by Lilla Ross
Photos by Woody Huband
Students and faculty of St. Joseph Academy in St. Augustine will celebrate the school’s 150th anniversary Nov. 10 with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Felipe Estévez followed by a reception.
St. Joseph is the oldest Catholic school in the state. Eight Sisters of St. Joseph, who were brought from LePuy, France, in 1866 by Bishop Augustin Verot, started it to educate the children of recently freed slaves. The first classes were held in November 1866, with two students in its first graduation class in 1874.
In 1876, the academy was chartered by the state. The academy had a boarding school for girls from 1877 to 1968.
Since then it has grown into a four-year college preparatory school with more than 300 students and two dozen faculty.
The school was originally located adjacent to the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse on St. George Street. When oversight of the school shifted to the diocese in 1980, a new campus was built on State Road 207.
As part of the celebration, the academy is launching a fundraising campaign to rebuild the statue of a guardian angel protecting a child that once stood outside the school.