On a Sunday afternoon in November 1971, a group of people met in St. John's Anglican Church in Elora to discuss the possibility of opening a school for boys. The school would offer a structured and supportive approach to learning.
Early in 1972, a formally organized Board of Governors began to meet and plan for the opening of the school in September 1972. The Board applied to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario for special legislation to incorporate. The Legislative Assembly passed the St. John's School (Elora) Act on April 25, 1972, and the Act became effective when Royal Assent was subsequently granted.
On November 5, 1972, the Prayers for Dedication of St. John's School were read by the Bishop of Niagara, the Right Reverend J.C. Bothwell at St. John's Church in Elora and the school was declared officially open.
Soon, discussions commenced concerning the best way to provide a similar educational opportunity for girls. St. Margaret's School was the result. St. Margaret's celebrated its first Founders' Day Service in May of 1976.
Over the years, St. John's School both grew and changed. A separate co-educational secondary school campus was opened in 1981 in Waterloo, while the Elora school continued to offer a grade 4-8 program for boys. In 1983, the School's name was changed to St. John's-Kilmarnock School, reflecting both the school's history, and the founding Headmaster's pride in his Scottish ancestry. In 1985, St. John's and St. Margaret's amalgamated, but continued to offer separate boys' and girls' programs until 1989.
The challenges of operating in several old houses in Elora some 30 kilometres from the leased quarters in Waterloo, along with the population growth on the far side of the cities, brought need for some change. A 36-acre lot was purchased near Breslau in 1988, and the task of transforming a worked-out quarry into a school and grounds began. The new campus opened for classes in January 1990, and was officially opened in May 1990 in the presence of the Honourable Lincoln Alexander, the Honourable Perrin Beatty, M.P., the Bishop of Niagara, and the Right Reverent John Bothwell. Over the next few years, facilities were added to improve the environmental, athletic, and drama programs. SJK is proud of its beautiful campus and growing educational facilities.