It was in 1911, that the Sparkill Dominicans expanded their educational activities in the The Bronx.  Sister Anna Maria and Sister M. Edward, at the request of Reverend William B. Courtney, Pastor of St. Brendan's, were appointed to assume responsibility for the religious education program he planned to organize in his Parish.  One year later, that program was supplanted by the establishment of St. Brendan Elementary School with a faculty of three: Sister M. Raphael, Sister Anna Maria and Sister M. Georgianna.  For more than ten years, the basement of the Church, partitioned into five classrooms, served for school facilities.  But by 1923, a fine fireproof building with ample facilities for the school's annually increasing registration had been built.  The "ample facilities" became inadequate and to provide for additional classrooms, another story was added to the school in 1940, and a further extension in 1967.  

In the beginning no residence was provided for the Sisters.  So they resided at St. Martin Academy, in The Bronx.  For a brief time they lived in a  second-floor apartment on 207th Street.  In 1914 Father Courtney purchased a little house at 3197 Perry Avenue, judging that it would serve as a permanent house for the Sisters.  Later, the Sisters occupied a second house on Perry Avenue and finally in 1957, a new and modern convent was built and furnished for them.  

Though experiencing its share of challenges and pressures, St. Brendan's has known more than average success through the years.  The school has always been recognized as the pride of the Parish, and an asset to the Archdiocese.

At the request of Reverend John E. Wickham, successor to Father Courtney, a parochial secondary school for girls became a part of the educational program of St. Brendan Parish.  St. Brendan Academy opened in September 1931, with a staff of three sisters - Sr. M. Anita, Sr. M. Catherine, and Sr. M. Paula - and a registration of twenty-five students.  The Parish's Fiftieth Anniversary Booklet relates, "The small numbers in faculty and students were more than compensated for by the spirit of hope and optimism and the desire to learn."  The original program provided only a ninth grade curriculum; an additional grade was added each year until a full four-year academic course was completed.  Nineteen girls, the first graduation class were granted diplomas in 1935.

The two-story frame house at 3197 Perry Avenue, the former residence of the Sisters, served as the Academy.  It was divided into seven rooms, a very small library, and a laboratory set up in the basement.  Commenting on the early days at St. Brendan Academy, a former faculty member said, "We were very crowded, had inadequate equipment and classrooms, yet the girls loved the school despite its glaring defects, as well as the Sisters with whom they cooperated splendidly in all their subjects.  I was there two years, and remember those girls with pleasure, as an intelligent, ambitious student body."

Year by year, Academy registration grew.  By 1939 there were 240 girls attending the School and the need for expansion was obvious.  Because of the crowded conditions and inadequate facilities, there arose a question regarding the School's charter and affiliation.  Larger quarters with newer facilities and equipment were imperative.  It was not possible, however, for the Parish to erect a new building, and the Archdiocesan School Board suggested that the School be discontinued.  Accordingly, though with deep regret, St. Brendan's Academy was closed in 1939, and its students transferred to other Catholic High Schools in the area. 

-From The Vision Is Tremendous

School Timeline
October 22, 1908
- 7 lots were secured at the southwest corner of 207th Street and Perry Avenue for $18, 500.

November 14, 1908 - 14th Archbishop John Farley "gave St. Brendan as patron” to the new church.

Fall, 1911 - 2 nuns of the Sparkill Dominicans made a trip by street car from Yonkers, NY to St. Brendan’s arriving before the 9 AM Mass Sunday morning for Sunday School and on 2 weekday afternoons.

September 9, 1912 - The 1st Parish School is opened with 96 pupils enrolled from K-5th grade.

1914 - A Convent opens at 3191 Perry Avenue.  The neighborhood becomes affectionately known as “Brendan Hill.”

1917 - The 8th Grade is made up of 10 girls and 12 boys; they become the 1st Graduating Class.

March 11, 1923 - Groundbreaking for the new school begins.  The Archdiocese authorizes the Parish to borrow $200,000 and to purchase the adjacent lots on the south side of E. 207th Street.

June 22, 1924 - 15 girls and 11 boys were the first class to graduate from the new school building.

October, 1924 - Patrick Cardinal Hayes officially dedicates the school.

1931 - A small frame house on Perry Ave. becomes the home of St. Brendan’s Academy (high school).  Although it did not survive, 240 woman received a quality education.

1944 - The School Orchestra performs at Town Hall.

September, 1953 - 950 students are enrolled; there are 20 Dominican Sisters and one lay teacher.

1967 - There are now 1,119 pupils and 2 extra classrooms are added.

1980 to 90s - The curriculum sees many changes.  Students are given their first introduction to computers.

1996 - The Friends and Alumni Association is formed, reuniting old friends and re-sparking friendships.  

2012 - The school celebrates 100 years of providing quality Catholic education to Bronx children.

(back to top)

Contact | FAQ

Home | Archives | Events | Friends & Alumni/ae | Guestbook | History | Links
Mass Times/Schedules
| Our Patron Saint | Parish Info | St. Brendan School | School History