West Palm Beach, Florida – The 2015-2016 academic year is still new, but already it has brought some special events into the lives of the Rosarian Academy community. This year, the school marks its 90th anniversary with a number of special activities. To top it all off, a group of eighth-graders and faculty members had the experience of a lifetime: the opportunity to see Pope Francis in person.
Rosarian Academy celebrates 90 years of providing "A Foundation for Life. A Tradition of Excellence.” Nearly 400 members of the Rosarian community – including students, families, alumni, faculty, staff, past principals, Adrian Dominican Sisters, and friends – gathered on September 12, 2015, for a reception and one-hour program at the school.
Rosarian has stood as an educational landmark in Palm Beach County since 1925 and continues to enrich the lives of students and families with a strong academic program enhanced by faith, athletics, visual and performing arts, and community service opportunities.
The program for the 90th Anniversary Celebration took place in the school’s 50-year-old theater and included an entertaining review of Rosarian’s history performed by current students; an opening prayer by Reverend Brian King, Episcopal Secretary to Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito; proclamations from the Honorable Jeri Muoio, Mayor of the City of West Palm Beach, and the Honorable Gail Coniglio, Mayor of the Town of Palm Beach; an address from the Adrian Dominican Sisters, the school’s founding sponsor; and the introduction of Rosarian's new Head of School Stephen Rubenacker.
The “Rosarian Review” highlighted major moments and events in Rosarian’s rich history, such as the opening of the school’s first building for girls only, Bradley Hall, in September 1925; the addition of the swimming pool in 1959; the establishment of the Montessori School in 1974; the closing of the high school in 1991; and the present-day co-ed, early-childhood-through-eighth-grade structure of the school.
This portion of the program was anchored by actors Sailor Kate Ashley (seventh grade), Emma Hardyman (sixth grade), Crede Janson (fifth grade), Nicholas Stewart (fourth grade), and Robbie Vargas (sixth grade). The skit conveyed the message that, regardless of various changes that have taken place throughout the last 90 years, Rosarian’s principles have remained the same. The school has always placed the utmost importance on strong moral and spiritual values, intellectual growth, and civic-minded responsibility. No matter what the future holds for Rosarian, these important tenants will remain a priority.
Thirteen Adrian Dominican Sisters – all part of the Congregation that founded the school in 1925 and continues to sponsor it today – attended the 90th celebration, including former principal Sister Grace Flowers, OP, who read a letter on behalf of Sister Attracta Kelly, Prioress.
“Rosarian Academy is not 90 years old – it’s 90 years vital,” read Sister Grace. “The commitment of faculty, staff, and administration to educational excellence and a mission-centered curriculum is the foundation that has created this dynamic environment. At Rosarian, now and throughout our history, students have not only flourished academically, but have also developed the core values of prayer, study, reflection and action that enable them to build meaningful lives and make a positive difference in our world.”
Mayor Jeri Muoio proclaimed, “We commend the fine work – past, present, and future – of Rosarian Academy, and we join with our beloved Dominican Sisters to ‘influence society positively and actively as they seek truth, make peace, and reverence life.’”
Following the proclamations from Mayors Muoio and Coniglio, John C. Cassidy, Jr., Chairman of the Board, introduced Head of School Stephen Rubenacker, who is new to Rosarian Academy as of July 2015.
Mr. Rubenacker concluded his address with the words, “Looking forward to the next 90 years, we look forward to enhancing a program that fosters not only the basic skills that are necessary but an enhanced, individualized experience that will equip our children for a challenging world. This includes a program that embraces those twenty-first century skills, as well as fostering an entrepreneurial spirit, collaborative nature, and a heightened sense of awareness around what it means to be part of a global community. …By enthusiastically embracing their faith as well as their own learning, our graduates will continue to set the world on fire, for many years to come.”
In addition to the excitement of a landmark school year, eighth graders Hailey Albergo, Charlotte Breckinridge, Peter Fields, Robert Fox, Liam Groth and Mariana Perez-Vargas experienced the opportunity of a lifetime: a trip to Washington, DC, to be present on the west lawn of the Capitol on September 24 when Pope Francis arrived to address Congress. The students were accompanied by Steve Rubenacker, new Head of School; Sister Donna Baker, OP, and Francesca Coniglio Finck, religion teachers; and parent Michael Groth.
The students attended the special event courtesy of U.S. Representative Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), of West Palm Beach’s District 22, who visited the school and distributed 10 tickets to the event.
The students were chosen based on their answer to the question, “If you had the opportunity to meet with Pope Francis next week in D.C., what would you want to discuss with him and why?”
Today, 90 years after being established, Rosarian Academy continues to be the only independent, Catholic school in Palm Beach County, presenting its students with a standard of excellence second to none while providing the foundation to live life with faith, knowledge, and service.
Rosarian Academy educates students from early childhood through eighth grade and is located on Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach. For more information, visit www.rosarian.org or call 561.832.5131.