St. Ambrose School History

Faith. Humanity. Creativity. Charity. At St. Ambrose School these traditions did not develop overnight, but have been fostered since its beginning in 1922.

The original school building was built in 1922 under the leadership of the Reverend Walter McCarthy, the first pastor. It housed eight classrooms, a church that seated 600, and a large hall for parish activities. The Annex, which still stands, was added in 1926.

The first faculty consisted of Sister Dosithea O¹Connor, the principal, Sister Zita Murphy and Miss Dorothy Castellion. The Sisters of St. Joseph have been the teaching order associated with St. Ambrose since it began. For years these generous religious donated their services to the Parish, receiving no salary.

During its first year, 122 boys and girls attended St. Ambrose School. By the 1940¹s, class sizes frequently exceeded 60 students per class, and following World War II, registration soared even further. In 1950, there were 820 students enrolled in a school built for only 700. It was decided to build a new church, and convert the space occupied by the present one into six additional classrooms. In October, 1960, following a successful three-year fund drive, the new St. Ambrose Church was dedicated by Bishop James E. Kearney. But plans to begin remodeling were halted unexpectedly on April 29, 1962, when the original school building was destroyed by fire.

Within two days, students from Grades 1­4 were able to attend school in the Annex. The community generously offered aid, and the remaining DPs [Displaced Pupils] attended class at St. Rita's, Annunciation, and Corpus Christi. In the following school year, 400 students and eight teachers used the third floor of Immaculate Conception School for Grades 5-8.

Exactly eighteen months after the fire, the present St. Ambrose School was ready to open, with eighteen carpeted classrooms, a new and innovative idea at the time.

St. Ambrose School was opened till June 2005.  At the same time, St. John the Evangelist School was also closed.  St. James School was closed in 1990.  The School year of 2005-2006, a new school for this neighborhood was created. St. John Neumann School is housed in the former St. Ambrose School on Empire Blvd.

The Peace of Christ Parish of today is a living Christian community. It embraces the future from a solid continuity of tradition. The students and the parishioners see the Church and the School as a family, an idea the founders began many years ago and would be proud to see sustained and enriched today.