1852-61: John Peyton McGuire
"To the average boy, the principal of a school embodies sternness and repression, and is the task master who exacts the performance of burdensome duties, a man who has no sympathy with the difficulties and temptations of boys. After I knew Mr. McGuire, I came to understand that he was a man who had once been a boy himself and sympathized with the trials and tribulations of boys." - Joseph Bryan, Class of 1861
Unlike his predecessors, Principal McGuire, known as Old Mac, found the School pleasantly solvent and raised the School’s tuition from $200 to $250 to ensure continued financial stability. Mr. McGuire had served on the Board of Trustees since the School’s founding.
Despite his role as disciplinarian, Mr. McGuire was approachable and open to students’ ideas and input. In response to student petitions, he would grant unscheduled holidays for skating in the winter or fishing and swimming in the warmer months. The welcome news would be announced by the Principal’s appearance at the chapel door following the 9:00 a.m. bell. His face would light up with a smile and with the students’ petition in hand, he would advise, “When you play, play as hard as you can, and when you study, study as hard as you can.”
When life at the School was especially difficult, as it was during the historically cold and snowy winter of 1856-57, Mr. McGuire would welcome his students into his study to keep warm and would entertain them by reading the newspaper aloud.
Mr. McGuire oversaw the closure of the School due to the Civil War.