It's been five years since Hurricane Katrina destroyed their campus but on Monday, February 21, St. Mary's Academy middle and high school students began taking classes in their brand new state-of-the-art classrooms.
"The entire Maryite family is extremely excited that this moment has finally arrived," said St. Mary's Academy principal Sr. Jennie Jones, SSF, adding that it has been a long and arduous process to get to this point. "While the road has not been easy, we have remained steadfast and faithful that this day would come to fruition."
The new 100,000 sq. ft campus boasts 31 state-of-the-art classrooms and connecting wings. Each classroom is equipped with SMART Boards, DVD's and televisions and touch enabled computers. Additional highlights include Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Language and MAC labs, band and chorus rooms, a piano lab, fully customized library, bookstore, Student Union Café and gymnasium.
"I stand proud on this historic day as a Maryite, a counselor and as a parent. It's been more than five years since our beloved campus was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. . .
Today, our dreams are being realized. God has blessed us with a state of the art facility that will serve our students, faculty, staff and community. We are called to continue the legacy of our foundress, Venerable Mother Henriette Delille - to educate the young, inspire their minds and bring forth a lasting spirituality. St. Mary's Academy is truly the Beacon of the East, as it sits tall and majestic among the neighborhoods that so desperately seek hope for the future. St. Mary's Academy is that hope," adds the school's counselor, Cathy Green-Miner, LPC.
Since the Hurricane, St. Mary's Academy has operated in several locations. In 2006, the school joined with St. Augustine High School and Xavier Preparatory to form the MAX School for one year. In August of 2006, as part of a generous gift from the Archdiocese of New Orleans, St. Mary's Academy moved its classes to the former St. James Major School, located at 3774 Gentilly Blvd. The school also expanded its curriculum to offer classes for Pre-k-4 through 5th grades to help accommodate students and families displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The elementary and middle schools became co-educational while the high school continued its legacy as an all-girls private school. Operating with 620 students, the school successfully accommodated many of the city's displaced youth.
In the fall of 2007, St. Mary's Academy returned to its Chef Menteur Highway campus. Modular buildings housed students in Pre-k-3 through 12th grades while the rebuilding of the permanent campus took place.
Saint Mary's Academy's long tradition continues as a private Catholic college preparatory co-educational elementary and a middle/ high school for young women. In a family oriented atmosphere, Saint Mary's is committed to educating the whole person. Students are taught to live Christian values, think critically, give service and act responsibly in a global society.
St. Mary's School opened its doors on Chartres Street in New Orleans under the leadership of Mother Josephine Charles in December of 1867.
The school moved from Chartres Street to the historic Quadroon Ballroom at 717 Orleans Avenue in 1881 and became St. Mary's Academy, the first Catholic secondary school for Colored girls in New Orleans. St. Mary's Academy move to its current location at 6905 Chef Menteur Boulevard in September 1965.
Lisa Ross serves as Development/Student Affairs Director for St. Mary's Academy; she may be reach via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos by Vincent Sylvain.
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