Hatteberg's People - Jean Garvey

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On Hatteberg's People, Jean Garvey is one of Wichita's cultural icons. As the matron of one of Wichita's most prominent families, Mrs. Garvey could have stopped there and life would have been good.

But she didn't.

Three decades ago, she saw a need in her own family for a different kind of school. So she decided to start her own, with specific guidelines on how children would be treated. Today the Independent School stands as a monument to her vision. And at 88, she still is involved and is celebrating the 30th anniversary of this unique educational endeavor. She believes in the individuality of the child.

" Everyone thinks their child is something special, and you know, they are right," Garvey said.

For 30 years Jean Garvey has been the spark that has ignited the Independent School on Wichita's east side. For Jean, her family and this school are the two most important things in her life.

"I just have the utmost gratitude for being able to start a school," Garvey said

Today this private school continues to thrive with students from a wide variety of racial, ethnic, economic and religious backgrounds. Mrs. Garvey believes that individuality is important.

" We don't want to label anyone because the individuality is the strength of each one of us," Garvey said.

As the children grow and learn, graduates of The Independent School are offered admission to some of the most prestigious colleges in the nation. Mrs. Garvey believes that being independent has been the key to their success.

"We stand on our own, we are independent free to do what we know is right in the field of education," Garvey said.

Mrs. Garvey created the school as a mother of six who felt a different type of private school was needed. Plus, she was unhappy with public education.

"We made the break with public schools and I never ever regretted it," Garvey said.

I think when you come to our school there is a warm atmosphere because the school is based on love. You can take an average child and if they are working with teachers who have high expectations and they will encourage children with whatever they are doing, everyone can turn into a scholar.

Over the years, the school has grown and now serves children from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.

"My idea was very simple. Just to have a school that other people would identify with or want to be like. I'm having fun every day. It is just so satisfying," Garvey said.

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