PHS has a proud history of academic excellence. The predecessor schools - Sunset Hill for girls (established in 1913) and Pembroke-Country Day for boys (founded in 1910) - created the foundation on which PHS has been built.
The two schools had a common
founder. Vassie James Hill founded the Country Day school in 1910
(which would later merge with The Pembroke School in the 1930s) and
together with Lalla Ruth Carr Patton, co-founded the Sunset Hill School
Mrs. Hill was a woman of tremendous vision. She
supported the work of pioneering educator John Dewey and what became
known as the Progressive Movement. Driven by a strong belief that the
education of young people is society’s most important act and that great
value must be placed on children and their individual capabilities,
Mrs. Hill set out to establish schools unlike anything Kansas City had
Mrs. Hill and the school’s early leaders believed
in the simple idea that independent education makes a difference in
children’s lives. Their vision and actions form the foundation upon
which Pembroke Hill stands today. They believed:
- Every child matters;
- Individual teachers have a significant and lasting impact on their students;
- Participating in the classroom, in the laboratory, on the stage and on the athletic fields is the best way to learn;
- It is the whole educational experience that truly shapes the child; and
- Independent education, through its effect on young people and their families, makes an important difference in the welfare of the community at large.
several years of discussion, Sunset Hill and Pem-Day merged in July
1984. During that next school year, 1984-85, the girls remained on the
former Sunset Hill campus, and the boys stayed on the former Pem-Day
campus. Separate graduation ceremonies were held. Co-education began in
The two schools had many similarities. Both were highly
regarded independent schools and were dedicated to high academic
standards. They had common founders. Teachers often taught courses at
both institutions, and many families sent their daughters to Sunset and
their sons to Pem-Day. Several activities, especially the performing
arts programs, involved students from both Pem-Day and Sunset Hill.
adopted several traditions from each school. For example, the students
voted for the school's colors (red and blue) to remain the same as
Pem-Day's. The school's motto (Freedom With Responsibility) came from
Sunset Hill. To this day, May Day, a much-loved Sunset Hill tradition,
is observed each spring.
Mrs. Hill was successful in her pursuit
of establishing great schools, and today, a century later,
Pembroke Hill is still grounded in her fundamental belief that students
learn best by actively participating in a wide variety of experiences.