Benchmark School is celebrating 50 years of transforming children's futures.
Benchmark hosted a grand gala on May 14 as the culmination of its 50th Anniversary celebrations. COVID extended our school’s anniversary celebrations, and the massive event hosted on campus brought together more than 300 guests to reflect on our school’s long history of transforming students’ lives, and to look ahead at the plans to come.
Our Head of School Chris Hancock revealed the school’s new strategic plan as well as the early stages of the school’s campus master plan, which includes a $2 million playground upgrade that will include unique play elements that do not exist yet anywhere else in North America. To support this extraordinary playground initiative, Benchmark received a $500,000 anonymous gift, and raised an additional $350,000 that evening, totaling $850,000 in initial fundraising at the gala.
Benchmark School also honored several key figures in our history: our founder, literacy education trailblazer Dr. Irene Gaskins, our former Head of School Dr. Robb Gaskins, and our long-time physical education teacher and athletics director, Wayne Reichart, who retires at the end of this year after a 47-year tenure. To see photos of this wonderful night, please visit our instagram page.
COVID-19 curtailed our plans to gather and celebrate in person in the 2020-2021 school year, so we turned to the medium of video. Through video, we explored and shared our past from the time of our founding to present day.
We created five videos over the course of the year—one for each decade of Benchmark's history.
To begin, we revisited our founding decade: the 1970s. Listen to our founder, Dr. Irene Gaskins, and other pivotal players in Benchmark's history, reveal the stories behind how our school came to be.
We reflect on the 1990s in this video, looking back at the maturation of our program, the arts enhancements, and the expansion of our middle school.
Travel back in time to watch as Benchmark refined our instructional techniques, expanded the beloved summer program, and launched the middle school.
In our video celebrating the 2000s, we look at the changes wrought by technology in the classroom, the construction of our middle school wing and our performing arts center, and the advent of Robb Gaskins's leadership of Benchmark.
In this final video featuring the 2010s (and beyond), we share our embrace of innovation, our change of leadership, the experience of a COVID year, and finally offer thoughts and hopes for Benchmark's future.