In 1863, Father John Tanzer, the pastor of St. Patrick’s Church, established a three-room school in a white shingled bungalow at 417 97th Street. Despite the hardships of the Civil War, the first Catholic school in the area flourished. A permanent brick building was dedicated and in use by 1877. That same year, Sister Regina Herbert led a small band of Sisters of St. Dominic to the “wilds” of rural Yellow Hook (now known as Bay Ridge). Dominican sisters taught at St. Patrick for the next 126 years.
St. Patrick’s grew and a larger, two-story structure was built in 1902. That building was soon full so during the Depression years yet another larger building was dedicated on 95th Street. In the late 1950s, a second school building was completed on 97th Street to house a gymnasium, auditorium and an additional 10 classrooms. During the 1950-1960s, St. Patrick’s enrollment reached close to 1,300 students. The school filled two buildings and a brave 29 sisters taught in its classrooms.
Today’s St. Patrick’s is housed at the 97th Street building. Lay faculty now take the place of the Dominican sisters. The ideals of Sister Herbert and the Dominican order remain the guiding principles of St. Patrick’s. More about the Sisters of St. Dominic
St. Patrick became a Catholic Academy in 2013 as part of Preserving the Vision, the strategic plan for Catholic education in the Diocese of Brooklyn.