Community comes together to celebrate 100 years of St. Ann Catholic School

Bishop Gerald Barbarito leads centennial celebration at oldest school in Diocese of Palm Beach
'Celebrating 100 Years of Catholic Education' sign outside St. Ann Catholic School, Jan. 25, 2023
Posted at 3:15 PM, Jan 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-25 19:28:45-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A special celebration took place Wednesday at St. Ann Catholic School, marking 100 years of education and tradition.

St. Ann is one of those landmarks in West Palm Beach that's engrained in the city.

Alumni, parents, school staff and students celebrated the milestone anniversary Wednesday.

A packed gymnasium watched Bishop Gerald Barbarito lead the school's ceremony.

Bishop Gerald Barbarito leads prayer at 100-year celebration of St. Ann Catholic School, Jan. 25, 2023
Bishop Gerald Barbarito leads attendees of a 100-year celebration at St. Ann Catholic School in a prayer, Jan. 25, 2023, in downtown West Palm Beach, Fla.

The oldest school in the Diocese of Palm Beach has an enrollment of about 300 students.

WPTV spoke with parents and even longtime teachers who reflected on the school's history.

Susan McGhie taught at St. Ann for 35 years.

Susan McGhie, taught at St. Ann Catholic School for 35 years
Susan McGhie, who attended the centennial celebration, says she taught at St. Ann Catholic School for 35 years.

"It's very special for something to have lasted 100 years," she said. "I mean, there were some years where enrollment wasn't up, and we were worried we might have to close. But we've always made it through."

Laura Romanello is the parent of an eighth-grade student at St. Ann. She also has two children who attended the school.

Laura Romanello, sent 2 kids to St. Ann Catholic School and has another in 8th grade
Laura Romanello has an eighth-grade student at St. Ann Catholic School. Two of her other children also attended the school.

"Children don't just graduate from this school. They come back," Romanello said. "They either come back to be part of the education or they come back to give and enrich in ways that, you know, the school has given to them."

The school is affiliated with St. Ann Catholic Church, which was where former President John F. Kennedy attended his last mass before his 1963 assassination. It's also a church that had its steeple blown off in the hurricane of 1928.