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Clarke Preparatory School was originally founded in 1970 as Clarke School Foundation, Inc. and operated under the name of Grove Hill Academy. In the fall of 1969, a group of interested parents and citizens began a dream of a private school in this area. This dream became a reality in August, 1970, when Grove Hill Academy started its first school year. The school opened in the old Grove Hill Hospital building and was housed there until 1996. It became a reality because of the hard work and cooperation of the same interested parents and citizens. As they worked together painting, building, and raising money, they became as one big family interested in the future of our most valuable possession - our children.

The new school offered a full academic course - both regular and college preparatory - and an excellent athletic program. Small classes could be held that would enable teachers to give individual attention to each pupil.

In the fall of 1971, a little over a year since the school started, the administration and faculty began a self-study of the school to see what they needed to do in order to be accredited. After much hard work, they were ready for the evaluating committee's visit in April, 1972.

This committee gave the school a very good report. In essence, this was the evaluation:  "The strengths of Grove Hill Academy far outweigh the weaknesses. The strengths of the school include sound business principles of adequate financial support, excellent use made of facilities originally designed for a hospital, a flexible instructional program based on modern educational research, effort on part of faculty members to improve professionally, and a courteous, cheerful, and enthusiastic student body. The Alabama Private School Association is pleased to issue an accreditation proclamation for Grove Hill Academy."

On April 7, 1996, Grove Hill Academy's main building was destroyed by fire. A new school was built in the spring of 1997. The board of directors voted in 1999 to change the name of Grove Hill Academy to Clarke Preparatory School, and the Class of 2000 became the first graduating class of Clarke Preparatory School.