THE HISTORY OF MENAUL SCHOOL
Although the roots of Menaul School go back to 1881, when Rev. Sheldon Jackson, a Presbyterian minister, opened “The Pueblo Training School” (PTS) in Albuquerque, NM under a contract with the U.S. government, that did not mark the founding of Menaul School. Instead, it marked the establishment of Presbyterian-related education in Albuquerque. The PTS was originally located in the Duranes area, just north of Old Town in Albuquerque. In 1882, the government purchased 66.67 acres of land from citizens of Albuquerque. (This is the property at what is now Indian School Road and 12th Street.) In 1884, the school moved into buildings at that location.
In 1886, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs did not renew the contract with the Presbyterians and took over the PTS facilities. The Presbyterians decided there was still need for a boarding school and so, in 1896, Rev. James A. Menaul, a Presbyterian minister, sought and received Presbyterian mission funding for a boarding school that would serve Spanish-speaking boys from New Mexico, primarily from the northern portion of the state, and purchased some 200 acres at the present Menaul School location.
ROOTS IN NORTHERN NEW MEXICO
Many students came to Menaul School from Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado, where public education was nearly non-existent in those early days. It was not unusual for parents to contribute to their children’s education with grain or livestock. The livestock were in turn used on the school’s farm, which kept the students well fed.
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL IN 1972
The Presbyterian Church relinquished control over and financing of Menaul School to an independent and volunteer Board of Trustees. Though the school remains related to the Presbyterian Church, its only major support from the national organization comes from the church-wide annual Christmas Joy Offering collected each December.
BOARDING PROGRAM CLOSES IN 2000 AND REOPENS IN 2010
Beginning in the 1970s, the changes in society and the further development of the public school system resulted in a gradual decline in the number of boarding students from around the state. At the same time, more families in the Albuquerque area sought out the school for its high quality, values-centered educational program. By May 2000, with fewer than a dozen students participating in the boarding program, the Board of Trustees voted to close the boarding program. In 2010, with a resurgence in international students interested in an American education, the boarding program reopened for students in grades 9 through 12. Currently, there are students representing China, South Korea, Nigeria and the United States.
The grades taught at Menaul School have fluctuated from primary school to high school throughout the school’s history. The first students to graduate from Menaul School comprised the Class of 1906. In 1934, Menaul School became co-educational. Throughout the years, Menaul, as a school grounded in the reformed Christian tradition, gained a reputation for educating good students with excellent values, ethics and moral character. Today, Menaul School is an independent school for grades 6 through 12. (A full middle school program was added in 1992.) The curriculum at Menaul School is a college preparatory academic program with an emphasis on preparing its students for success in college and in life, teaching them to engage the world as lifelong learners and ethical leaders in service to the community, with respect for the Christian tradition.
Menaul School has graduated more than 3,000 students. Graduates excel in all walks of life, serving their communities throughout the world. Since the first graduating class in 1906, more than 90% of Menaul graduates have gone on to higher education. In more recent years, that number has increased to 98%.
Menaul School is proud of its tradition of educating students in New Mexico. Today, it accepts students from all cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. Fifty percent of students receive need-based financial assistance, and more than 60 percent are self-identified as belonging to racial-ethnic groups.