100 Years of Excellence at Shorecrest Preparatory School - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay
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100 Years of Excellence at Shorecrest Preparatory School

100 Years of Excellence at Shorecrest Preparatory School

by Celia Goodyear

Shorecrest Preparatory School has spent the last century establishing itself as a pillar in the Greater Tampa Bay community. Rich with opportunities for student success, this school is committed to continuing its tradition of excellence in the future.

Founded in 1923, Shorecrest began as a small, open-air school on Northshore Drive in St. Petersburg that primarily served seasonal visitors to the area. Since then, it has become a coed, nonsectarian PK3-12 independent school focused on providing a safe, student-centered environment where a diverse community of students become lifelong learners.

“Our goal is to provide the opportunity for students to discover their passions and find agency for their learning,” said Nancy Spencer, Shorecrest Head of School.

The goal of encouraging empathetic, independent thinkers who succeed at the university level, pursue their passions and lead purposeful lives is exemplified by Shorecrest’s remarkable 100 percent college acceptance rate from its graduates.

Humble Beginnings

Local attorney Charles Reynolds started at Shorecrest in 1967 as a pre-K student and was there until he graduated in 1981.

“There were three other students who were in that first pre-K class that graduated with me, and we were the first class to go all the way through to graduation since we did not have 10-12 grades until 1976,” he said.

Reynolds said what he learned at Shorecrest is invaluable to him.

“It is not just academic preparation,” he said. “It is preparation to interact with students, peers, adults and talking in front of others.”

According to Reynolds, Shorecrest also taught him non-traditional skills like how to structure his life and commitments, as well as how to be part of a community.

He also said the school was a passionate effort among families and parents, as they all worked together to make Shorecrest successful. Whatever the need, from fundraising for classroom essentials to supporting its athletic programs, the parents and students would get it done, working side by side.

Centennial Class member Rose Leary said she feels the same way.

“Shorecrest really has a lot of opportunities for you to be involved in and work in a group of people who have the same goals,” she said.

Leary graduated in 2023 and spent her entire academic career at Shorecrest.

In the years that both Reynolds and Leary spent on the campus, it has adapted and changed to continue providing opportunities for its students.

Looking to the future

Shorecrest currently has two new projects that are poised to bring even more benefits to its students, the Center for Academic Excellence and The Ross Roeder Institute.

The Center for Academic Excellence is an expansion of the existing Learning Center at Shorecrest. The Learning Center was launched in the early 2000s and originally provided services like academic tutoring, academic coaching and skill building, individual and group therapies, support for ADHD and Dyslexia and help for students with English as a second language.

“This is something we have always done, but now it will be available to all of our students,” said Spencer.

Recognizing that all students can benefit from the added value of extra support, Shorecrest will launch the center this fall.

The Ross Roeder Institute for Economics, Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship (RRI) is a schoolwide program in financial literacy and entrepreneurship. It is the first of its kind at Shorecrest.

“Entrepreneurship is about solving problems,” said Spencer. “The program will be teaching students to do that and then make it on their own.”

The vision for RRI is to enhance the Upper School’s current curriculum in these areas and eventually create a new signature one.

Shorecrest received a $1 million endowment for the program from Jan and Craig Sher and Mary Anne Reilly in honor of Ross Roeder, her late husband, to honor his passion for business, economics and the entrepreneurial spirit.

See Also

In May, the school announced that Earl Walton will serve as RRI’s director. Walton has worked more than 20 years in sports marketing and business. He said the entrepreneur in him is excited about building something new, and he is looking forward to connecting with families and the business community through the program.

Walton’s two children are also students at Shorecrest. He will start his new position this August.

100-Year Celebration

Neither of the two new projects, nor any of the success Shorecrest and its students have achieved, would be possible without the dedication of the school’s students, faculty and families over the last 100 years. To celebrate their efforts and its history, Shorecrest is holding a Centennial celebration throughout the year with several special events.

Reynolds, who is chairing the celebration, said it is meaningful for all Shorecrest families to know that the school has been in GTB and survived so many different major world events –– the Great Depression, several wars, a pandemic.

“We are proud that we have been here and are part of the history of the area,” Reynolds said.

Spanning the calendar year for 2023, the celebration will host some major events in the fall. On October 21, the From Shore to Shorecrest 5K will take place. The course will begin at the school’s original location at Northshore Drive, where a historical marker will be installed. Appropriately, the finish line will be set at its current home, 5105 First Street NE.

A Centennial Day celebration at the current campus will be held for the community on November 11 with interactive activities, including an original classroom re-created for the event.

The festivities are set to culminate with a black-tie Centennial Gala, held December 2 at the James Museum in St. Petersburg.

For more information about Shorecrest’s Centennial Celebration, go to https://www.shorecrest.org/centennial.

Shorecrest has spent the last 100 years building a one-of-a-kind learning institution. With their community support, commitment to and from families and students and their constant work to provide new educational programs and opportunities, the next 100 years will be even better.

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