Our History & Traditions
(click here to listen to the Kent School Song sung by the Boys and Girls Glee Clubs Kentones and Kentettes recorded 1965)
Kent School was founded by an Episcopal monk. It’s a small fact, one we like to share with people because it says a lot about us, about our character, where we’ve come from, and where we hope to go. When the Reverend Frederick Herbert Sill, a graduate of Columbia University and the General Theological Seminary, opened Kent’s doors in 1906, he had a lot of ideas about the educational value of service, the importance of respecting others and respecting one’s self, and the connection between intellectual effort and spiritual reward. We hold true to those values today. We still teach our students to respect each other and themselves, to search for spiritual understanding, and to give back to their communities. Students and faculty still attend chapel together.
But some of Fr. Sill’s ideas were quite forward-thinking in their day. He envisioned a “democratic” school, a place in which students learned about self-reliance and stewardship by participating in a daily work program. And he wanted to teach students from “all walks of life,” so Kent became the first secondary school in the country to charge tuition on a sliding scale. We continue this today with the Kent Parents Fund and our Financial Aid Program. In fact, with over six million dollars annually, our commitment to financial aid ranks first among our peers, relative to our endowment.
In 1960, Kent decided that being true to Fr. Sill’s mission of inclusiveness meant including girls. A revolutionary idea among the traditional New England boarding schools, it fit in well with Kent’s love of innovation. Fr. Sill served as Kent’s original headmaster for 35 years. We’ve only had six other Headmasters since. Although many things have changed in those years, our values and mission have stayed the same: graduating highly intelligent, extremely competent, thoroughly grounded young people who go on to lead successful, values-focused lives.