MCDS Celebrates 25 Years!

"After 25 years, it is easy to see the strength of MCDS. It lies in its entrepreneurial spirit, its hard work, its collaborative efforts, and its unwavering support from parents, grandparents, students, trustees, teachers, and staff. We can be thankful to those founding families who took MCDS from a vision to reality and to individuals who keep that vision alive today."

[excerpt from The Community Superpower of MCDS: An Origin Story. Read the full story here]

25 anniversary

Timeline of the MCDS journey

1997-98: MCDS opens its doors with 22 students. Sandra Gilmor, head of school, welcomes students on the first day in Martinsville.

1998-99: Enrollment reaches over 50 students. Micheal Veitch, head of school, leads assembly (called “flag”) in our new home on River Road.

1999-2000: MCDS expands to middle school with both fifth and sixth grades. First major theatre production: Snow White (in Spanish). Enrollment reaches over 100 students.

2001-02: A $3 million renovation project converts 64 sleeping rooms of the former Yahara Center into 17 classrooms.

2002-03: MCDS Middle School is completed through eighth grade. Older students enjoy the tradition of a canoe trip on the last day of school.

2003-04: MCDS High School begins, with the addition of ninth grade, under Head of School Adam de Pencier. Enrollment reaches over 200 students.

2004-05: MCDS mascot changed from “Quest” knight to the mythical prairie hawk. First MCDS exchange students to sister school in Ecuador.

2005-06: New classroom addition and gymnasium opens. MCDS earns ISACS accreditation.

2006-07: Head of School Luke Felker awards first MCDS diplomas to the six students in the graduating class of 2007. First MCDS exchange students to sister school in Japan.

2007-08: MCDS becomes first and only Dane County school offering the IB Diploma Programme.

2008-09: First Jazz Showcase, beloved winter tradition featuring MCDS bands and guest musicians. First high school varsity team: cross country.

2009-10: First IB Diplomas are awarded to graduates in the Class of 2010. MCDS hosts first IB Art Gallery, which later includes all-school Fine Arts Festival.

2010-11: MCDS joins Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA). Prairie Hawk Merit Scholarship is launched.

2011-12: MCDS Prairie Hawk mascot is named “Rocky” (acronym for Respect, Opportunity, Courage, Kindness, and Yearning) through a student naming contest. Alumni Association launched.

2012-13Onward magazine launches. Enrollment reaches over 300 students.

2013-14: First Rocky’s Fun Run. First “Hands On” Community Service Day.

2014-15: Enrollment reaches over 400 students by mid-year. Twelve varsity sports now offered with soccer starting in Kindergarten.

2015-16: Head of School Ben Hebebrand expands student services and begins adding department chairs for all academic departments. $6.7 million Spreading Our Wings capital campaign launches.

2016-17: New academic center opens with 15 new classrooms. New spaces include makerspace lab, lower school library & tinkerspace, and college advising center. Fight song “Onward MCDS” is launched.

2017-18: Enrollment reaches over 450. First book published by an MCDS alum.

2018-19: New lower school playground with basketball court opens.

2019-20: Interim Head of School Devon Davis opens “Hub” as new dining and collaboration space.

2020-21: Head of School Mark Brooks introduces unique Flexible by Choice program that gets school through the first year of the pandemic.

2021-22: MCDS begins 25th school year with its largest senior class of 40 and over 200 alumni. Go Hawks!