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St. Patrick Academy

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School History

School History

As the oldest Catholic School in Rhode Island, St. Patrick Academy has a long and unique history of educating local children and young adults:
 

School First Established: 1 Nov 1843

The original school building was constructed behind the church, near the Rhode Island State House. Fully furnished, it cost about $500.

Davis Street Move: 1 Jan 1845

The school was moved to Davis Street and enlarged. The building was able to hold 300 children in each of the two rooms "with yards and outhouses, separate for boys and girls" (Fr. Wiley's Diary) and was used as a Sunday school only.
 

School for Boys Opens: 26 Dec 1848

A day school for boys, ages 8 and older, opened with 35 students, with Mr. John Coyle as the first teacher.  Tuition was $1.00 per quarter.
 

School for Girls Opens: 1 Mar 1851

Fr. Synnot of St. Patrick Church applied for the Sisters of Mercy to take charge of a school for girls. The first girls' school opened, using the first floor of the existing school, while the boys' school continued on the second floor.
 

New Building Constructed: 1 May 1870

A larger school was constructed on the site of the original one. The new brick structure contained eight classrooms and a large gathering hall.

Smith Street Building Constructed: 1 Jan 1927

The cornerstone of the present school building was laid on the site on Smith Street.
 

Last Graduation at Old School: 1 Jun 1928

The last graduation was held at the old school; Sr. Scholastica R.S.M. was principal at the time.

 

Davis Street Senior High School Established: 1 Sep 1933

Fr. Martin Reddy remolded the Davis Street School into a Senior High School where another religious community, the Faithful Companions of Jesus, served. Mother M. Emily, F.C.J. was the first principal of the high school.
 

Girls’ High School Moves: 1 Sep 1969

The girls’ high school became a diocesan school and was moved to Centredale (Johnston), Rhode Island.
 

School Closed: 1 Aug 1970

As a result of the construction of Route 95, the number of parish families was reduced, causing a drop in parish income, and forcing the first parochial school in Rhode Island to close.

St. Patrick Word of God School Opens: 1 Sept 1972

St. Patrick Word of God School opened, staffed and largely financed by the St. Patrick Parish ‘Word of God’ charismatic community, with mostly lay faculty members.
 

New Principal: 1 Sept 1985

Mr. Stephen Raymond, a math teacher at the school since 1976, was named principal.
 

School Closing Reversed: May 2003 

 Falling enrollment and financial problems led the parish and   diocese to agree to close the school at the end of the 2002-03 school year.  However, a last minute appeal by the pastor, Fr. Raymond Kelly, rallied the parish community and raised more than $500,000 in cash and pledges. Bishop Robert Mulvee agreed to allow the school to stay open.
 

Patrick Academy Established: 24 Aug 2009

When the elementary school closed at the end of the 2008-09 school year, again for reasons of enrollment and finances, Fr. James Ruggieri’s vision of a new affordable urban Catholic high school was approved by Bishop Thomas Tobin.  In the first transition year, grades 6-8 were maintained from the elementary school. From these classes, the Academy would "grow up" into a full high school operation of grades 9-12.
 New Principal : 1 July 2011
Mr. Bruce Daigle succeeded Mr. Stephen Raymond as Principal of St. Patrick Academy as the school’s grade structure evolved into grades 8-10.  A new high school academic program was developed, policies and procedures were revised, and new faculty and staff were added.
 

First Graduation: 7 Jun 2014

St. Patrick Academy's first graduation was held on Saturday, June 7, 2014, with eleven graduates, all college-bound!