METUCHEN — Celebrations are rolling in one after another at St. Francis Cathedral School, which educates children from pre-school through eighth grade.
In September of 2017, the school was named one of the National Blue Ribbon Schools by the United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for the school’s overall academic performance. The school was among the top 15 percent in the country in English and mathematics.
This year, school officials, students and alumni are gearing up for the school’s 90th Anniversary Gala on Sept. 9 at The Pines Manor in Edison. The theme is “Start with a solid foundation, finish with a successful future.”
In the past nine decades, the school has graduated more than 3,500 students.
“The school had an 80th celebration so we are piggybacking on the celebration,” said Elaine Scull, who works in the school’s Office of Development and Marketing. She is a 1982 graduate of St. Francis.
St. Francis Cathedral School opened in 1928 and was staffed by the Sisters of Mercy. At the time, Metuchen was part of the Trenton Diocese. In 1981, the Diocese of Trenton was divided in half and the Diocese of Metuchen was formed.
The church of St. Francis of Assisi became known as the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi and its school is called St. Francis Cathedral School. The Sisters of Mercy administered the school until June 2001. At that time, the leadership was put into the hands of a lay principal.
The 90th school year begins on Aug. 30, led by Ann Major, the school’s new principal, who has deep roots in the school and the community. Major previously was the principal at Holy Rosary School in Staten Island, New York.
“I came back. … I attended and taught at the school, my children attended the school, and I have been a parishioner,” she said.
Major, a 1968 graduate of St. Francis, said kindergarten classrooms at the time were held where the principal’s office is now.
“I joke that I am back in kindergarten,” she said, noting she began kindergarten at St. Francis in 1959 and the school was separated among boys and girls.
Major, who became principal on July 1, replaces Barbara Stevens, who served as principal for 15 years. Stevens had accepted the job at the Diocese of Metuchen as assistant superintendent of schools.
“I’m thrilled to be back at St. Francis, it is very much my home,” she said. “The lasting existence of the school for 90 years is testimony to the staff and sisters at the school. Ninety years is a huge milestone of its vitality to the community and vitality to itself.”
Major said the school currently has 464 registered students. She said the school offers an excellent education with a robust STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and mathematics) curriculum and use of technology.
She said along with the gala, the school will celebrate the 90 years in different ways throughout the school year.
Scull said the gala program will include five distinguished alumni dating back to 1957. The gala will also include a keynote speech from Mary Moczula, Class of 2003, and remarks from Major and Stevens. Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Zamorski will deliver the prayers.
The gala will be held from 12:30-4:30 p.m. at The Pines Manor, 2085 Route 27, Edison. For anyone interested in attending and/or donating to the Msgr. Behl Endowment Fund, contact Elaine Scull at email@example.com.