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"The roots of the present lie deep in the past, and nothing in the past is dead to man who could learn how this present comes to be what it is."
Dr. Thomas Marion Davis, M.D. - Founding Board Member

In August 1971 the 20 acre tract on Old Georgetown Road was purchased with the simple goal of starting a private school to meet the needs of families in the area.  That 20 acre tract of land, along with the dedication of the founding members and families, became Laurence Manning Academy, founded under the Manning Educational Association.  This year we celebrate our past and our present, as we look towards the future.

Groundbreaking - March 1972


The first spade of dirt was turned by board members in March 1972.  

Board Members:

David Goldsmith (Chairman)

Joe Rogers

LeRoy Epps

Dr. Marion Davis

Harold Furse

Will Harvin

Burgess Sprott

LeRoy Phillips

Samuel DuRant


Founding Faculty Members

Headmaster: Mr. Q. Curtis Lee

Mrs. Barbara Jean Poe

Mrs. Nell Sprott

Mrs. Rena Nelson

Mrs. Martha Lee Rose

Mrs. Cecelia Eadon

Mrs. Ann Goldsmith

Mrs. Kay Davis

Mrs. Barbara Mishoe

Mr. Wayne Griffin

Mrs. Kathleen Rogers

Mrs. Peggy Gardner

Mrs. Jane Wilson 

Mrs. Charlotte Lee

Secretary:  Mrs. Jennie DuRant

Registration for the newly formed school began in December of 1971. 

The projected opening date was set for August 1972.

The registration fee was $35 and each family was required to purchase a $300 building fund certificate. 

Tuition was $400 for the first child and $375 for the second child.  

The school opened on September 3, 1972 with 250 students enrolled.

The Beginning

“The Laurence Manning Academy opens its doors this year with a spirit of good will towards this community and a sincere desire to contribute towards the educational process,” Q. Curtis Lee, founding Headmaster, September 1972.


In 1971, a group of Manning families formed the Manning Educational Association with the goal of creating an independent school that would provide students with a high-quality education within a safe, friendly, and morally rich, Christian environment.  Land was purchased in August of that year for what would soon become the new school’s campus.  


When selecting a name for the new school, Manning Educational Association chose to name the new school for a local and state historical figure, a common practice of new independent schools at the time. The founders chose Laurence Manning, who was not only a local Revolutionary war hero, but he was also the grandfather of Governor John Laurence Manning, for which the town of Manning, South Carolina is named. Laurence Manning and his wife, Susannah Richardson, were a part of the family that included six South Carolina governors.  


Mrs. Joseph Rogers (Kathleen) designed the school’s seal and also painted the school mascot as a mythological griffin resembling a lion with wings. However, the legend of “The Swampcat” mascot evolved from the local newspaper report of sightings and evidence of a large, mysterious, cat-like swamp creature that was preying on livestock on the farmland on which the new school would be built.  Such a fierce mascot as this was readily adopted.  Mrs. Rogers also collaborated with Mrs. Jane Wilson and Mrs. Anne Goldsmith to compose the school alma mater.  Mrs. Rogers selected the music, and Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Goldsmith collaborated to write the lyrics.


In September of 1972, Laurence Manning Academy opened its doors with 15 classrooms, including a included a well-equipped science lab and a spacious library. LMA opened with 13 faculty members and an enrollment of approximately 250 students in grades 1-12.


The 1970s saw exciting and continued growth at Laurence Manning.  Enrollment continued increased as the academic programs and sports offerings were expanded.  Laurence Manning offered an Environmental Science course, which was a unique offering in the area at the time.  The Swampcats athletic programs began with baseball, soccer, and basketball.  Soon, the additions of football and track to the athletic offerings brought new excitement and energy to the community.  Junior Varsity sports were added in 1975 creating new level of competition and more opportunities for students. 


The school’s future was promising and the outlook was bright.  However, in 1979, the school suffered a setback when it was vandalized and burned.  It was discovered that the kindergarten room was heavily vandalized, and a fire was started in the attic.  Over $200,000 in damages were done to the structures.  Although insurance would help with losses, the LMA family and community came together through service and donations to help the school move forward.  Make-shift classrooms were created in the gymnasium and portable classrooms were utilized for students to remain class and LMA moved forward into a new decade.  As the 1970’s drew to a close, LMA was growing stronger and the best was yet to come!! 


Founder's Reception

During the opening chapel of the 2022-2023 school year, members of the founding faculty, board, and 1973 graduating class were welcomed home and recognized for their role in creating this place we call home.  What a special time it was as those in attendance shared their memories and stories of those first years.  It was an honor to learn the role Laurence Manning has had in each of their lives.  Stories full of the values and traditions that we hold so dear still today.  We are so thankful these forever Swampcats trusted the vision and plan and put their faith in creating something so special.  

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