The Academy for Special Endowments came into being in the year 1899, before there ever was a Centennial High School. It all began with an apparent series of lightning strikes, born in the fury of the storm these parts would never forget. The lightning had set fire to an old orphanage run by Roman Catholic sisters, the Sisters of Divine Mercy. A few of the children survived the fire, but not many. The sisters all gave their lives that night and were remembered by a statue that stood for years in a park cleared in reverence for that tragedy. The Diocese built a school on the site of that lost orphanage, and that parochial school, once called Saint Dominic's, became the Centennial Public School in the year 1965, on the centennial of the end of the Civil War. In front of the school is the famous Iron Oak, an oak tree that was struck lightning back in 1899 and somehow got frozen in time.
In the basement of old Saint Dominc's there was a maze of old classrooms, longed locked up and abandoned. Folks used to spread dark rumors that strange happenings happened at night in that school. And they were almost right. There was far more to that storm of 1899 than they could ever understand back then. The Newcomers arrived in the cover of that storm, and took up residence in the realm below.