Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School

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Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School
Visitation1.jpg
Founder's Hall, the main academic building
Fides et Scientia
(Latin: Faith and Science)
Address
1524 35th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC, 20007
United States
Coordinates 38°54′34″N 77°4′9″W / 38.90944°N 77.06917°W / 38.90944; -77.06917Coordinates: 38°54′34″N 77°4′9″W / 38.90944°N 77.06917°W / 38.90944; -77.06917
Information
Type Private High School
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic (Visitandines)
Founded 1799
President Sr. Mary Berchmans Hannan
Dean Sue Forman
Headmaster Daniel M. Kerns, Jr.
Grades 912
Gender Female
Enrollment approximately 475
Student to teacher ratio 13:1
Campus Urban, 45 acres (0.18 km2)
Song Cor Jesu
Athletics 21 teams
Athletics conference Independent School League
Sports 13 sports
Mascot The Gold Team Tigers
The White Team Bears
Team name The Cubs
Accreditation Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools[1]
Affiliation Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary
Website
This article is about an establishment in Washington, D.C., formerly known as the Convent and Academy of the Visitation. For the establishment with an identical historic name located in Alabama, see Visitation Monastery.

Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School was founded in Washington, DC in 1799 as the Georgetown Academy for Young Ladies. It was also formally referred to as the Convent and Academy of the Visitation. Since 1799, the school has continued for over 200 years as a college preparatory school for women. Visitation is the second oldest, continually run all-girls school in the United States.[citation needed] It is a member of the Independent School League. Modern school literature states that their curriculum is rooted in the virtues of faith, vision, and purpose. Visitation currently enrolls approximately 450 students in the ninth through twelfth grades. Visitation is a Catholic school originally guided by the Visitation Sisters, but the school community includes many students and faculty who are not of the Roman Catholic faith.

History[edit]

The Visitation Convent, Georgetown was founded at the request of Archbishop Leonard Neale, president of Georgetown College, with Teresa Lalor.[2] The Visitation order is Salesian, basing its spirituality on the teachings of Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Jane Frances de Chantal. One of St. Francis’s central teachings is, “Be who you are and be that well.” A second teaching still imparted to the students of Visitation is, “Nothing is so strong as gentleness and nothing so gentle as real strength.” While the Sisters of the Visitation no longer teach the majority of classes at the school, they maintain an active presence in daily life there by teaching homeroom, participating in school events, and reaching out to students and their families.

The convent and school at Georgetown Visitation have been active participants in the history of Washington, DC. When it was still illegal to teach a slave to read, the Sisters of the Visitation opened a Saturday school where they would offer a free education to any young girl who wished to learn. Both free blacks and slaves learned at the Visitation convent. During the War of 1812, the Visitation campus was used as a hospital for soldiers wounded when the British set fire to the city of Washington. The walls and corridors of Founders Hall display the family heirlooms and portraits that were given to the school in lieu of tuition payment during the hard economic times of the American Civil War, World War I and World War II.

Fire and rebuilding[edit]

On July 8–9, 1993, a fire destroyed the historic main academic building of the campus, Founders Hall, causing an initially estimated $3.5 million in damages.[3] Trailers were brought in to serve as temporary classrooms in time for the start of the 1994 academic year. Founders Hall was rededicated on May 5, 1995.[4] Since then, the campus has been revitalized with the Catharine E. Nolan Center for the Performing Arts and the Sarah and Charles T. Fisher Athletic Center completed for the bicentennial of the school in 1999, and the renovation of both St. Joseph’s Hall and the St. Bernard Library in 2002 and 2003.

Student life[edit]

Located on more than 45 acres (180,000 m2) of land in the heart of Georgetown, Washington, DC, the Visitation campus offers its students state-of-the art academic, sports, and performing arts facilities. Students enroll in a wide variety of Advanced Placement courses and 100 percent of Visitation students attend college. Students play on a wide variety of athletic teams, including lacrosse, field hockey, soccer, tennis, basketball, track, cross country, swimming and diving, and crew. The Visitation Masqueraders mount musical and theatrical productions each year in the Catharine E. Nolan Center for the Performing Arts. There is also a Dance Ensemble, Choir, Instrumental Ensemble, and Madrigal Singers and the groups have performed at various events around the city, including in the Kennedy Center’s Christmas program.

There are also many clubs and publications at the school. Student publications include the award-winning student newspaper, The Wicket, the Green Gate yearbook, and also a literary magazine produced and edited by students entitled "The Georgetowner." Students also participate in the Think Pink Society, Model United Nations Club, Kaleidoscope Club, Peer Educators Club, and Black Women's Society, among others. Students have the opportunity to serve as representatives of the student body in the Student Government Association, Athletic Association, and on the Honor Board, which is charged with ensuring the integrity and of the Visitation Honor Code.

Each graduate performs at least eighty hours of community service, but many students offer hundreds of hours of their time throughout their four years at Visitation. Community service trips take place domestically and abroad. Recent trips have been to Peru, Camden, New Jersey, the poorest city in America, St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia, and an Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Each year, several Georgetown Visitation students also participate in Vistory, a weeklong program of Salesian sisterhood and community service with students from other Visitation schools around the country. Some students make long-term service commitments through tutoring programs with local public schools, Best Buddies, and Saturday School, a program on the Visitation campus. Students also share their community service experiences with their parents through programs like Together for Others, McKenna's Wagon, and Gleaning of the Fields.

Many students participate in the theatre program on campus as well as at the theatre program at Gonzaga College High School. Two shows are performed each year, on average, on the Nolan stage. Director David Nastal and tech director Daniel Goldsmith have created a 1st class program that continues to reinvent itself. While many of the boys who participate in the shows come from Gonzaga College High School, it is not unusual to find boys from such schools at Bishop O'Connell, St. Anselm's Abbey School, and several others.

Traditions[edit]

There are many traditions at Georgetown Visitation. Prior to her first day at Visitation, each student is assigned to either the Gold Team or the White Team. The mascot of the White Team is a bear named Nicodemus, a name that has been a lasting tradition for this team. The Gold Team's mascot is a tiger, officially named Ferdinand in 2010 via a team-wide vote. All family members are assigned to the same team to prevent intra-family strife. Throughout the year, the teams compete to win points through athletic competitions, quiz bowls and canned food drives. Students can also earn points throughout the year by trying out for and participating in sports teams and theatre productions, or by earning academic honors. Faculty and administrators join in, especially for the big fall and spring Gold/White field hockey and basketball games. Other popular Visitation events include Marshmallow Roast (classes come up with their own themed skits "roasting" their teachers, and the first year teachers vote on the winner), Father/Daughter Masses and dances, Grandparents' Day, Diversity Day, Junior Ring Ceremony, Together for Others, Class Retreats, Snowball and Snowflake (winter formal dances).

Visitation traditionally held its graduation ceremonies in the Odeon, an auditorium where John Quincy Adams addressed the graduates of 1828.[3] After the Odeon was destroyed in the fire of Founder's Hall, graduation ceremonies were moved to Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall. Starting with the class of 2005, graduation has been held on Visitation's McNabb Field. Graduates are outfitted in matching white custom-made gowns and process through the historic Green Gate wearing long white gloves and carrying long-stem red roses. One student is elected by her class to give a speech at graduation. [5]

Notable alumnae[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ MSA-CSS. "MSA-Commission on Secondary Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  2. ^ CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: The Visitation Convent (Georgetown)
  3. ^ a b Rosenfeld, Megan (1993-11-20). "What the Flames Couldn't Touch; At Georgetown Visitation, an Enduring History and Faith". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). Retrieved 2009-02-06. 
  4. ^ Sullivan, Eleanore C.; Susan Hannan (2004). Georgetown Visitation Since 1799, second edition. Washington, DC: Georgetown Visitation Monastery. ISBN 0-9705851-2-8. 
  5. ^ Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School:

External links[edit]