St. Ann Catholic Elementary School has been educating students for over 100 years. The cornerstone of the school was laid on the Feast of St. Ann, July 26, 1908. St. Ann Church had preceded it by two years, and as with the practice of the day, a school would be built after the pastor, Father Leahard, made a request to the Bishop. Bishop Dowling offered the building site and $10 000 at 4.4% per annum. The Catholic School Board passed the motion that the Bishop’s offer be accepted and a school be built not to exceed this amount.
The school opened on January 4, 1909 with two rooms and fifty-six students. There were eight schools at this time and St. Ann School would be the most easterly. The school grew, as the city of Hamilton continued to expand east. In 1914 and 1927, new classrooms were added and by 1955, there were eight sisters, twelve lay teachers and 745 students. By Canada’s Centennial, the school had grown to 35 classrooms, 40 teachers and 1 400 students. The Junior School opened in 1968, and the twelve original classrooms were demolished soon after.
St. Ann School has always been a reflection of the population patterns of the city, and a Hamilton grew outward from the core, the school population became smaller. In 1985, the school moved from the Board’s first open concept school back to the building it continues to occupy and the Junior School became the Nicholas Mancini Center. The NMC has since been demolished and its staff moved to the former Christ the King facility.
Today there are 180 students and 24 staff at St. Ann School. There is an All Day Daycare and Best Start program on site sharing our facility. There have been many changes since 1908, but St. Ann School continues to be as culturally diverse as the neighbourhood, with five Catholic Churches within two blocks of the school. It is a happy school community with staff, parents/guardians and parish working as a team to create a wonderful Catholic community.
The children of St. Ann School try daily to emulate St. Ann and like her, they are caring, loving and spiritual. St. Ann School has had many successful graduates, with Bishop Reding having been a student at the school. The strong Catholic community of St. Ann will continue to prepare children to become leaders in society and in our Church.