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Saint Catherine Academy had its beginning in the little school that was started on the first floor of the Sisters of Mercy Convent the day after their first arrival in Belize on January 20, 1883. Those first missionaries were accomplished women from New Orleans, Louisiana, who provided quality education from the start, a tradition that faculties down through the century have continued to preserve. Their pupils did well in the “Exhibition,” public oral examinations of the early days. Besides the regular school subjects of religion, reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, history, and nature study, there were also lessons in fine sewing, drama, and music—instrumental and choral.

In the 1912-1919 era mention is made of the senior and junior classes. As early as 1910, there were lessons in typewriting on the new Oliver machine and an entry in the Annual speaks of Mother Stanislaus again resuming her stenography class.

From the turn of the century, Saint Catherine Academy had been taking boarders, girls from the districts and the neighboring republics. There were fifty boarders when all the buildings at Saint Catherine Academy campus were demolished in the devastating hurricane of 1931. Miraculously, no lives were lost. When classes could be resumed, they were held in a nearby house that had survived the hurricane. By January 1934, the sisters had moved into a new wooden building that had classroom space. The convent school was reorganized into Saint Catherine Academy, a high school that had an emphasis on preparation for the Cambridge exams and Saint Catherine Elementary. During the latter part of World War II, external exams were discontinued, as examination papers were being lost in torpedoed ships.

When the three-story high school building was completed in 1960, it included a biology lab, and a home economics room, two subjects that were added to the curriculum. The institution kept growing, and a new building containing three more classrooms, and well-equipped biology and Chemistry labs was constructed in 1970.

Today Saint Catherine has a student body of approximately 500 students. The administration of the school passed on from Sr. Maria Caritas Lawrence, RSM in 1995 to its first lay principal, Mrs. Alice Castillo. The current principal is Mrs. Salome Terry Tillett. The faculty includes sisters of mercy, as well as lay teachers and staff. All are dedicated to promoting the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical welfare of each student.

This academy exists to assist young Christian women to achieve their potential. Ever mindful of the ultimate goal of humankind, Saint Catherine Academy prepares her students to live and spread the gospel message, and to make a positive contribution to society.

The College operates under a Board of Governors, which is responsible for the management of its business and academic affairs in accordance with the mission of the Sisters of Mercy.
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