The following excerpts have been taken from the History section of the Saint Mary-Sacred Heart School Self-Study Report completed in 1988. These excerpts will help the reader understand how Saint Mary-Sacred Heart School came to be a consolidation of two parish schools, Saint Mary’s School and Sacred Heart School.
Saint Mary-Sacred Heart School
Rather than seek to maintain the individual spirit of each parish, the Consolidated School Board sought to develop a unique spirit of its own. To this end, many dedicated men and women of Saint Mary’s, Sacred Heart and Saint Mark’s parishes, along with their clergy, devoted their time, their energies and personal gifts toward the vision they had, that of realizing a unified and strong Catholic school within the confines of North Attleboro.
All were united in their goals:
- to educate youth in the Catholic tradition of their predecessors,
- to make students aware of their responsibility as Christians,
- to mold religious and moral values,
- to prepare the foundation and challenge students to prepare themselves for future, commitment as responsible citizens,
- to establish a viable, financially independent school.
There were major difficulties and growth pains every step of the way. Issues included staffing, housing of religious, school board membership, and diocesan approval. Despite the many obstacles, the Consolidated School became a reality in 1972 with classes to be held in the Saint Mary’s School building at 125 Broad Street. Enrollment numbers necessitated the move to the larger facility, and the Sacred Heart School building was leased to the town of North Attleboro. Classes ranged from kindergarten through eighth grade. There was inter-community staffing of Religious Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of the Holy Union with a devoted lay staff to complement the number of teachers. The first principal of the merged school was Sr. Jeanne Poirier, SUSC.
There were two tracks of each grade until 1973. There was also a short period during which the school boasted of a nursery program, but this was later dropped. There then followed a gradual decline in student enrollment. However, in June 1976, Dominican Academy in Plainville closed its doors, helping to increase enrollment at St. Mary-Sacred Heart. Gradually, by September of 1979, the whole school was on a one-track system. The spiritual needs of the students were served by the clergy of all three parishes.
Relocation of the St. Mary-Sacred Heart School to the Sacred Heart School building was announced on April 12, 1981 for economic reasons. Catholic education in the Saint Mary’s School building on Broad Street came to an end in June 1981. The building was sold on March 15, 1985 to Pace Realty for condominiums. Classes were transferred to the former Sacred Heart School building at 57 Richards Avenue, commencing September 1981.
At present, St. Mary-Sacred Heart School serves approximately ten parishes with 275 students in kindergarten through grade eight. The present principal is the seventh since the merger and the fifth lay person. A consolidated school board continues to be made up of members of the three major parishes of the North Attleboro area. The staff consists entirely of lay teachers.