The History of St. Scholastica Academy
Chicago (population 2.8 million) is located in the northeastern-most portion of Illinois in the heart of Cook County. Interstate Highways 55, 57, 88, 90, and 94 all lead you directly to and from Chicago. In addition several Illinois and U.S. Routes will take you there as well. Chicago was at one time one of the stockyard capitals of the world. The town was established in 1832 and incorporated in 1837.
St. Scholastica Academy High School was established in 1865. The school closed in May of 2012 after 147 years of service. The last senior class of 26 will be allowed to graduate from St. Scholastica next May (2013), however all lower grades (Freshamn, Sophomores, Juniors) have been cancelled. Below is a history of the school as found on the school’s website at the web address of http://www.scholastica.us/history.asp
For up to date information regarding St. Scholastica Alumnae events please check out the web address of http://www.osbchicago.org/alumnae .
History of St. Scholastica Academy
One of the oldest Catholic academies for young women in Chicago, St. Scholastica Academy opened its doors in 1865. The Academy is the sponsored ministry of the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago.
In 1861, three Benedictine sisters from Erie, Pennsylvania (originally from Eichstatt, Germany) answered a call to come to Chicago to educate children of German immigrants in Chicago’s St. Joseph Parish School. These three sisters were eventually joined by Benedictine sisters from St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania. In 1865, they opened the Academy (named St. Joseph’s Academy) that served as a convent and a school with space for residential students.
The Chicago Fire destroyed a great part of the city in 1871 including the Academy. This did not deter the Benedictine Sisters in their mission to educate young women in Chicago. On July 1, 1872, the newly established Benedictine Sisters of Chicago bought land at Hill and Orleans Streets and re-opened the Academy under the name of Saints Benedict and Scholastica Academy. As the Academy and their community grew, the Benedictine Sisters needed more space. They purchased land in Rogers Park and moved the Academy and their monastery there in 1906 where St. Scholastica Academy sits today.
The Academy has continued to grow through the last century. Today the Academy consists of the original 1906 building, a 1926 building, and a 1958 fine arts building. The Academy has newly renovated science laboratories, fully equipped information technology classrooms, wireless technology throughout the buildings, two visual art studios, music studios, a choral room, and a 1,000-seat professional auditorium that benefited from a $1M renovation completed in 2007. The Academy sits on 14-acres of landscaped property that includes a softball field, a playing field for field hockey and soccer, a running track, and a long jump pit. All of these facilities help St. Scholastica Academy enact our mission of Benedictine education for girls, in which we are committed to educating the whole person.
In March, 2012 the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago announced they would close St. Scholastica Academy.
St. Scholastica Academy to Close at the End of the June 2012 School Year
CHICAGO, March 14, 2012 — The Benedictine Sisters of Chicago have decided to close St. Scholastica Academy (SSA) at the end of the current school year.
“We are deeply saddened by the need to close SSA,” said Sister Patricia Crowley, Prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago, who have sponsored this academy for over 146 years. “St. Scholastica Academy has educated thousands of young women who have served our world well in business, religious and civic spheres. Our graduates are solid leaders, family members, friends, and genuinely fine women. This fine educational institution has been an integral part of our ministry here in Chicago. We are dedicated to making the best transition possible for students and faculty, by providing assistance and support as they make plans for the coming school year.”
If there is enough interest, juniors will have the option to continue their schooling at what will be called St. Scholastica Senior Academy for their senior year and earn their SSA diplomas upon graduation. If juniors choose to transfer to another Catholic high school, The Benedictine Sisters of Chicago will work with that school to try to arrange for SSA students at that school to receive St. Scholastica Academy diplomas. SSA does not have sufficient funds to support its operation and must close. The school has struggled financially as well as with enrollment for the last 15 years
The Benedictine Sisters of Chicago are very grateful for the SSA students and faculty, past and present. Through their hard work and commitment to Benedictine education, they have lived a great history and they leave a great legacy.
About St. Scholastica Academy and Benedictine Sisters of Chicago:St. Scholastica Academy, 7416 N. Ridge Ave., is a Benedictine school rooted in a tradition of community and academic excellence. The Benedictine Sisters of Chicagoare a community of women committed to contemplative prayer, community life and ministries that respond to needs in the community, including parish ministries, pastoral counseling, work with the homeless, and spiritual direction. Over the past 150 years, St.Scholastica Academy and the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago have educated thousands of students through St. Scholastica Academy and many parish elementary schools. They have also served the people of Chicago in many other ways.
St. Scholastica Academy Quick Facts
Year opened: 1865
First Known As: St. Joseph Academy
Re-Named St. Scholastica: 1872
Year closed: 2012 (In-coming Freshman, Soph., Junior classes eliminated)
Last Graduating Class: May of 2013 (Junior Class of 2012 allowed to attend Senior year at SSA)
School Team Nickname: “Stingers”
School Team Colors: Navy Blue & White
School Fight Song: “Scholastica”
Submitted by Meghan Smeenge