In 1955, a small, private school opened at the corner of Capital Avenue and Fourth Street in two converted houses. The school moved in 1967 from South Frankfort to its present location on Deepwood Drive.
From the beginning, the teachers and staff at Capital Day School (CDS) have worked to teach an enriched, accelerated curriculum that helped students build a strong foundation of learning, according to the current CDS Head of School, Tim Corkran. “The school continues to adhere to that goal today,” he says.
The CDS website notes that “it is our goal for all CDS students to have the knowledge, skills and character they need to achieve success.” Students who started their education at CDS have gone on to further their education at schools as close as Kentucky State, UK, Transylvania and Centre; and as far away as Duke, UVA, Harvard and Yale.
The stories told below show how CDS has provided many of its graduates with the foundation needed to succeed in life and how they and others have trusted CDS to provide family members and children with the same strong academic foundation they received throughout the school’s 64-year history.
John D. Stewart
John started at CDS in 1957, graduating as valedictorian in 1966. His three younger siblings also attended CDS.
“I had academic success at multiple levels throughout my educational career, ultimately through surgical training and fellowship. My father was my biggest mentor, himself a distinguished student and physician and early board member in CDS’ formative years. But clearly, the other factor was the experience I received on the corner of Capital Avenue and Fourth Street,” John relates. “The most influential years (for me) were first grade, where I learned academic discipline and commitment to task, and eighth grade, arguably the most motivating year I ever had academically, where I felt inspired toward the competitive aspects of academic excellence and was shown the horizons of true learning. Capital Day was a truly remarkable experience.”
John, a surgeon in Lexington for more than 30 years, grew up at Stewart Home & School in Frankfort. He recently retired from surgery and is the fifth generation of Stewarts, along with his siblings, to run the residential school for those with intellectual disabilities.
William started at CDS as a second grader in 1957, two years after the school was founded. William’s brother and cousin also attended the school during it’s early years. His son Randle, was a second generation CDS student.
William related, “CDS gave me a good foundation and taught me how to study.” He added that CDS taught him to “have the intellectual honesty to do a research project over a few times until it lived up to the criterion ‘have something to say, say it well (and clearly).’ I think these attributes probably originated in me in my early years at CDS and they have stayed with me my entire 67 years.”
William graduated from Centre College and received an MPA degree from the University of Tennessee. For 36 years, he has worked as an EPA Project Manager overseeing the design, bidding and construction of large water and wastewater infrastructure grant and loan projects.
Randle, William Averell’s son, attended CDS through sixth grade. He says his time there was challenging but, looking back, felt like it taught him how to “chip away at a large task and get it done.” He also credits CDS with teaching him how to write well.
“I noticed all throughout college that term papers and reports had the majority of my fellow classmates groaning with despair. They would need hours to write a short five-page paper,” Randle says. “I remember writing 20-page minimum papers by sixth grade at CDS. Learning how to do that at an early age made it so much easier later on.”
Cassie Powell Anderson
Cassie has several connections to CDS through the years. She started at CDS as a third grader in 1995, graduating in 2000. Her sister Elly Powell was also a CDS student. Cassie married Casey Anderson, who attended CDS through sixth grade. Currently, Casey and Cassie’s two young children, Beatrice and Richard, are students at CDS.
“I see my children growing and becoming independent learners and I think Capital Day is a major part of that,” Cassie says. “CDS has been a second family to Beatrice and Richard, and it’s because of the excellent teachers they have. I especially love the Montessori program because it lets both of them succeed in their own ways.”
Rob attended CDS from 1962 until 1969 (kindergarten through sixth grade). “My first appreciation of my CDS education came very early when we moved to Columbus. I was a full year ahead of the other students in my seventh grade class. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to continue to build on the foundation that CDS provided,” he remarks. Rob went on to receive a BA of Economics from Duke University, a law degree from U of L School of Law and a masters degree in LLM, Taxation from Georgetown Law School. His sister, four cousins and his two children all attended CDS.
Rob has fond memories of his time at CDS. “I remember the red school house on the corner of Capital Avenue and Fourth Street,” he says. “I remember Ms. Tobin’s kindergarten class and the ‘growing up stool.’”
He has been involved with the CDS board and is a long time coach for both boys and girls basketball teams. “I have stayed involved with the school for several reasons,” Rob explains. “I believe in its mission. CDS provides a quality education in a safe environment. The teacher to student ratio and small class size allows students to participate in all areas. Students at CDS learn how to think critically and how subject matter overlaps and interconnects as they master various disciplines.”
Rob Hardy’s son, Houston, graduated from CDS in 2002 and credits his education there with giving him the skills needed in his career. “Sometimes you don’t appreciate the benefit of certain events in your life until well after they occur,” he explains.
“My life’s work in the U.S. military is complex, challenging and rewarding, and I rely on understanding intricate systems to interpret and implement policy. Day-to-day, I employ critical thinking to attack new problem sets and make quick decisions where the correct choice is not immediately apparent. When I reflect on my process, the constant stalwart in my background that prepared me is the education I received at CDS. It provided the foundation and the tools for success.”
Chris, who works as an assistant Franklin County attorney, started his education at CDS, graduating in 1979. His two sons, Jake and Luke, followed in their father’s footsteps by attending CDS, then Frankfort High School. “I have always given CDS a lot of credit for what I have been able to accomplish in my life,” Chris says, “and most of the credit in preparing me for college.”
Even though Virgil attended CDS for a short time in the early 1990s, he says he feels like CDS gave him a comfortable environment to be himself and make friendships while being in small classes. Virgil’s father, Tad Barnard, attended CDS for all of his elementary and middle school years.
“When I left CDS and went back to public school, I felt like I had become aware of a richer world of information that existed. I distinctly remember becoming very interested in the human heart … as well as the human brain,” Virgil comments.
A new generation
Judy Turner, who taught middle school language arts at CDS for 20 years and served as the interim head of the school for two years, believes that the school has always been dedicated to preparing students to meet the challenges of the next phase of their education. “Now, there is more emphasis on collaboration — a valuable skill in adult workers — and on learning how to safely and successfully use technology,” she comments.
“At it’s heart, Capital Day School (CDS) strives to make students excited about learning and engaged in their own academic growth,” Tim explains. He says that the school is committed to low student-teacher ratios, modern language learning, enrichment programs and lots of physical activity for the students.
“Alumni have been very important to CDS,” Tim remarks. “The value of the school was proven to them long ago, so they continue to support it and serve it. Their voices in the parent community and on the board ensure that the time-honored tradition of being Frankfort’s home for academic excellence continues.” Tim is compelled to recreate the value described in their stories and testimonials for today’s students.
“I am excited to see how Frankfort is growing and know that Capital Day offers the type of education that many present and future Frankfort residents value,” Tim says. “CDS is a warm, student-centered community that embraces and facilitates student challenge, academic excellence and parent involvement.”