Happy 75th anniversary to Keystone!

Apr 04 2024

Happy 75th anniversary to Keystone!

“If you want to understand today you have to search yesterday.”
-Pearl S. Buck

Original home of Keystone at 103 E. Park Ave.

When this year’s Keystone seniors were born in 2006, the average price of gas in America was $2.59 per gallon, Twitter launched in San Francisco, Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet, “Crash” won best picture at the Oscars, and Google bought YouTube.

Let’s go back to 1948, when a new school in San Antonio opened to help young people improve their reading skills. The year that the Keystone School and Guidance Center opened, the Ford Motor Company introduced its F-Series pickups, Gandhi began his fast to end Hindu and Muslim violence and was then assassinated, Burma gained independence from Great Britain, the country of Israel was proclaimed, and war commenced between Israel and neighboring Arab countries.

Yes, 75 years is a long time. (It’s not quite as long as the 89 years that a kindergartener recently proclaimed as my age, but that’s a different story.) In recognition of that longevity, we are celebrating throughout the year, and we recently received proclamations of congratulations from Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Commissioners Court.

At tonight’s Food and Drink Festival on Keystone’s campus, we will gather to commemorate and recognize this milestone. As guests nibble on delicious dishes from outstanding restaurants and sip on excellent wines, beers, spirits and nonalcoholic beverages, bid on unique experiences and enjoy one another’s company, we will recognize 75 years filled with many achievements:

Keystone has grown steadily since its founding in 1948 having moved from a small house located near San Antonio college to downtown, and then to its current Monte Vista location in 1953. The school started in a former mansion and over time acquired neighboring parcels and houses. Today, the main campus occupies two acres on nearly an entire city block; and our Little School campus sits on more than one acre a few blocks to the south and east on Valero Street.

Keystone has expanded since its founding to add an Upper School, a kindergarten, and in 2012, a pre-kindergarten program, and from a handful of students to a total enrollment of around 500 students drawing families from 50 different zip codes in the San Antonio area.

While accolades are not the reason we perform the work we do, it’s still nice to be acknowledged. In 2006, the College Board named Keystone the “Best School in the World.” Every year since 2018, Niche has rated Keystone the “Best Private School” in San Antonio, the top science, technology, engineering and math school in San Antonio and a few years ago we were among the Top 100 STEM schools in the United States.

Our students have achieved brilliantly over the years. At least one Keystone student has competed each year at the International Science and Engineering Fair over the past 30 years (this year we are sending four), and Keystone teams have won regional Academic WorldQuest competitions every year since 2011, and captured national titles in 2022 and 2016.

In addition, while we are first and foremost an academic institution, our students excel in the arts and athletics. Cobras perform beautifully in music and theater, and produce inspiring works in various art media. Keystone’s athletic teams have demonstrated their prowess in girls’ volleyball winning the TAPPS 3A state volleyball tournament in 2023, 1999 and 1998, and its soccer team advanced to the TAPPS 3A quarterfinals in soccer in 2023 and 2018.

Individually, our students have received admirable recognition. Keystone has produced three Presidential Scholars – Phyllis Adler ‘66, Timothy Sammons ‘69, and Derek Wong ‘21; and one Rhodes Scholar, Isabella Sullivan ‘20.

As you would expect, Keystone alumni enroll in the nation’s finest colleges and universities and excel in higher education and graduate programs.

In addition, Keystone’s graduates have gone on to make important contributions in science, arts, medicine, business, law, academia, and many other fields, including San Antonio and Texas Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla ‘69; former Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General Doris White ‘ 74; former Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Michael Watkins ‘78; and concert violinist Nancy Zhou ‘11, to name only a few.

Keystone students have also committed themselves to living out one of the school’s core values of service by volunteering throughout the community to help improve the lives of all San Antonians, as well as people in other cities, states, and countries.

Over the past 75 years, Keystone Cobras have done extraordinary things. However, we are not a school that rests on our laurels. We continue to refine and improve the Keystone program, whether it’s creating and offering new courses every year, expanding programs like Outdoor Education, the arts, and athletics, or developing partnerships with other organizations that provide more opportunities for our students.

For now, we can take pride in how far Keystone has come over the past 75 years and the amazing contributions our students have made. And we can look forward to seeing all the great things future Cobras will accomplish in the years ahead. Here’s to another 75 years and more!

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