GPS: A Celebrated Centennial Business

Our school among those recognized by Chamber for longevity and contributions to Chattanooga community
During the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's recent annual meeting, Girls Preparatory School, founded in 1906, was recognized as one of Chattanooga's century-strong businesses with a rich history of stability and longevity. Representatives of GPS, including Head of School Dr. Autumn A. Graves and Mark Vosskamp, CFO, were honored to receive a special plaque.

“Now more than ever, we firmly stand as a strategic partner of the Chamber, the Chattanooga business community, and those committed to the success of the next generation," Graves says. "We are so proud of our enduring legacy and dedication to the education of thousands of girls in our area and those still to come in the next century."

As we begin our 114th school year at GPS, we continue the enduring legacy of our Founders by providing the best learning environment for girls. At a time when girls were not afforded the same college preparatory education as boys, three visionary female school teachers started Girls Preparatory School. 

Misses Eula Lea Duffy, Tommie Payne Jarnagin, and Grace Eliza McCallie each invested $100 and converted Miss McCallie’s home on Oak Street in downtown Chattanooga into the first location of GPS. Minnie Everett became their first student and enrolled the day the new school’s announcement hit the local paper. School began on September 12, 1906, just four months after the announcement of its inception.

More than 110 years later, the stories and the trajectory of the lives of thousands of girls have been written and modeled because of the tenacity of the three Founders, who were not only educators but also resourceful social entrepreneurs. With support from their GPS sisters, teachers, coaches, and counselors, girls are free to discover their passions in the classroom, on the field, or on the stage.

From being first in the community to provide girls opportunities for sports such as golf and lacrosse to hosting all-girl entrepreneurial events and special speakers, GPS remains committed to its initial resolve to provide an environment where everything begins and ends with what is best for girls. 

While GPS has evolved and grown over the years, one constant remains: a passion and commitment for preparing girls—in mind, body, and spirit—for college and for life.