The hard work and dedication of many have allowed Marlboro Academy to educate students for 50 years.
"One thing about our school is we have had a lot of long hours of hard and dedicated work and enthusiasm from many people who have been associated with this school," said Carol Stanton, a current teacher and former student.
On April 21, 1969, 175 people from Marlboro, Scotland, and Richmond counties met to discuss forming an independent school.
Originally, the group tried to procure the Fletcher School building near McColl but after the details could not be worked out, local farmer L.E. Pence donated 10 acres of land where the school is currently located.
"They gathered donations from interested people," Stanton said. "It took a lot of donations."
After the first building, then the gym building was added in 1970.
It opened in one building with 240 students in grades 1-12 on Sept. 4, 1969 with William P. Stubbs as the first headmaster. A kindergarten was added in 1998 and pre-kindergarten a few years later.
For teacher Stacey Newton, Marlboro Academy is a family tradition. She graduated from the school. So did her husband and their oldest son. Her youngest son has attended since pre-k and is now in the 10th grade. He will graduate in 2021.
"It is a family tradition but we have a lot of people here like this," she said.
Fellow teacher Debby Leslie agreed.
Her mother taught at the school when it first opened. Leslie later joined her on the faculty and has never left.
All of Leslie's children attended and graduated. "And now I have grandchildren here," she said.
Newton feels one of the drawing points of the school is the family atmosphere.
"For the kids who come from far away, their parents know they will be taken care of," she said.
Stanton has a similar history, attending the school for first through ninth grades and now teaching at the school for 23 years.
"Thirty-two years of my 52 years of life have been connected to Marlboro Academy," she said. "It is a long time."
To celebrate 50 years of history at Marlboro Academy, there has been a logo contest, 50th-year Anniversary Bash, the class of 2018 designed t-shirts, an alumni basketball game, and the 50th Miss Marlboro Academy pageant with a drop-in for all the former winners.
Today, the Academy has 258 students in grades kindergarten-12.
Stanton said their students help out throughout the community with activities such as the Rotary barbecue, Richmond County Special Olympics, Countywide Cleanup Day, area food banks, Operation Christmas Tree and having a Relay for Life team each year.
"We provide lots of community service," she said.
Other changes in the school include a more diverse student population, more athletic options, dual enrollment classes with Northeastern Tech, honors classes and additional buildings constructed. The school also offers a true arts curriculum including a k-12 chorus.
Construction has depended on donations, Stanton said and does not come from tuition.
Newton said one of her favorite things is when graduates come and she gives a tour of the changes.
"They can't believe we are still here," Newton said. "And we have kept true to the mission of having a traditional curriculum."