Gray Stone Day School occupied seven classrooms in Harris and opened its doors to 77 ninth and tenth graders on August 6, 2002, after its charter was approved unanimously by the State Board of Education in February of the same year. A board of directors governs the school, which was chaired by founder Helen Nance. Dr. Marjorie Anderson was Head of School and a faculty of eight taught honors classes in the N C Academic Scholars program. Sports began forming with volleyball, women’s tennis, co-ed soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, cheerleading, and two swimmers. Clubs included Moot Court, which was regional winner, Mock Trial, student council, handbells, yearbook, and a very young Quiz Bowl team that was county champion and district runner-up. Pfeiffer University welcomed three Gray Stone students to the stage in Godspell roles, a few into college classes, and required all to wear IDs. Gray Stone’s ABC test scores were 97.7 percent above grade level, the highest in the state, earning a School of Excellence designation.
The fall of 2003 began with 52 freshmen, eight additional faculty positions, more renovated space in Harris, an expanded curriculum with more electives, and a total enrollment of 127. Sports added golf, men’s and women’s soccer, cross country, a cheer competition team, and real uniforms were purchased. Newly formed clubs included an Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta which sponsored a Math 24 competition, Junior Civitan, FCA, pep club and newspaper. Moot Court took first place in Mecklenburg County, in regional competition, and was state runner-up. A spring formal was held at Uwharrie Point. Adam Gulledge and Christina Luck attended N C Governor’s School. Gray Stone’s ABC score was 94.6 percent, the second highest in the state, earning the school the top rating of Honor School of Excellence.
The school year saw enrollment grow to 180 and parking on campus became difficult. Softball, baseball and swim teams were added, as well as Spanish National Honor Society, the Knavery literary magazine, and the first annual Talent Show. Moot Court was state champion, Mock Trial was regional champion, Quiz Bowl was county winner, and the first junior-senior prom was held at Uwharrie Point. Gray Stone was again named an Honor School of Excellence with 93.8 percent at or above grade level. The school ranked seventh in the state with an average SAT score of 1131 out of a possible 1600. Kevin Hathcock and Gretyl Kinsey attended N C Governor’s School. The first graduating class of 21 saw college acceptances for all, scholarships totaling $280,000, the first annual Board of Directors Scholarship given to Beth Solomon in honor of Marilyn Kinsey, the first national letter of intent signed by David Heyen with UNC-Greensboro in golf, and the Presidential Scholarship to Pfeiffer University for Brittani Forte. Other acceptances included Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Hampden-Sydney College, N C State University, Wake Forest, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Phillip J. Kirk, Jr., former N C State Board of Education Chairman, was the guest speaker at graduation, which was held on the lawn beside Merner Gym.
With Helen Nance at the helm as Chief Administrative Officer and Jeff Morris on staff as Director of Athletics and Associate Director, 19 teachers were in place for an enrollment of 215. An innovative master schedule was implemented, which was more aligned with a college day, resulting in an early release on Tuesdays and a later start on Thursdays. The Board of Directors was chaired by H. Earl Singletary, Jr. Athletics joined the 1A/2A Rocky River Conference and began competing at states in cross country, swimming, golf and tennis; cheerleading won a state title, and all-conference honors were earned in cross country, men’s soccer, women’s tennis, swimming, softball, track, men’s tennis and golf. The school was awarded a $330,700 technology grant for an Interactive Distance Learning Center. This was the first year of National Honor Society inductees, and three Advanced Placement courses were added to the curriculum: AP English Literature, AP English Language, AP European History, and AP Calculus. Gray Stone ranked eighth in the state with an average SAT score of 1659 out of a possible 2400. N C Governor’s School welcomed Braxton Kinsey and Erin Witalison. The first annual school carnival began as a spring prom fundraiser. The second graduating class of 32 was the first class at Gray Stone to complete Senior Service Projects, and they earned $320,000 in scholarships, including Rita Lehman's Pfeiffer University Honors Scholarship, and Felicia Hatley's Board of Directors Scholarship in honor of Bart Burpeau. U S Senator Richard Burr addressed the class at graduation. Notable college acceptances included Duke University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and eight of 32 seniors being accepted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The school year opened with 240 students squeezed into Harris, and with expectations to soon start building. AP Statistics, AP Biology, and AP US History were added to the curriculum for a total of seven AP courses. Quiz bowl was regional champion, the yearbook cover earned a Look Book award, and Jenna Hall and Kelsey Maher attended N C Governor’s School. All-conference was earned in volleyball, women’s tennis, men’s soccer, cross country, swimming, women’s soccer, men’s tennis and golf, with all-region and all-state honors in cross country and swimming. Gray Stone earned a School of Distinction rating. National letters of intent were signed by Erin Witalison to play softball at Catawba College, and by Joseph Helms to run cross country at Pfeiffer University. Garrett Anderson was Gray Stone’s first appointment to the U S Military Academy at West Point, and Parker Cox earned the first N C Teaching Fellows Scholarship. Rufus L. Edmisten, Jr., former N C Secretary of State and N C Attorney General, addressed the 38 graduates who earned over $560,000 in scholarships and contributed countless service hours in their communities. The Board of Directors Scholarship was awarded to Tiffany Harmon in honor of Pfeiffer University President Dr. Chuck Ambrose. College acceptances included Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, Coastal Carolina University, Brevard College, and Meredith College.
In the fall, 280 students enrolled and Gray Stone’s charter was renewed through 2017. Quiz Bowl won the district, Mock Trial was national runner-up, Heather Van Wallendael attended N C Governor’s School, and Gray Stone surpassed the national and state SAT averages with a score of 1643 for the region’s highest score. Cross country was state runner-up, earning all-region and all-state honors, and athletics continued to strengthen. Jenna Hall won the Thomas Wolfe Scholarship at UNC –Chapel Hill, Lauren Solomon earned a NC Teaching Fellows Scholarship, and Raegan Perry was awarded the Board of Directors scholarship in honor of Roger Dick. The fourth graduating class of 42 seniors received over $430,000 in scholarships and was addressed by former N C Governor Jim Martin. College acceptances included Davidson College, Radford University, Ball State University, Johnson & Wales University, and the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
The school year began with Freshman Academy prior to the first day of school and with 283 students enrolled; some students had assigned parking at Merner Gym. A few Gray Stone courses were taught in a Pfeiffer library classroom. Quiz Bowl won the county title, indoor track was added to athletics, and the Joust student newspaper was begun by Rachel Mobley as a service project. Gray Stone was the highest in the region in SAT scores with an average score of 1662, well above the state and national averages. Women’s tennis, men’s cross country, golf, and Mock Trial all competed in states. Kaely Lykins won a N C Teaching Fellows Scholarship, Caitlyn Ferebee received the Board of Directors scholarship in honor of Kris Ambrose, and the senior class earned more than $880,000 in scholarships and performed more than 1500 hours of community service. The 64 graduates were addressed in Merner Gym by Wade M. Smith, N C Defense Attorney and former member of the N C House of Representatives, in the first indoor graduation ceremony. Acceptances included the University of Miami, Florida State University, New York University, Dartmouth College, Clemson University, Queens College, Oxford College at Emory University, and Ohio State University.
Enrollment grew to 303, and the 22 teachers made use of additional classroom space in Pfeiffer’s library and in the administration building. Athletics was moved into the 1A Yadkin Valley Conference, men’s soccer was YVC champion, Molly Peele was the first to score 1,000 points in basketball, men’s cross country was 1A state champion and earned championship rings, and cross country coach Rick Perry was named Charlotte Observer and Piedmont Coach of the Year. Groundbreaking was held on April 14, 2010 to begin construction on a $7.2 million facility measuring 57,000 square feet on Pfeiffer’s campus. The annual carnival prom fundraiser was moved to the fall. Quiz Bowl won districts, Mock Trial won the state title and competed in Philadelphia at nationals, and Eldon Zacek attended N C Governor’s School. Josh Clayton accepted the Board of Directors scholarship in honor of Bud Singletary, and the Class of 2010 earned $1,900,000 in scholarships. Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory addressed 62 graduates in the sixth commencement ceremony. Notable acceptances included Princeton University, U S Military Academy at West Point, The University of Southern California, Duke University, Davidson College, Clemson University, and the University of Tennessee.
The first semester of the school year was spent in Harris, with the new building opening for classes on January 4, 2011. Students, parents, staff and alumni spent New Year's eve moving across campus to 49464 Merner Terrace, Misenheimer, where ample restrooms, lockers, classroom space, a gym and no stairs were welcome changes. AP Environmental Science, AP Macroeconomics, AP Government and Politics, and AP Human Geography were added, bringing the total to eleven AP courses. Gray Stone's average senior SAT score of 1658 was one of the area's highest with 100% participation, well above the state and national averages. Janna Featherstone, Illa Jones, Hunter Latimer, and Caroline McLeod took the 1A state 4x800 relay title. Gray Stone's seventh commencement was the first to be held in the gym on the new campus, where 62 graduates of the Class of 2011 earned $1,165,000 in scholarships and were addressed by N C Secretary of Commerce Keith Crisco. The Board of Directors Scholarship was given to Rachel Chambers in honor of Clegg Mabry. Seniors attending Rice University, the Citadel, and the University of California at Berkeley took Gray Stone's academic reputation to new locations.
The school year opened with 356 students. The first-ever lottery was held in December to determine admission for the next school year. AP Chemistry was added, and Gray Stone again boasted a spike in the senior average SAT score of 1661 with 100% participation, still well above the state and national averages. Rebecca Brickner and Lea Efird attended N C Governor's School. The marksmanship team earned state and national titles. Hunter Latimer was the first from Gray Stone Day to earn a Morehead-Cain Scholarship to UNC-Chapel Hill, James Parkhill was the first UNC-Charlotte Levine Scholarship recipient, and Dylan Maher became the school's third cadet to attend the U S Military Aacdemy at West Point. The eighth graduating class of 62 seniors was addressed by former Charlotte mayor Richard Vinroot, and earned $1,695,000 in scholarships, including the Board of Directors Scholarship which went to Meredith Allen in honor of Gary and Jann Lowder. Purdue University, Berry College, Clemson University, and Pace University were added to the list of college acceptances.
The school year opened with 387 students and 29 teachers, with some in mobile units while construction was underway. The $1.2 million addition opened in January and expanded the facility by nearly 10,000 square feet with a 50-seat lecture hall, several labs, more classrooms and restrooms, and a teacher workroom. Gray Stone's average senior SAT score spiked 44 points to reach 1705, the second highest score in the state, again topping area, state and national scores. Libby Fowler and Brooke Herlocker earned the 1A state women's tennis doubles title, the marksmanship team won state and national titles, and Gray Stone earned the Jack C. Gaster, Jr. Award for Excellence in Athletics which is presented to the Yadkin Valley Conference school with the most successful athletic program. Catherine Harward was Gray Stone's first recipient of the Park Scholarship at N C State University, Evana Bodiker earned a Scholastics Silver Key Writing Award, Darcie Herron received the Board of Directors Scholarship in honor of Jim Hillier, and Caroline McLeod attended N C Governor's School. The ninth graduating class of 66 seniors continued the tradition of service projects, earned nearly $815,000 in scholarships, and was addressed by Thom Tillis, Speaker of the N C House of Representatives.
Gray Stone accommodated 420 students in August 2013 in its expanded space, which included a weight room. The marksmanship team earned another national title in New Mexico, Libby Fowler and Brooke Herlocker defended their 1A state tennis doubles title, Evana Bodiker earned a Scholastics Gold Key Writing Award, and Gray Stone hosted and won the 34th County Quiz Bowl championship. Chief Administrative Officer Helen Nance was appointed by Governor Pat McCrory to a four-year term as Chairman of the N C Charter School Advisory Board. National Merit Scholar Caroline McLeod won the McNair and Leiber Scholarships at the University of South Carolina, Libby Fowler earned the Griffith-Quattlebaum Honor Scholarship at Presbyterian College in SC, Pfeiffer University graduated six standouts from Gray Stone, and John Latimer was our first graduate to attend Stanford University. Former Delta Force commander Retired Major General Gary Harrell addressed the 10th graduating class of 87 college-bound seniors, who earned over $1.8 million in scholarships, including a Feinstein Foundation service scholarship for Sam HillJennings, and the Board of Directors Scholarship which went to John Latimer in honor of the Misenheimer Police Department.