Upper School

Grades 9-12

In Upper School, students are immersed in a rigorous college preparatory curriculum that extends beyond the classroom to provide real-life experiences.

From the performance stage to community outreach, from the athletic field to Chapel, St. Mary’s girls learn to collaborate, inspire others, and achieve their goals. Athletic, artistic, musical, and community-service opportunities ensure these years are exciting and memorable. 

St. Mary's Upper School, located in Memphis, is an all girls high school for students in ninth through twelfth grade. Our dedicated faculty recognizes and respects the unique ways in which girls learn best, teaching an academically rigorous curriculum while simultaneously going beyond the classroom walls to provide "real life" experiences. As they become lifelong learners, the students are encouraged to think critically, creatively, and independently.

We feel strongly that each girl’s program of study is as unique as she is. Every year, we meet one-on-one with each girl and her family to discuss course options that best fit her interests, goals, and extracurricular life. All students must enroll in 5 academic subjects that meet the requirements for each grade, but they also have the opportunity to add a wide-range of non-academic and elective courses, both online and face-to-face. Our goal is to create a program of study that provides the appropriate level of challenge for each girl.

As a result of the extensive academic, athletic, artistic, and community-service opportunities that are available, our students become confident leaders who have a positive influence on their community. Read about student life at St. Mary's.

6 Discoveries Upper Schoolers Make

Upper School News

St. Mary's Community Fund Announces 2022 Grantees

St. Mary’s Community Fund (SMCF) is a student-led, grant-making organization established in 1998. The mission of SMCF is to “educate young women about the importance of philanthropy through hands-on community service, fundraising, and grant-making.”

Upper School Art Show

Last week we hosted an Art Show showcasing and celebrating the work of our Upper School students. The collection, curated by Upper School Art Teacher Mrs. Andrea Fletcher, highlighted the creativity and talent of our students. Students had the opportunity to show their creativity to their families at the reception and show in the Levy Gallery at the Buckman Performing Arts Center.

Global Education Discusses the Impact of WWII on Japanese Americans

This month, the SMS Global Education Program had the honor of virtually hosting guest speaker Sam Mihara. In 1942, when Sam was nine years old, the United States government forcibly sent Sam, his family, and people of Japanese ancestry living in the American West to internment camps. Sam and his family were sent to a prison camp called Heart Mountain in northern Wyoming, where he stayed for three years. 

Youth and Government Conference

Dr. Dalton Lyon traveled with a group of girls interested in legislation to Nashville, Tennessee. This was the first conference that has been held in 3 years due to COVID-19 and everyone was so excited to be back in action! This conference gives students the opportunity to to have a hands-on experience in state government. Students can serve as senators or representatives, as justices and lawyers, as department commissioners and lobbyists, or as press corps members.

Building Healthy Habits

Upper School Health and Wellness Teacher, Jessica Seebeck, works with 9th-grade girls to build healthy habits. Jessica is a licensed clinical social worker and trauma-informed yoga instructor who brings her background in healing into the classroom.


Last month, the Buckman Performing & Fine Arts Center welcomed sell-out crowds for the Upper School production of Mary Poppins. The spectacular show wowed audiences for six performances. 

Jewish Student Alliance Welcomes Holocaust Survivor to Campus

St. Mary’s Jewish Student Alliance (JSA) hosted 102-year-old Mr. Sam Weinreich, one of the few living survivors of the Holocaust. JSA members Sydney Shanker and Lea Thomas helped introduce Mr. Weinreich to our Middle and Upper School students, faculty, and staff in Chapel.


Last month, 8th, 10th, 11th, and 12th-grade students spent a day imagining, experiencing, and learning about future opportunities. The 8th-grade students spent the morning as Upper School students. The students rotated through several elective and world language classes, including band, choir, art, photography, computer science, global issues, theater, French, Spanish, and Latin. The students got a glimpse of life in the Upper School and the variety of courses that it offers. 

Meet the Faculty: Courtney Gillespie, US Biology

I am so excited to be a part of the St. Mary’s faculty this year! Although I am new to St. Mary’s, I am not new to teaching in the Memphis area. Prior to joining St. Mary’s, I taught multiple levels of Biology at Collierville High School, including AP Biology and Dual Enrollment Biology through the University of Memphis. I bring these experiences to class daily at St. Mary’s as I strive to incorporate multiple dimensions of scientific thinking and reasoning into our lessons to help students succeed in upper-level and college science courses.  

Engaging in Global Affairs

At the beginning of November, a group of hardworking Upper School students traveled to Murfreesboro to participate in a Model UN conference organized by the Tennessee YMCA’s Center for Civic Engagement.

Our Unique Schedule

Unique to St. Mary's, our daily schedule strategically allows students time to process information, meet one-on-one with teachers, and work collaboratively with one another.

The structure of two classes followed by a break is based on current brain research into how girls learn best. We especially treasure our ALAPP period when all student and teacher schedules are open for the purpose of built-in help sessions and collaboration.

In addition, the St. Mary’s College Counseling team plays a key role in preparing students for college entrance and beyond. St. Mary's emphasizes a classic, rigorous, liberal arts curriculum that is designed to allow each girl to achieve her individual potential and to discover the inner resources she will use for a lifetime.


Lauren Rogers

Head of Upper School

Carla Evans

Admin. Assistant to US Head

Upper School Office

60 Perkins Extended
Memphis, TN 38117


Contact us

Lauren Rogers
Head of Upper School

Upper School Office:
Carla Evans
(901) 537-1420

Contact us

Senior Speeches