The Rabun Gap-Nacoochee Guild recently celebrated its 90th Anniversary at the Country Club of the South May 21.

During the luncheon Paige Spivey, Assistant Head of School, presented Guild President Rev. Jennifer Ham, with a Proclamation from the Head of School Jeff Miles and the Board of Trustees of Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School.

The Rabun Gap-Nacoochee Guild was created in 1931 to be an alliance to the mountain school — Rabun Gap Industrial School — founded by Dr. Andrew Jackson Ritchie, a Rabun County native, and his wife Addie Corn Ritchie in 1905. In the winter of 1926, a fire destroyed the Industrial School main building and the Nacoochee Institute in White County, headed by the Reverend John Knox Coit. Soon thereafter, the Boards of Trustees of the two schools voted to merge in 1927 and build a larger school known as Rabun Gap -Nacoochee School. Ritchie served as president, and Coit as copresident.

In the late 1920s, Murray Hubbard was asked by Rev. Dr. J. Sprole Lyons, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, to form an organization for the sole purpose of helping the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in time of trouble, sympathy, money, and prayers. On Sept. 15, 1931, the organization meeting of the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee Guild was held at the Georgian Terrace Hotel. Francis Abreu was elected the first president of the RG-NG.

The Proclamation states that the Guild has supported the School with charitable contributions that total more than $1 million and, as such, is recognized as a member of the Woodruff Society of Giving.

Ham presented Spivey with a Commendation signed by Governor Brian Kemp. Both the Proclamation and Commendation will be placed in the permanent records of the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School. She also presented Spivey with a check in the amount of $9,000 for scholarships.

A letter from Laura Turner Seydel was also read at the 90th Anniversary Celebration luncheon. She wrote that “the seeds of leadership, confidence, hope, faith, and love for the world were sown at Rabun Gap and continue to thrive in my daily life today.” As a present Guild member, Seydel thanked the entire Guild in assisting to provide for the needs of the school.

The School added to the festivity of the luncheon by giving each Guild member a rose corsage or boutonnière, a special gift and a congratulation letter from Miles that ended with a champagne toast. There were also two trifold presentation boards that displayed the history of the Guild from the 1900s and 2000s at the luncheon.

Scholarship winner and harpist Maria Paula Loria Valerin played the harp during the celebration.


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