physical culture and elocution, music, art, fancy needlework, and penmanship (which were quite exquisite).
The necessity for developing faith and a moral compass was addressed especially in light of the times, which were described as “these evil days” when “Faith and Morals are exposed to many and violent temptations.” The prospectus touched on discipline and explained that “the government of the Institution is mild, but firm. The Sisters endeavor to train their pupils to solid virtue and the highest integrity. An appeal to the pupil’s honor is always preferred; but this failing, obedience to authority is strictly enforced.”
The words that we use to describe Mount de Sales have changed over the past 120 years, but the values have not. We are still deeply committed to graduating students with a strong faith, commitment to integrity, foundation of knowledge, and talents to enjoy. The campus buildings have changed, but we are still in the same delightful location, the center of the Middle Georgia community that is accessible to all. Mount de Sales Academy’s values have endured, and for that we are grateful and proud.
Click here to apply for admission to Mount de Sales. The first deadline for admission and to be eligible for merit scholarships is January 20.
Mount de Sales Academy is a private Catholic school located in Macon, GA, and serves students in Bibb, Houston, Jones, Monroe, Peach and other surrounding counties. MDS is sponsored and inspired by the Sisters of Mercy. Since 1876, MDS has served a diverse college-preparatory community of learners—students and teachers alike—who are poised to discover, challenged to innovate, and motivated to serve.