History of St. Boniface Martyr School, 1928 – 1990

 

We  would very much like to stay in touch with our alumni of St. Boniface Martyr School.  As we celebrate the 100th year of Catholic school education on the Gold Coast, we also commemorate the 86th Anniversary of the opening of St. Boniface School, in 1928.  To stay informed about alumni news and events from St. Boniface School,  please complete and submit a St. Boniface School Alumni registration form.

 

Vintage post card view of the front entrance to St. Boniface School.

Vintage post card view of the front entrance to St. Boniface School.

The dream of establishing a Catholic school at St. Boniface Martyr Parish began in 1898, when the parish was established. Father James Donohoe, the first pastor, expressed a strong desire to see a parochial school created for the children of parish families. The idea stayed alive in the 1920’s, when Father Louis Sloane, the pastor at the time, began to set aside money each year to be used in building the school.

His successor, Father Patrick Ford, went a step further by organizing a fund drive to raise $50,000 of the $250,000 needed for the school’s construction. The support given by the parishioners was such that the money was donated or pledged within only a few weeks. Combined with the funds set aside by Father Sloane, that money was sufficient to buy the Amrhein Farm on which the school was to be built, and to hire Architect James O’Connor  to design the structure.

In November, 1927, ground was broken and Frank A. Droesch, Inc., a construction firm from Queens, began working on the building. The work was completed in time for the school to open its doors in September, 1928. On June 23, 1928, the Sisters of Mercy from Dallas, Pennsylvania arrived and began registering children for entry into grades 1 through 6. Another grade was to be added each year until all 8 grades were included.

The new school opened on September 10, 1928, with an initial registration of 150 students. The building contained 10 classrooms, 2 indoor playgrounds, lunchrooms, a kitchen, restrooms, offices, a clinic, storerooms, and a large auditorium. Bishop Thomas F. Malloy of the Diocese of Brooklyn formally dedicated the school on September 16, 1928, at a ceremony attended by more than 1000 people.

In June 1931, the first 8th grade class (14 students) graduated, leading the way for the 59 graduating classes that followed it into the world.

First Graduating Class, St. Boniface School 1931

Over the subsequent decades, enrollment at St. Boniface grew (to nearly 600 students, at one point) and the building was expanded to accommodate the students. In 1962, a library and gymnasium were added and 8 new classrooms were opened. In 1963, student services were expanded to include a 5-day hot lunch program staffed by volunteers from the Mothers’ Club (later the Home School Association).

For 36 years, St. Boniface provided its students with a free education but, in 1964, economic factors forced the introduction of a modest family tuition schedule. The school continued to change. In 1969, a playground was built on school property with the help of many community volunteers. In 1976, nursery and Pre-K programs were begun, and, in 1977, the first kindergarten class started. By that time, lay teachers had replaced most of the Sisters of Mercy.  In the Autumn of 1989 enrollment was approximately 220 students.  In its 62 years of existence, St. Boniface Martyr School graduated over 2,000 pupils.

On June 24, 1989, St. Boniface Martyr School joyfully celebrated its 60th anniversary with a reunion dinner chaired by Kathleen and John Ahearn. Many of the school’s 2,000 graduates returned for the event.

Throughout its existence, St. Boniface Martyr School served as a superb example of academic excellence in Catholic education.

In 1990, the parish schools of St. Boniface, St. Mary in Roslyn, St. Patrick in Glen Cove and St. Hyacinth in Glen Head regionalized to form All Saints Regional Catholic School, a new entity designed to supported by those four parishes, joined by St. Rocco Parish of Glen Cove.  The decision to regionalize the schools and close the St. Boniface School building made for a very painful time in the parish, especially for the families whose children who attended the school. Since then however, space made available by the closing of the St. Boniface School building has been put to good use, and All Saints Regional Catholic School is thriving.

Click here to read the history of All Saints Regional Catholic School.

 St. Boniface School Principals

1928-35

Sr. M. Adrian Gillespie, RSM

1935-36

Sr. M. Gonzaga Kehoe, RSM

1936-37

Sr. M. Constance Dolan, RSM

1937-38

Sr. M. Andrew Hennigan, RSM

1938-39

Sr. M. Cornelia Dever, RSM

1939-51

Sr. M. Isabel Sheerin, RSM

1951-57

Sr. M. Philip Dillon, RSM

1957-60

Sr. M. Gemma Brennan, RSM

1960-66

Sr. M. Maureen McGroarty, RSM

1966-69

Sr. M. Philip Dillon, RSM

1969-70

Sr. M. Elizabeth Guckavan, RSM

1970-71

Sr. M. Clare Dougherty, RSM

1971-76

Sr. M. Jeanne d’Arc Salinger, RSM

1976-77

Sr. M. Elizabeth Guckavan, RSM

1977-81

Mrs. Elaine Lawless

1981-89

Sr. Margaret McPeak, DW

1989-90

Mrs. Lenora Brisotti

 

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