"A solid foundation assists a child to find strength when tested."
-The Reverend Canon Ernest D. Sillers
Founder, St. Margaret's Episcopal School
Nestled among gently rolling hills, St. Margaret's Episcopal School is situated on a picturesque twenty-acre campus in historic San Juan Capistrano, just three miles from the Pacific Ocean. In 2009, St. Margaret's Episcopal School marks its 30th year as a vital member of the San Juan Capistrano community and educational landscape of Orange County, California.
In 1979, the Reverend Canon Ernest D. Sillers, an Episcopal priest with a deep passion for education, founded St. Margaret's Episcopal Church and School. Father Sillers was certain in his vision: establish a college preparatory school rooted in a framework that nurtures a student's mind, body, spirit, and social and moral development.
St. Margaret's was named to honor the 11th century Queen Margaret of Scotland, Patron Saint of Education. Befitting its namesake, the school carries many Scottish traditions including Highland bagpipers processing in full regalia at formal ceremonies, student teams competing as The Tartans, the Scottie Dog Lower School mascot and the tartan plaid design seen throughout campus.
In its first year, St. Margaret's welcomed 79 students attending kindergarten through grade six in temporary buildings. The Early Childhood Development Center opened in 1981 and by June 1986, when Father Sillers addressed the first graduating class, students were enrolled in preschool through grade twelve.
St. Margaret's welcomed its second Headmaster, Markham B. Campaigne, in September 1986. During his seventeen-year tenure, the school grew to more than 1,200 students and expanded its traditional mission-styled campus to include new classroom buildings, science labs, athletic facilities and a comprehensive library.
Under the guidance of Headmaster Marcus D. Hurlbut, who joined the St. Margaret's community as its third headmaster in 2003, campus expansion continued while rigorous academic preparation and moral development remained hallmarks of a St. Margaret's education. Traditions of academic distinction, athletic championships and artistic acclaim were all sustained by a community of faculty and families committed to educational excellence and integrity.
Today, Father Sillers' philosophy of educating the whole child endures in an updated 21st Century Learning approach. As graduates matriculate to a broad range of colleges, including the most selective universities in the nation, they join more than 1,400 alumni who, when tested, find strength from their St. Margaret's foundation, just as Father Sillers intended nearly thirty years ago.
The Archive will feature photographs and stories from SMES history as they connect to SMES today. To see how things happening today were done in past years, visit the archive often, and enjoy Tartan history. You may view featured photos from past events in the Archive Photo Galleries in the right column of this page.
the official SMES archive has been established to gather and preserve items of historical or endearing value to the school. Memorabilia from print, digital, video, audio, and photographs are in the growing collection as are collectible items such as uniforms and school spirit souvenirs. These items are available for reference right now in the Tartan Suite, by appointment, and by June the collection may be viewed digitally from anywhere, including iPods!
To see a list of items currently stored in the archives:
To access data, or contribute items, please contact Archivist Lisa Merryman, at (949) 661-0108 ext. 231