60 years and 174 million miles

Published 11:24 am Monday, September 24, 2012

By DALE BRAKHAGE / Community Columnist

While celebrating its 60th anniversary, Indian Springs School is also sharing in an achievement happening 174 million miles away. How?

Dr. David Oh, a 1987 graduate of Indian Springs School (ISS), is the lead flight director of NASA’s Mars Science Rover, Curiosity. That is the robot currently exploring Mars more than 174 million miles away.

This would be no surprise to Harvey T. Woodward. He was the Birmingham industrialist who attended MIT and dedicated his estate to the formation of Indian Springs School. When it opened 60 years ago, it was a boy’s school. In 1975, enrollment opened to girls.

Since 1952, Indian Springs School has produced more than 2,000 alumni.

Gareth Vaughan is the school’s director. He explained the school motto, Learning Through Living. “Learning Through Living encapsulates our philosophy of education, which holds that, every day, a student’s entire school experience — not just his or her classroom experience — forms a central part of his or her education. While we are a highly regarded academically, it’s not only about the academics here. It’s about the interpersonal and about becoming a responsible citizen, both in the school community and wider community.”

How successful is Indian Springs School in preparing students? Universities all across America routinely send representatives here to recruit ISS students.

This year 277 students are enrolled in grades 8-12. They come from 14 countries and 10 states. Those students and the 40 faculty members cooperate in the school’s day-to-day operations. The school runs like a small town, and school issues are discussed at regularly held town meetings.

Would you like to see the school? Next month you have that opportunity.

Melanie Kieve is in charge of the school’s community relations. She shared this good news. “We will be holding open houses for prospective students and families on Oct. 22 from 8:30-11 a.m. and Nov. 4 from 1:30-4 p.m. We are so pleased to have Shelby County students as part of our school community, and are thrilled to welcome other Shelby County families to join us for open house.”

To register, visit ExperienceSprings.org.


Dale Brakhage writes a weekly column about Indian Springs and its residents. You can reach him at dale@dalebrakhage.com.