St. Anthony School at 270 Diamond Bridge Avenue, Hawthorne, NJ 07506 US - Our School's History
|Our School's History|
In the early 1900’s Catholics from Hawthorne (incorporated in 1898) traveled to adjoining Paterson to attend Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes. Those early followers, concerned for the religious development of their children, asked the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes, Reverend Anthony Stein, to hold Sunday School classes in Hawthorne. Thus, Sister Mercedes and Sister Raymond of the Dominican Sisters of Newburgh in a room above a grocery store on Lincoln Avenue gave the first formal religious instruction for those first 18 children.On October 4, 1908, the first Mass in Hawthorne was celebrated on Lafayette Avenue in Lill’s Hall. The quickly growing Catholic community in Hawthorne now needed its own church and Father Stein searched for property to build upon. A miracle was in the making as Mr. Robert Patton, a non-catholic, donated the land at the corner of Diamond Bridge and Washington Avenues. On August 3, 1909, the ground was broken for the new mission church which was named after St. Anthony because it was to that saint that Father Stein had prayed.
About 15 years later, the pastor, now Father Van Zale, purchased additional land, constructed a rectory and renovated an existing building to be used as a convent, in order to accommodate those religious sisters for whom he envisioned teaching in an eight grade school. St. Anthony School’s first 48 students were taught in the basement of the church in September 1912. Sister Concepta and Sister Christina of the Dominican Sisters taught all eight grades. The current structure, a two-story red brick building, was built in 1923. It had 9 classrooms and a small auditorium, dining area, teacher’s room and office.
As the population of Catholics in Hawthorne continued to grow, the need for a new church grew as well. The first Mass was celebrated in the present gothic style church on September 25, 1932. An addition to the school was made in 1955. A spacious gymnasium/ auditorium with stage, large cafeteria with fully operational kitchen, 7 new classrooms, a library, and 2 meeting rooms were added since the student population had soared to over 900 in grades 1-8. There were very large class sizes, having only 2 sections of each grade. The declining population in the 1970’s forced many school closings around the nation and St. Anthony School was affected as well. The two sections of each grade slowly became one class of 25–35 students. Over the last two decades, St. Anthony School has maintained a student population of 200-250 students from PreK3 through eighth grade.
In 1995, the Dominican Sisters withdrew, and the administration of the school was given to the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco.
Many physical changes have occurred to St. Anthony School since 1955 as well. While additions to the building haven’t been made, rooms have been converted to address the needs of the time. The building now houses thirteen classrooms - each equipped with high-speed internet access, interactive whiteboards, document cameras, and computers -- gymnasium/auditorium with stage, cafeteria with a fully equipped kitchen, a science lab (refurbished in 2004), a media center (constructed in 2010) containing a computer lab and library, art room, music room, central office, nurse’s room, religious education offices, meeting rooms, teacher’s dining area, and resource room. Other changes include a handicap access elevator to the first floor and lower level, and a security monitoring system. The Mark A. Sasso Memorial Playground was completed in the spring of 2009.
St. Anthony School was fully accredited from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in 1994 and was reaccredited in September 2004, and was awarded the Best Practices Award for its Multicultural Day activity. In 2011, SAS became accredited by AdvancED, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement, a worldwide accreditation organization promoting excellence in education.
St. Anthony School continues to assess the needs of its student population and to make the changes necessary to develop every student’s potential.