Brief History of the Ave Maria Girls’ Primary School
The Ave Maria Girls’ School is an all girls school which is one of the oldest schools on island. It was founded and operated by the nuns of the Irish order of the St. Joseph’s Sisters of Cluny in 1847. The school was constructed on the residence of Reverend Abbe Rautureau, a french priest who settled on the island five years earlier. The residence was respectably known as “the Ave Maria” a name the school has retained. At that time of its construction during the early eighteen hundreds, the school was a small octagonal shaped wooden structure which was built over a six foot wall with four annexes towering over the main building; which it shared with the secondary school of the St. Joseph’s Convent. The population of the school at that time was one hundred and twenty-four girls (124). The sisters were given a mandate to educate the girls in the areas of reading, writing, arithmetic and needlework.
In the year 1948 and 1959, there were two disastrous fires in the city of Castries. The 1948 fire started in a tailor’s shop on Brazil Street and part of the Ave Maria Girls’ School got burnt. Thereafter, the school inherited the nick name “ Ave Maria Tete Chaudee”. After this fire, the section which is presently called the Annex was built. After the 1959 fire which destroyed the St. Joseph’s Convent, the Convent School and Chapel, they were then relocated to Cedars. This space was now solely left for the Ave Maria Girls’ School. The Ave Maria School was then rebuilt in wall on the same grounds of the old convent school, as two separate entities.
The population of the school increased rapidly and so it became necessary to separate the infant girls from the primary girls; thus having two schools with two principals on the same compound. The Primary School is an “L” shaped building located on Broglie Street, opposite the Infant School. The Primary School is a two story building comprising of eighteen classes, from Grade 3 to Grade 6, which was also called Standard 1 to Standard 4. In addition to eighteen classes, the school now host a Special Education room, a modern Library, Information Technology room and a kitchen.
In 1979, the population of the Ave Maria Girls’ Primary School reached one thousand and six (1006 ) and so it became necessary to operate on a shift system. Grades 3 to 5 were taught between 8:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., while Grade 6 came to school at 12:45 p.m. and left at 5:15 p.m. This shift system lasted for twenty-five(25) years and ended in 2004. The schools’ population for the 2015-2016 school year is 535 students.
The Sisters of Cluny conducted the school effectively and diligently until the retirement of Sister Theresa Egan in 1983. When the Government of Saint Lucia took part management of the school, the conducting of the school was open to lay persons. The first of which was Dr. Martha Isaac, a past teacher of the institution until 1990, then Ms. Ira Rebecca Megahy who retired in 2009. For the academic year 2009 – 2010, Mrs. Veronica Magloire, who was teacher in charge at the time, held the fort. In September 2010, the school welcomed a new principal in the person of Mrs. Valerie St. Helene-Henry.
The school’s mission and goals aim at promoting success and expectations of pupils, teachers and parents through academic, spiritual, social, physical and core values. The mission, vision and core values serve as a reminder that all stakeholders, teachers, parents, principal and the Ministry of Education always to work together in support of each other so that we can achieve the goals and objectives.
Our motto: EACH TASK WELL DONE. With this motto in mind, we have and continue to produce many girls who have excelled academically and continue to excel within our society at large.
Sister Theresa Egan
Dr. Martha Isaac
Ms. Ira Rebecca Megahy
Mrs. Veronica Magloire
2009 – 2010
Mrs. Valerie St. Helene – Henry
2010 – Present