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Under the leadership of the school’s first headmaster, Harry Groblewski, the student body adopted the griffin as the official SDS symbol. The mythological griffin combines an eagle’s head and wings with a lion’s body, representing domination over the earth and the sky. For SDS, the griffin symbolizes the combination of intelligence and strength. The school’s motto, “Finis Coronat Opus,” is a Latin phrase that translates “The End Crowns the Work.”
The school’s history is replete with “firsts.” In 1967, SDS was the first independent school in the state to be accredited by SACS, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In 1969, SDS was the first school in South Carolina to establish a chapter of the Cum Laude Society, the highest national honor society for academics in independent schools.
The school first opened its doors to very modest beginnings in the Drayton Community Center of Drayton Mills before moving in 1964 to its current, modern campus on Skylyn Drive. The Lower School remained at Drayton until 1993. In 1999, the Mildred Harrison Dent Fine 艺术 Center opened. Athletics upgrades begin in 2009; the Pennell Performance Field and the O'Donnell Track were both rebuilt.
In 2010, construction at Spartanburg Day School went "green." Both the newly-built Webster Athletic Center and significant upgrades to the Milliken Center for Learning (the school's original building from the early 60s) were awarded LEED (Leadership Engineering and Environmental Design) certification. The next year, in 2011, a new Upper School, Presnell, opened its doors and was also awarded LEED certification.
The school's tennis courts were relocated and expanded to include nine state-of-the-art courts in 2014, followed in 2016 by a new tennis pavillion.