Establishing Roots in the Community
Seeing that there was no Catholic educational institution in the southern part of his immense Florida diocese, Bishop Barry decided to create one. Taught in the old Saint Ann's Church and part of the rectory in West Palm Beach, four Sisters began the St. Ann On-The-Lake Acadamy in 1925. By September 1925, girls from out of the area were able to attend St. Ann's, as the new Bradley Hall, a gift of Col. and Mrs. Bradley, was opened for boarders. But soon after, in 1928, a 130 mph hurricane destroyed the two towers of Bradley Hall. Eventually, the building was repaired, and by 1934, began to be used for classes, as well as boarders. By 1935, the school's enrollment had doubled. Soon boys were admitted as day students. In 1939, the school's name was changed to Rosarian, honoring the mother of our generous benefactor, Ann Bradley.
Coming of Age
By the 1940's, the school's roots were firmly established, and the institution was ready to grow. In 1941, with a $2,000 homeowner's loan, we purchased Casa Hermosa as a dormitory for students. It continued serving as such for the next 21 years. The school's population increased greatly during this time, including many South American students. Not only was the student population growing, the school's social reputation grew as well. Important members of the clergy visited, and the school received many important accredidations, including that of the State of Florida and the Catholic University. The 40's ended with the ground-breaking for a beautiful new Chapel and classroom building.
Growth & Development
The school's incredible growth spurt continued throughout the 50's. The Yacht Club was purchased in 1951, giving the Academy room for an auditorium, more classrooms, showers and lockers for day students and two apartments for faculty members. An important highlight of 1953 was an exciting forum of 21 educators from around the world, who gathered at the Academy to observe educational methods in a project partially funded by the State Department's Office of Education.
Over the next few years, three new buildings were added to the school's campus: Lewis Hall and Harrington Apartments. In 1959, a new swimming pool and bathhouse were added. The 50's also saw a dramatic increase in emphasis on the arts, with the Academy producing spectacular stage productions.
The Age of Change
As American society underwent great social and political change in the 60's, so did Rosarian Academy. New thought was given to the educational structure of the school, and forward-thinking programs like language labs and a guidance department were introduced. Boarders below the 7th Grade were eliminated, and kindergarten was phased out. In 1963, we broke ground for the new, state-of-the-art Margaret Tighe Machlin Fine Arts Center. The school's Choral was visited by major recording artists, Perry Como and Ray Charles.
The Age of Accomplishment
The 70's and 80's saw continued innovation and change at the school. The lower elementary was phased out by 1972 and re-established in 1985. The High School was in place from 1925 - 1991, and the Montessori School was established in 1974. Student input was taken into consideration for curriculum and social issues during this period, and activities such as scouts and intramural sports were added. The school's last property acquisition was made with the purchase of the Myer House on Eighth Street.
The Age of Challenge
The school's current scholastic structure was established in 1986, as Rosarian was made completely co-ed, covering Montessori and kindergarten through 8th grade. The first co-ed 8th grade class graduated in 1992.
Rosarian Academy, an institution in the Catholic tradition, has experienced a great deal of change through the last eighty years, principles have remained the same. We have always placed the utmost importance on strong moral and spiritual values, intellectual growth, and civic-minded responsibility. No matter what the future holds for our school, these important tenets will remain our priority.