Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School is an independent, faith-based middle school for students of limited resources primarily from Richmond’s East End neighborhood. All students receive a full-tuition scholarship to attend. Through a program focused on academic, social, and spiritual development, we help students set their sights on college and responsible citizenship.
Read more about the school, its students and its namesake.
This past January, The Richmond Times Dispatch covered the school and its beginnings.
Last year, the school moved into its current building, a former public preschool across the street from Creighton Court, one of the city’s public-housing developments. Decades ago, the property was the site of a nightclub called the Pink Garter.
The school is on a nice roll — new home, rising enrollment, high retention, wonderful outside support and its first graduates, many of whom received scholarships to some of the area’s most prestigious private schools. But [its founder Mike] Maruca is not yet ready to say it is a success, and, in fact, goes out of his way to insist it isn’t. Not yet.
“I’m always worried about it being portrayed almost too hopefully,” he said. “There’s a lot of evidence that something remarkable has happened here, and I hope it continues, but we’re still young. Our mission is a very ambitious one — to have all of these kids not only thinking about college but going to college. And even deeper than that, for them to get a kind of stability and traction and to have some hope … (so) they have a good shot at a more decent life.
Hands-on help has come from everywhere: volunteers who work one-on-one with students, mentors like Mary Cay Kollmansperger who guide students and befriend entire families, and groups who descend on the place to paint and construct shelves or set up new lockers for the school’s fledgling football team, which begins play this fall.
The school is affiliated with The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.
Among other projects Grace & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church completed an outdoor chapel at the school today.