By Scott Bernarde

Gold and crimson filled the area behind the Dorothy Sullivan Lower School building at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, and it was a beautiful sight for Head of Schools Kirk Duncan.

In fact, the head of schools called the Holy Innocents’ 50th anniversary party on Sept. 8 “simply awesome.”

Kids played on the playground and had their faces painted, a band led by former students jammed under metallic-gold balloons that spelled out “Celebrating 50 Years,” and people lined up for 20 yards or so to eat on white-clothed tables overlooking the baseball field.

The two-hour party, which had perhaps as many as the 700 people who replied with RSVPs, was a rockin’ celebration of how far school has come. From the 72 students ages 3 to the fifth grade who first enrolled on Sept. 8, 1959, to the 1,370 students kindergarten through high school now attending, Holy Innocents’ has been transformed into the nation’s largest Episcopal school.

“It’s amazing,” Duncan said while watching the festivities. “Looking out, you think about all the wonderful people and their vision. It’s pretty inspirational.

“There’s been vision for the school for 50 years.”

But even more poignant than the celebration of the school’s tangible growth in facilities has been its reach far away from its spacious campus on Mt. Vernon Highway in Sandy Springs. That reach includes working with Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church to construct two churches and three schools in Leogane, Haiti.

“You’re talking about doing that in the poorest country in the western hemisphere,” Duncan said of building the schools in Haiti, “and the kids raised most of the money for it.”

The school also done community service in Mexico and Africa and connects with sister schools in Sapparo, Japan and Briey, France.

Community and a Christian spirit is how it’s all been done, said Duncan, who has been head of schools for seven years.

“People are willing to give when they know the Spirit is here,” he said. “There is a spirit of generosity, that’s for sure.”