Presentation Academy
Presentation Academy, a college-preparatory high school for young women, is located just south of Downtown Louisville, Kentucky in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville. Founded in 1831 by Mother Catherine Spalding, foundress of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, it is the oldest school in continuous operation in Louisville.

Catherine Spalding founded Presentation in 1831. The school began in a rented house, but in October of the same year moved to its own building on Fifth Street where it would remain for over fifty years. Presentation was the second school founded in Louisville. A public school effort started in 1828 quickly failed due to lack of funds, and thus Presentation became the oldest school in continuous operation in the city. The school expanded, and in 1891 NLBI, the corporate arm of the religious community operating Presentation, bought a lot and house at the corner of Fourth and Breckenridge for $35,000. In June 1892, arrangements were made to replace the house which had been built in 1867 by Thomas Jacobs with a new building designed by D. X. Murphy. The building was to cost approximately $66,000. A gym and auditorium were added in 1938 and another class room addition to the rear was made in 1948. The school initially offered primary and secondary education, but closed the elementary section in 1945 to accommodate an increasing enrollment in the all-girl secondary school. The building features a distinctive Richardsonian Romanesque tower, which was rebuilt after a fire in 1977. It was designed by D.X. Murphy, who also designed the famous twin-spired clubhouse at Churchill Downs. The building was listed in 2004 as one of Louisville's Ten favorites, according to the Courier-Journal. Generations of students have signed their names to the interior walls of the tower. Enrollment was consistently around 800 students during the 1950s and 1960s, but by 1993 it had dropped to just 230 students, and the school was over $760,000 in debt. It was announced that the doors would close in May 1995. However, a successful grassroots campaign by alumnae, students, and parents paid off the debt; and the Sisters of Charity relinquished control of the school to nearby Spalding University. The school became independent again in 2004, after becoming financially stable with a $6.2 million budget, and created its own Board of Trustees. In 2006 the school purchased a 22,000-square-foot (2,000 m 2) property across the street to serve as the current location of an Arts and Athletic Center that replaced the past gym/auditorium (built in 1938 and now owned by Spalding University). Construction of this new $5 million building at 900 South Fourth Street, cattycorner to the existing campus, formally began with the ground breaking on May 5, 2008. On Friday, January 23, 2009 Presentation Academy marked the placement of the final beam in the Arts and Athletic Center with a"Topping Off" ceremony. The center was dedicated on September 13, 2009 and awarded the Best New Landmark of 2009 by The older building is now called the historic building.

A long-standing tradition allows only seniors to use the front carpeted staircase. The front entrance is used by freshmen on their first day at Pres and by seniors on their last day. Also on their last day of school, seniors sign their names on the inside of the tower. Presentation's annual Walk-A-Thon is held every fall to raise money for students in need of financial assistance. Each year has a different theme and a different t-shirt designed by a student. After money is raised and a pep rally is held, the girls walk three miles around downtown Louisville to show their school spirit.

Because Presentation Academy is located near the heart of Downtown Louisville, the students have after-school access to 4th Street Live!, the Main Library, and various Spalding University resources. Field trips are usually taken on foot, such as to The Courier-Journal Building, the Louisville Hall of Justice, the Muhammad Ali Center, and the Frazier International History Museum. The new Arts and Athletic Center opened in August 2009, replaced the 1938 gymnasium, and houses the school's choral and arts programs and its Topper athletic teams. Designed by Gil Stein & Associates and built by Whittenberg Construction Co., the facility is a result of Tower Vision, Presentation Academy's first ever capital campaign. The Arts and Athletic center contains a theater, technical crew space, gym, art room, dance studio, exercise room, and many meeting rooms.

Like many other private schools, Presentation Academy has a dress code for their students. There are many different items of clothing the girls may choose from to wear everyday that are specific to the school. Uniform shirts include the white polo, white oxford, and light blue polo. The navy blue vest, v-neck sweater, and pants may be worn, as can the original navy blue skirt. Presentation also has the winter uniform, a navy blue jacket and pants set that may be worn during the colder months of the school year. New to 2010 is the navy blue sweater vest and the plaid skirt.

Many athletic teams are open to the students at Presentation. These sports are volleyball, field hockey, soccer, cross country, golf, cheer leading, dance, basketball, swimming, softball, track, and tennis,.

There are currently many extracurricular activities at Pres, including the Spirit Club, Interact Club, Peer Leaders, Student Council, Crafty Critters, Photography Club, ATL Ushers, Podcasting Club, Environmental Club, Interact Club (KYA/KUNA), National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, Creative Writing, Bowling Club, Mission Club, Drama Club, Anime Club, St. Joseph of Arimathea, Governor's Cup, and Prezettes.

Recent events
Spalding University has demolished the old Presentation gym and is making the remaining space, next to the historic Presentation building, a green space.

  • In 2005, students arrived from over 85 Kentucky and Southern Indiana ZIP codes.

Notable Aaumnae
  • Mary Anderson, stage actress
  • Mia Zapata, lead singer for "The Gits", class of 1984


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Building Activity

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