History

 

breakingground-new.jpgIn August, 1952, the Pastor of Saint Cecilia Church, Father Miller, envisioned the building of Saint Cecilia School on the property of the new parish.  On September 4, 1954, ground was broken and one year later, in 1955, the school opened its doors for the first time to students in grades one through eight under the guidance of the Sisters of Divine Providence.

Saint Cecilia School opened in response to parishioners’ requests to alleviate the over crowding in Stamford’s only other parochial school, Saint John, which was located in the central part of the City of Stamford.  Several years after its construction, a second wing was added to Saint Cecilia School to accommodate a total of sixteen classrooms, doubling its original capacity.

The Stamford Catholic Regional School System came to be a reality in September 1973, after much deliberation among six Stamford pastors who could no longer afford to keep their parish schools financially sound.  Those parishes included:  Saint Mary, Saint John, Saint Leo, Saint Gabriel, Saint Cecilia and Saint Maurice.  With the permission of the Diocese of Bridgeport, it was agreed that six parish schools would amalgamate into three buildings.  Saint Cecilia and St. Maurice Schools would consist of grades one through six, and Saint Gabriel School would house students in grades seven and eight.

A few years into its existence, the policy makers of the system agreed to incorporate a full-day kindergarten at both Saint Cecilia and St. Maurice Schools.  While the idea of regionalization was a major and unique undertaking at that time, the main focus was on maintaining Catholic values.  In 1979, a seventh parish, Saint Bridget, joined the school system due to declining enrollment at its own parish school.

In 1986, Saint Maurice was closed and the children were allowed to attend any of the other remaining schools.  For thirteen years, the Stamford Catholic Regional School System, led by the Congregation of Notre Dame Sisters, thrived.  The ratio of sisters to lay teachers gradually declined.  Today, Saint Cecilia School has one teaching sister on staff.

In 1988, the principal began a feasibility study to review the possibility of opening a Pre-Kindergarten for four-year old children.  After months of research and focus groups, the principal opened this program as a half-day program with an all-day option.

In 1991, under the leadership of Bishop Edward M. Egan, third Bishop of Bridgeport, the regional school system was revamped to include three towns and sixteen parishes.  These schools were housed in six buildings under the direction of the Board of Directors and a regional consultative school board. Holy Name School in Stamford closed at this juncture and its students then transferred to any of the remaining schools.  The six schools, Saint Cecilia, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Sacred Heart, Holy Spirit, and Saint Gabriel are located in Stamford, while Saint Aloysius, located in New Canaan, represents the towns of Darien and New Canaan.

In 1996, the combined boards of the Catholic Regional System voted to move the sixth grades of Saint Cecilia, Holy Spirit and Our Lady Star of the Sea to Saint Gabriel Middle School.  An additional Pre-Kindergarten room became available at Saint Cecilia and thus, a second section was opened for the 1997-1998 school year.

At a meeting at Fairfield University on October 12, 2004, Bishop William Lori, fourth Bishop of Bridgeport, announced a new organizational structure for the 39 Catholic schools administered by the Diocese.  Regional schools became Diocesan schools, each one with its own Board of Education. The Stamford Catholic Schools:  Saint Cecilia, Trinity Catholic Middle School (formerly Saint Gabriel), Holy Spirit, and Our Lady Star of the Sea School, share one school board and market the four schools as one, unified school.

The new Board of Education’s governance structure entered into a training phase in the fall of 2005.

In the summer of 2005, Saint Cecilia celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.  During the same year, the closing of Sacred Heart School in downtown Stamford was announced by the Diocese.  The following September, Saint Cecilia and the other Stamford Catholic schools opened their doors to the student population which had been displaced by the closure.

slide-5.jpgIn 2009, St. Cecilia School was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.  It was the first school in the City of Stamford to be so recognized.  This distinction is bestowed upon schools whose students achieve in the top 10 percent on their standardized tests in both mathematics and reading.  Of the 314 schools receiving this prestigious award across the nation, only 50 private schools were selected.  The award was presented in Washington, D.C.

A second honor to the school came in the form of National Distinguished Principal awarded to Dr. Borchetta, by both the National Catholic Educational Association, Inc. and by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.  Fewer than 50 principals nationwide were honored in Washington by NCEA and NAESP.

Again, in January, 2010, Saint Cecilia took in new students. Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, several Haitian children were sent by their parents to live with relatives in Stamford.  They enrolled in Saint Cecilia and quickly became part of the Saint Cecilia family.

The administration, faculty and staff work tirelessly each day to fulfill its mission as a school that “fosters the growth of lifelong learners who strive for academic excellence within a loving, Christian community.”  To this date, our students share and create a loving, Christian community by performing corporal works of mercy:  stocking and organizing the neighborhood food pantry; raising money to finance surgeries for children born with cleft palates inBolivia, and fundraising for the Visitation Hospital in Haiti, which the school has done for the past nine years.

From its inception in 1953 to the present, Saint Cecilia School has striven to meet the changing needs of its school family in conjunction with and as part of its mission.  The school is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. and the State of Connecticut. 


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