Foreseeing the growth of family life in the area, Monsignor Enright opened St. Rose of Lima Parochial School in the Fall of 1951. During that summer more than 400 children of grades 1-6 were registered.Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 2.50.42 PM The Adrian Dominican Sisters were appointed to staff the school. Sister Kathleen Marie, O.P., the first principal, and seven other sisters arrived to open the school on September 12, 1951. The Blessing of the school by Archbishop McDonough took place on the same day. One month later the kindergarten opened with fifty pupils. The Mother’s Club members volunteered to work in the cafeteria and they also undertook fund-raising to defray furnishing costs.
For many years, much of the day-to-day work in the school grounds, the cafeteria and even in the school itself, was done by volunteers, especially the Mother’s Club members. In 1954, the men of the parish, under the leadership of Bud Kindelan, organized a one-day fund raiser for a new convent for the Sisters. This gave rise to the present convent.
With the influx of Cuban refugees in 1960, the Parish of St. Rose, like all parishes throughout South Florida, was called upon to meet the new challenges. Many Spanish-speaking children applied for enrollment. In January, 1961, more than a thousand children were studying at St. Rose School under the direction of fourteen sisters and eight lay teachers. During the 1960’s St. Rose of Lima School received accreditation with the Florida Catholic Conference. At this time, Sister Jean Rosario, O.P., became principal of the school and led the school for the next thirteen years.
By the end of the 1970’s many changes in religious life were taking place all over the country including Florida. Many Sisters were opting out of schools to work in other areas in the Church. Very few of the Adrian Dominican sisters were left at St. Rose. In 1981, Monsignor Fogarty had the opportunity to invite the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the parish and school.
This began another ten-year period of growth marked by the leadership of Sister Anne Bernard (Sr. Margaret Gradl), IHM. The visionary developments of that time include: the establishment of the Home-School Board in 1982; the offering of an ‘after school’ program in 1983; establishment of the Development Board in 1984. These achievements were acknowledged when in 1994 St. Rose of Lima School received national recognition as U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.
With the introduction of a full time Development Office and the establishment of a School Advisory Board, the primary goal was to begin an endowment for the school. The endowment has now reached a total of more than two and a half million dollars. Interest generated by the endowment will be used to supplement teacher’s salaries, maintain school buildings and property, purchase equipment and offset tuition increases.
In 1991 new leadership once more sparked new growth. Father Seamus Doyle took over as pastor of the parish, and Sister Rita Murphy, IHM became principal of the school. At this time, too, the IHM sisters provided a vice-principal as well as a guidance counselor to assist in the school. The Home School Board was restructured under the supervision of Sister Rita Murphy. It is active promoting the good of the school and in funding various school projects. In 1994, St. Rose, due to the efforts of Sister Rita and the School Advisory Board, received the coveted Blue Ribbon Award making it one of the few Catholic schools in the United States to be twice honored. In 1996 the school was completely rewired and retrofitted for cable and computer networking capabilities. This same year, St. Rose of Lima School and Parish became the first in the Archdiocese to have a website page on the Internet. In 1997 all classes were online. A full time Technology Coordinator was added to the staff in 1997. Preparing for its Golden Jubilee, October 11, 1998 the school auditorium received a much-needed facelift as did the student bathrooms in the summer of 1999. During the first year of the new millennium all classrooms and administrative school and parish offices were networked with INTERNET capability and a phone system allowing faculty, staff and students the opportunity to communicate through voice mail as well as email messages. These technological renovations were underwritten by a beloved parishioner, Pat Eodice. As a memorial to his wife, the St. Rose of Lima Women’s Wall was created and now honors all of the special women in our lives.
During the summer of 2000, St. Rose parents, students and parishioners bade a fond and appreciative farewell to Sister Rita Murphy, IHM, Principal of the school for nine years. Sister Nancy Kindelan, IHM, a St. Rose of Lima Graduate, was welcomed in the fall of 2000 as the school’s new Principal. Joining the Administration also, Celine Zigmont, retiring from her position, as a beloved Kindergarten teacher of fourteen years. Celine became Assistant Principal, sharing these duties with Assistant Principal, Sr. Jude Mary, IHM. In June of 2002, Sister Jude returned to Philadelphia and Ms. Mary Peltz became Director of Religious Education for children.
The “Grandparents’ Reading Garden,” was dedicated on Grandparents’ Day, March 16th, 2001. This lovely butterfly garden serves as a quiet place for all students, faculty and staff to enjoy.
In September 2001 the school celebrated it’s 50 year Jubilee. On September 12th the school was decked out for a Birthday Party. Students enjoyed clowns, an old fashioned BBQ, a magician, and 50’s dance for the Junior High.
Archbishop John C. Favalora celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving on September 23rd along with past priests from St. Rose. Parishioners, alumni, former faculty members and neighbors shared an evening of memories at the Miami Shores Country Club.
On December 21,2001, in accordance with the wishes of Pat Eodice, major benefactor of the school’s technology program, WSRL TV, was born. We are now able to bring morning announcements, prayers and special events into each classroom via closed circuit TV.
“If you build it, they will come.” Sister Nancy Kindelan’s dream became a reality in February 2003. Two elevators were erected in the school to accommodate temporarily or permanently disabled students, allow maintenance staff to move heavy equipment and text books more easily and assist our parents and grandparents when visiting the second story of our school. The majority of funds needed for this building project were donated by two St. Rose of Lima Angels. Thankfully, parishioners, parents, grandparents, alumni and friends of St. Rose of Lima School donated the rest of the funding necessary to complete the elevator project.
There are currently 580 students, at this time, and the staff includes 57 full time and 7 part time employees.