Celebrating 50 Amazing Years!

We are thrilled to be celebrating Emerson School’s 50th-anniversary, marking half a century of academic excellence and nurturing young minds. For five decades, we have been at the forefront of education, shaping the leaders and innovators of tomorrow. This momentous milestone is a testament to our unwavering commitment to fostering curiosity, critical thinking, and a passion for lifelong learning. Join us as we honor the rich history of our school, reflect on countless success stories, and look forward to a future filled with endless possibilities.

Get ready to be a part of a joyous and unforgettable journey as we commemorate 50 years of empowering young hearts and minds. Together, let’s celebrate achievements, friendships, and the profound impact our school has had on generations of bright, inquisitive, empathetic and creative students.

A Brief History

In 1973, Jean Navarre, a visionary educator and passionate advocate for gifted children, recognized the pressing need for educational alternatives that would cater to the unique needs and talents of these students. Fueled by her deep belief in fostering intellectual curiosity and nurturing creativity, she embarked on a journey to establish Emerson School—an institution that would advance the way gifted children were educated.

With a humble beginning of just 11 students, the school’s focus was to provide an enriching and stimulating environment where bright, curious minds could flourish. Through Jean’s unwavering determination and dedication, Emerson School steadily grew in reputation and size, attracting more and more families seeking an educational experience tailored to the individual capabilities of their children. As the school expanded over the years, Jean’s vision has remained at the core of Emerson’s values.

  • 1973

    Emerson School opens with two faculty and 11 gifted students.

  • 1974

    Emerson moves to the basement of the Westside Methodist Church in Ann Arbor and is designated an educational institution for K-6 students by the State of Michigan.

  • 1983

    Construction is completed on Emerson’s first facility of it’s own, which had eight classrooms, a central multi-purpose space for all-school functions and performances (now the library) two specials rooms for art, music and science, and a small school office. Emerson moves into its new space with 160 students enrolled.

  • 1988

    A newly created “specials wing” provides dedicated rooms for Lower School art, music, science, and computers.

  • 1991

    Emerson is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS).

    Emerson’s Middle School opens with 42 students and four new classrooms. The addition also includes a gymnasium, science lab, and additional office space.

  • 1997

    The Middle School continues to grow and two classrooms are added for science, math, and art.

  • 2004

    Much-needed space is added to the Middle School, including the drama room, a science lab with a greenhouse, a pottery room, bathrooms, two conference/office spaces and a faculty workroom.

  • 2006

    Six new classrooms are built as part of the K-2 wing (now the Y5-1 wing).

  • 2009

    The Library Media Center is renovated.

  • 2014

    The successful Building STEAM Campaign provides the resources to build four new Middle School classrooms, dedicated Band and Orchestra classrooms, a Middle School lunch area, and a 16,000 square foot Arts and Innovation Center.

The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

50th Anniversary Events

As we proudly mark our 50th anniversary, we invite you to be a part of an unforgettable series of school events that will take you on a journey down memory lane while celebrating the incredible milestones we’ve achieved together. Whether you’re a current student’s family, a cherished alum, a respected former faculty member, or a supporter from our community, this momentous occasion is a chance to reconnect, reminisce, and rejoice in the legacy we’ve built over five decades.

So, mark your calendars and prepare to be part of a celebration that transcends time and brings together the past, present, and future of Emerson School. Let’s create new memories, share stories, and toast to 50 years of excellence, impact, and the promise of countless more to come. Together, let’s celebrate our shared history and embrace the endless possibilities that lie ahead!

September 10, 2023

Back-To-School Picnic and 50th Birthday Bash

TIME: 4:30-6:30pm

Join us for a very special picnic at Emerson as we kick off the new school year. This picnic is one-of-a-kind, as it is the official kickoff to Emerson’s 50th Birthday Celebration!

September 29, 2023


TIME: 4:00-7:30pm

Come one come all as we celebrate the rich history of Emerson athletics with a Homecoming celebration you won’t soon forget. Come join in the fun!

November 21, 2023

Grand Day

TIME: 1:00-3:00pm

Grand Day is always such a special occasion as we invite our extended Emerson family of grapdparents and special friends to join us for a day of making memories.

November 29, 2024

Jazz Night

TIME: 7:00-8:30pm

Join us as we celebrate the rich musical history of Emerson with an evening of Jazz music in the AIC. 

February 2, 2024

Wall Mural Unveiling

TIME: 5:30-7:00pm

Join us as we unveil our new lobby wall celebrating the history of Emerson School.

April 19, 2024

50th Anniversary Celebration & Auction

TIME: 6:00-11:00pm

This will be a marquee 50th Anniversary event as we welcome our community to the Jack Roth Stadium Club at Michigan Stadium for an evening of celebrating all things Emerson.

May 7, 2024

Faculty & Staff Appreciation Luncheon

TIME: 11:00am-1:30pm

This will be a very special teacher and staff appreciation luncheon as we welcome back all of those who have worked at the school over the years.

May 16, 2024

Music and Art Picnic & Alumni Celebration

TIME: 6:00-8:00pm

Join us on the playground for an evening of celebrating the rich tradition of music at Emerson with performances by our band and orchestra with special guest alumni performers joining in on the fun.

May 22, 2024

All-School Science Night

TIME: 6:00-7:30pm

This will be a science night like no other as we celebrate not only the science learning of our current students but also the rich history of science throughout our history.

June 7, 2024

Graduation Ceremony

TIME: 10:00am-12:00pm

Our graduation ceremony is a time-honored Emerson tradition that we invite our entire community to attend. With speeches from our graduating 8th grade students as well as alumni faculty and staff, we hope you can attend.

Show Your Spirit!

Commemorate Emerson School’s extrodinary 50-year journey with our exclusive 50th-anniversary swag, available now at the school store! Whether you’re a proud current student, a devoted alum, a dedicated parent, or a community supporter, this limited-edition merchandise is your chance to wear your Emerson pride with style. Plus, with every purchase, you’re not just getting remarkable keepsakes – you’re contributing to the continued success and growth of Emerson School. 

Simply select the item you would like to order and choose our commemorative 50th Anniversary logo.