On September 14, 1936 after a cost of approximately $175,000, St. Clare Elementary School opened its doors. The main floor housed four classrooms and a gym auditorium (seating capacity 700). The second floor contained four more classrooms as well as a Teacher's Lunchroom and Principal's Office. St. Clare's School recorded a milestone in the spring of 1938 when a class of sixteen students became its first graduates. By the following year, the Senior Class had swelled to 28 students.
During the mid-fifties, Great Kills grew at an extraordinary rate. The time had come to move ahead on expanding the Parish facilities. In February, 1956, the Mansfield House and property, adjacent to the Church, was purchased to serve as the site for the new Church.
In 1958, preparations also involved relocating classes to make way for the new school wing as well as moving the Church to allow space for the new Church's foundation. By September, the school addition was ready for students. The three story annex, faced in brick and limestone, housed ten classrooms and a fully equipped cafeteria. Finally, it seemed, there was enough space to accommodate the student body. The Church and School were officially blessed and dedicated on May 22, 1960 by Francis Cardinal Spellman.
The challenges of the Sixties were met head on. There was an integration of the students (boys and girls had been placed separately in the old and new parts of the school for years) in 1965.
In 1987, more construction ensued to meet the needs of the St. Clare students. The Hicks Center was completed. This part of the building included administrative offices as well as a library, computer room and science room.
June, 2004, saw, with the retirement of Sister Rosemary Ward, the end of the long and dedicated service of the Presentation Sisters at St. Clare Elementary School. The selfless service of these good women helped to make St. Clare the school of excellence that it is today and their contributions will never be forgotten.
Based on a religious foundation, St. Clare Elementary School continues to provide a solid education based on New York State Standards. Boys and girls who attend St. Clare are promised a safe and orderly environment in which to learn , as well as a solid education which will prepare them for their educational futures.
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