The Pembroke Hill School

Infobox Private School
background = #f0f6fa
border = #ccd2d9
name = The Pembroke Hill School

motto = Freedom with Responsibility
established = 1910 - Pembroke-Country Day (boys), 1913 - Sunset Hill (girls), 1984 - Pembroke Hill (coed)
type = Private
religion = Nonsectarian
head_name = Headmaster
head = Dr. Steve Bellis
city = Kansas City
state = Missouri
country = USA
campus = Urban, two campuses
enrollment = Approx. 1,200
faculty = 129
class = 11 students
ratio = 9.5:1
year = 2005
SAT = Verbal: 658, Math: 656Peterson's Guide to Private Secondary Schools, 2008: "The Pembroke Hill School"]
ACT = 28
athletics = 14 interscholastic, numerous club
colors = Red & Blue
mascot = Raider (Viking)
conference = Missouri State High School Activities Association
homepage =|

The Pembroke Hill School (commonly known as Pembroke Hill) is a nonsectarian, coeducational, private preparatory school in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

The school has two campuses, the Ward Parkway Campus and the Wornall Campus, both in Kansas City's Sunset Hill neighborhood near the Country Club Plaza. Both campuses pre-date the Plaza itself. Pembroke Hill enrolls approximately 1,200 students in preschool through 12th grade. The school accepts approximately 66 percent of applicants. The school has a strong academic tradition and usually matriculates all of its graduates to four-year colleges, many in the Ivy League.



Vassie James Hill, born in 1875, was a prominent Kansas Citian. She graduated from Vassar College in 1897, and first married Hugh Ward, a rich son of pioneer Seth E. Ward. When Ward died, she married educator Albert Ross Hill, who formerly had been president of the University of Missouri. Hill was dismayed at the lack of nonsectarian private education in Kansas City, as at that time those of means in Kansas City commonly sent their children to boarding schools on the east coast.

Seeking a similar education for her three sons in Kansas City, Hill proceeded to arrange funding from twelve prominent Kansas City businessmen in 1910 and founded the Country Day School for boys, accepting both day students and boarders. (Boarding at the school ceased in the 1950s.) Initial enrollment was 20 students and grew to 52 within three years. Several years later, the Country Day School merged with the Pembroke School for boys to form the Pembroke-Country Day School for boys, establishing itself on the Country Day School's large campus along State Line Road, which is today the site of Pembroke Hill's Ward Parkway Campus. The school was often called Pem-Day.

In 1913, Hill sought the same sort of education for her daughter and founded the Sunset Hill School for girls (named after the neighborhood in which it was situated). The school established itself on a large campus overlooking what was then the location of the Kansas City Country Club (today Loose Park), including a portion of the battlefield from the Battle of Westport. The Sunset Hill campus is now Pembroke Hill's Wornall Campus.


From the start, Sunset Hill and Pembroke-Country Day worked cooperatively. Often, teachers taught at both schools. For generations, many Kansas City families would send their boys to Pem-Day and their girls to Sunset Hill. School activities, such as plays and dances, often were combined, and Sunset Hill girls were cheerleaders for Pem-Day's sports teams.

Given this cooperative environment, in the early 1980s the two schools began merger discussions. Finally, in 1984, Pem-Day and Sunset Hill merged to become the Pembroke Hill School, although the class of 1985 elected to have separate graduation ceremonies. True co-education began the next year. The former Sunset Hill campus became home to preschool through sixth grade, and the former Pem-Day campus became home to seventh grade through twelfth grade.

Image and improvements

In 1988, Pembroke Hill gained some local notoriety and scorn after "Kansas City Magazine" published an articled entitled "A High School on Easy Street," which criticized Pembroke Hill's students' "advantaged way of life." [ [ "The Kansas City Library: Catalogue"] ]

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Pembroke Hill completed a $50 million capital improvement project, which renovated both campuses extensively. The Ward Parkway campus gained a new middle school building, Boocock Middle School (which now serves grades six through eight), a new upper school building, Jordan Hall, a new arts center, and a new library, the William T. Kemper Library.


Pembroke Hill has a long athletic tradition. [ "The Pembroke Hill School (Official Website): Athletics"] ] Its colors are blue and red, its teams are known as the Raiders, and its mascot resembles a Viking raider. Pembroke is a member of the Missouri State High School Activities Association.

Sports offered

For girls, Pembroke Hill offers:

For boys, Pembroke Hill offers:

In the past, Pembroke also has participated in softball, rugby union,and ice hockey. Additionally, the lower school campus has facilities for racquetball, and the upper school campus is one of only three locations in Kansas City which contain squash facilities. [ [ "United States Squash Racquets Association: Missouri facility locations"] ]


For three years in a row, 1997, 1998, and 1999, Pembroke Hill's boys basketball team won the Missouri division 2A state title. In 2000, however, the Missouri State High School Activities Association stripped Pembroke of the titles and placed the school on probation after the "Kansas City Star" revealed, in a nationally-publicized scandal, that promoter and AAU coach Myron Piggie had made cash payments to two of the school's star players, Kareem Rush and his brother JaRon Rush, to play on his "amateur" basketball team. [ [ "ESPN: "Piggie indicted on 11 counts in Kansas City" (April 14, 2000)"] ] [ [ "Summer league basketball coach indicted on fraud," CNN and "Sports Illustrated", April 13, 2000] ] [ [ "Basketball Brief: And This Little Piggie Went To Jail", "The Daily Bruin", June 1, 2001] ] [ [ "Beyond Blood", "ESPN Magazine", February 4, 2001] ] [ "United States v. Piggie", 303 F.3d 923 (8th Cir. 2002)] ] Piggie admitted to paying JaRon Rush $17,000 and Kareem Rush $2,300, after which the brothers "submitted false and fraudulent Student Athlete Statements to the universities where they were to play intercollegiate basketball," certifying that they had not been paid to play basketball. As a result, the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Missouri found themselves subject to NCAA penalties for awarding athletic scholarships to non-amateurs. On Piggie's appeal in 2002 from his prison sentence and restitution for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and tax evasion, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit found that Pembroke Hill had "sustained a loss of $10,733.89 in investigative costs and forfeiture of property as a result of" Piggie's conspiracy.

In 2006 and 2007, the girls' basketball team won the Missouri Class 2 state title. The school is a perennial contender for or winner of Class 2 state championships in boys golf, boys tennis, boys soccer, girls golf, and girls tennis.


Pembroke Hill has cross-state athletic rivalries with MICDS and John Burroughs School, both in Ladue, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.

Additional information

Tuition and financial aid

In the 2008–2009 school year, tuition and fees will range from $15,120 (for students up to second grade) to $17,670 for high schoolers. [ [ "The Pembroke Hill School (Official Website): Tuition and Fees"] ] About 17 percent of students receive financial aid, totaling more than $1.6 million per year. [ [ "The Pembroke Hill School (Official Website): Tuition/Financial Aid"] ]

In May 2007, the Malone Family Foundation, established by John C. Malone of Denver, Colorado, gave a $2 million grant to Pembroke's endowment, the largest single endowment gift in the school's history."Pembroke Hill gets $2 million", "The Kansas City Star", May 31, 2007] The gift will be used to create the Malone Scholars Program to give need-based financial aid to highly qualified students who otherwise would qualify for at least 50 percent in financial aid, including not only low-income families but also middle-income families as well.

Assets and contributions

The school has assets of over $100 million and an endowment of more than $22 million. [ Nonprofit Organization Profile ] ] It receives substantial contributions not only from a large percentage of its alumni base, but also from Hallmark Cards, Kansas City Southern Industries, Sprint, H&R Block, and other leading regional corporations, many of whose executives attended Pembroke Hill.


Pembroke Hill is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. [ "The Pembroke Hill School (Official Website): PHS at a Glance"] ] The school is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

Notable alumni

Government and politics

* D. Brook Bartlett, class of 1955; former Chief Judge, United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri
* Richard L. Berkley, class of 1949; 52nd Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri (1979-1991)
* Bruce M. Forrester, class of 1928; former judge, United States Tax Court
* Charles H. Price II, class of 1948; former United States Ambassador to Belgium (1981-1983) and United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom (1983-1989); appointed by President Ronald Reagan
* Michaela Walsh, class of 1953; investment banker and feminist activist; President and Chair of Women's Asset Management; American delegate to the United Nations Decade for Women in the 1970s and 1980s

Media and the arts

* Elizabeth Craft, class of 1989; writer for the television series "Angel" and "The Shield"; also co-producer of "The Shield" [ [ "IMDB: Elizabeth Craft"] ]
* Henry A. Guettel, class of 1944; Broadway theatre producer; credits include national touring companies of "The Sound of Music", "Camelot", and "Oliver!"
* John Kander, class of 1944; Broadway theatre composer; musicals include "Chicago", "Cabaret", and "Fosse"; famous songs include "Theme from New York, New York"; films include "Cabaret" and "Chicago"; nominated for Academy Award for Best Song of 2002, for "I Move On" from "Chicago", which won Best Picture of 2002 [ [ "IMDB: 2002 Academy Awards"] ]
* John Stewart Muller, class of 1995, motion picture and television commercial director; films include "Fling", starring Brandon Routh, which debuted at the Newport Beach Film Festival, and received an award for "Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking" by the festival's jury
* David Owen, class of 1973; author; books include: "The Walls Around Us", "My Usual Game", "High School", "None of the Above: Behind the Myth of Scholastic Aptitude", and "The Man Who Invented Saturday Morning". Owen is a staff writer for the "New York Times" and a regular columnist for "Home Magazine".
* Whitney Terrell, class of 1986; author; credits include "The King of Kings County" and "The Huntsman", which was named to the "New York Times" "notable" list in 2001

Science and technology

* Dr. Betty Grover Eisner, class of 1933; pioneer in LSD research.
* Dr. Ruth Patrick, class of 1925; botanist and limnologist at the University of Virginia specializing in diatoms and freshwater ecology
* Dr. Kathryn Stephenson, class of 1930; first woman in America to be a board-certified plastic surgeon


* Dr. Dean C. Allard, class of 1951; historian; former director, United States Naval Historical Center
* Mary Lou Cook, class of 1935; noted educator, nuclear safety advocate, and designated "living treasure" of Santa Fe, New Mexico
* Dr. Carlos E. Cortes, class of 1952; professor emeritus of history at the University of California, Riverside
* C. Stewart Gillmor, class of 1956; noted author and professor of history and science at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut
* Jay Lorsch, class of 1950; Louis Kirstein Professor of Human Relations at the Harvard Business School
* Robert H. Mnookin, class of 1960; Samuel Williston Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School, former law clerk to Supreme Court Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan II
* Franklin D. Murphy, class of 1932; former chancellor of the University of Kansas (1951-1960) and of the University of California, Los Angeles (1960-1968); former chairman and CEO of the Times Mirror Company; noted Los Angeles philanthropist


* Gordon T. Beaham III, class of 1949; chairman of the board and president of the Faultless Starch/Bon Ami Company, maker of Bon Ami household cleaner
* Stanley Durwood, class of 1938; founder of AMC Theatres
* Donald J. Hall, Sr., class of 1946; chairman of the board and former president and CEO of Hallmark Cards; founder, Hall Family Foundation
* Donald J. Hall, Jr., class of 1974; president and CEO, Hallmark Cards
* Barnett C. Helzberg, Jr., class of 1952; jewelry magnate; sold his company, Helzberg Diamonds, to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway in 1995; wrote book "What I Learned Before I Sold to Warren Buffett"
* Irvine O. Hockaday, Jr., class of 1954; former president and CEO, Hallmark Cards; former president and CEO, Kansas City Southern Industries; member or former member of the Board, Kansas City Southern Industries, Ford Motor Company, Dow Jones & Co., Aquila, Inc., Sprint, Estee Lauder; former chairman, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City; trustee, Hall Family Foundation
* David H. Hughes, class of 1945; former president and CEO of Hallmark Cards
* Jay Jordan, class of 1965; founder of The Jordan Company LP, a New York City-based private investment firm.
* Members of the Kemper family, which funded both Kemper Arena and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art:
** David Kemper, class of 1968; [ [ "St. Louis Commerce Magazine: Cover Story, November 2002"] ] president and CEO of Commerce Bancshares
** James M. Kemper, Jr., class of 1939; chairman of the board of Commerce Bancshares
* George R. Mrkonic, Jr., class of 1970; former president and vice chairman of Borders Group; son of professional football player George Mrkonic
* The family of J. C. Nichols, major Kansas City developer
** Miller Nichols, class of 1929; son of J.C. Nichols; former chairman, president, and CEO of the J.C. Nichols Company; major Kansas City real estate developer
** Jeanette Nichols, class of 1943; widow of Miller Nichols; major Kansas City philanthropist


* Masten Gregory, attended; Formula One driver
* Bill Rockne (class of 1935) and Knute Rockne, Jr. (class of 1937), sons of famed University of Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne
* JaRon Rush, class of 1998; averaged 32 points per game in high school and played two years at the University of California, Los Angeles before declaring for the NBA draft; played on the 1998 McDonald's All-American Team, participated in the dunk contest; was not drafted and remained a free agent before ending up with the ABA's Kansas City Knights
* Kareem Rush, class of 1999; professional basketball shooting guard, first a college star for the Missouri Tigers, then played for the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats and Los Angeles Lakers basketball teams; currently with the Indiana Pacers
* Bill Wakefield, class of 1959; professional baseball pitcher for the New York Mets in 1964
* Tom Watson, class of 1967; professional golfer, won The Masters Tournament in 1977 and 1981, won the U.S. Open in 1981, and won the British Open in 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, and 1983


External links

* [ "The Pembroke Hill School (Official Website)"]

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