This weekend, Gatlinburg will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Pi Beta Phi Settlement School.
The school has preserved its history even as it looks to the future.
A mural at the school entrance captures the wilderness educators encountered a century ago.
As a service project, members of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women had pin pointed a southern Appalachian community where they thought they could make a difference.
"In 1912 they came with all of that enthusiasm and desire to fulfill their mission and it was the beginning of a century long story," Glenn Bogart said.
He has been the principal for almost a quarter century at what is now Pi Beta Phi Elementary School in Gatlinburg.
"Today we're preparing our students for the global society and certainly in that sense it's changed," he said.
But the mission is much the same today as back then.
The Pi Beta Phi Settlement School stood out among dilapidated one room school houses.
"That was one of the central question they had in 1912, how do we improve the quality of life for the students then," Bogart said.
The Pi Phis prepared students for productive lives, they pushed for literacy, and they introduced a comprehensive curriculum.
"It grew so rapidly that by 1914 they had to construct a brand new building," he said.
The original buildings are gone but on the same property now stands Pi Beta Phi Elementary.
"The Pi Phis wanted to provide for an improvement in the quality of life and that mission still is very current today," he said.
This weekend, Pi Beta Phi Fraternity will celebrate a century of literary service in Gatlinburg. They will donate books to the school library as part of a two day centennial celebration.
100 years in the future...
"I won't be here but the school I think will survive and it will probably be a very high technological school as most schools will be," he said.
Pi Beta Phi Elementary is a school with a proud past and a bright future.
Here is the schedule of events this weekend.
Friday, November 2, 2012
7 p.m. - Opening performance of Settlement School history by Pi Beta Phi Elementary School students followed by a reception at Pi Beta Phi Elementary Auditorium
Saturday, November 3, 2012
8:30 a.m. - Breakfast hosted by Pi Beta Phi Foundation at Ripley's Believe It or Not Aquarium
10:30 a.m. - Centennial Plaza Dedication and Reception next to Arrowcraft
12:30, 1:00, and 1:30 p.m. - Walking Tours of Centennial Plaza, Pi Beta Phi Elementary School, Arrowcraft and Arrowmont® School of Arts and Crafts
1:00 to 4:00 p.m. - Artists' Craft Demonstrations on Arrowmont campus
3:00 p.m. - Encore performance by Pi Beta Phi Elementary School students in the Pi Beta Phi Elementary Auditorium
5:00, 6:00, and 7:00 p.m. - City of Gatlinburg Artist and Author Reception, Lecture and Historical Film Screening - $10 - at the Pi Beta Phi Elementary Gymnasium