Academy of the Holy Cross

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Academy of the Holy Cross
Academy of the Holy Cross at Night.jpg
4920 Strathmore Avenue


United States
Coordinates39°2′0″N 77°5′53″W / 39.03333°N 77.09806°W / 39.03333; -77.09806Coordinates: 39°2′0″N 77°5′53″W / 39.03333°N 77.09806°W / 39.03333; -77.09806
TypePrivate, College Preparatory
MottoCourage, compassion, and scholarship
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
(Sisters of the Holy Cross)
CEEB code210678
PresidentKathleen R. Prebble
PrincipalMelissa Huey-Burns
Enrollment475 (2017)
Campus size28-acre (110,000 m2)
Campus typeSuburban
Color(s)Lavender and White         
Athletics conferenceWashington Catholic Athletic Conference
Team nameTartans
RivalOur Lady of Good Counsel
AccreditationMiddle States Association of Colleges and Schools[1]
National ranking1
PublicationImages (Literary Magazine)
YearbookCross and Anchor
Admissions DirectorMeredith Gobbi

The Academy of the Holy Cross is a Catholic college preparatory school sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross and founded in 1868. The Academy is located on a 28-acre (110,000 m2) campus in Kensington, Maryland, north of Washington, D.C.


The Academy of the Holy Cross was founded in 1868, with support from St. Matthew’s parish in the District of Columbia, to promote the education of young women in the ideals expressed by Father Moreau. For the first few years, the Academy’s facilities were temporary and shared with St. Matthew’s parish school. The Academy grew rapidly, and by 1877, the newly arrived superior, Sister Mary LaSalette, realized that a permanent building able to handle the growing number of students had become essential. Soon a lot adjacent to Thomas Circle, at 1312 Massachusetts Avenue, NW was secured. Students and faculty moved in early in 1879. Holy Cross’s position as a preeminent school for young women in Washington was clear by the mid-1880s, and by that time the Academy had gained a new superior, Sister Mary Angelica. Sister Angelica was to guide Holy Cross for three decades, until well into the Twentieth Century. She oversaw not only the growth and development of the curriculum, but the planning and construction of the Academy’s expansion into a more suitable location on Upton Street, NW, west of Rock Creek Park and one block from Connecticut Avenue. In 1898, the campus was renovated to allow room for boarding students and the continuously increasing number of applications led the school to lease a nearby property as an annex.

By the beginning of the 20th century, Holy Cross had outgrown its campus. The school bought a large unused estate west of Rock Creek Park on Dunbarton Heights in 1904. This site had no water, sewage service, gas or electricity which delayed building until 1909. In June 1910, the academy’s new structure was finished, and housed Holy Cross until the mid-1950s.

In 1943, the Sisters of the Holy Cross purchased a large parcel of land in Kensington. By 1953 the Upton Street School was no longer adequate. In 1956 the academy moved to Kensington, Maryland, its present home. The gymnasium was added in 1966.

In November 2001, AHC broke ground for an Arts & Sciences building and Theatre. The addition, which connects to the old building, was opened for the beginning of the 2003-2004 school year. The new wing, which nearly doubles the learning space available for the students, include classrooms, labs, art studios, rehearsal rooms and a 399-seat Theatre.

In 2010, the Academy became an approved International Baccalaureate (IB) school.

Notable alumnae[edit]


  1. ^ MSA-CSS. "MSA-Commission on Secondary Schools". Archived from the original on 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  2. ^ Helen Hayes with Katherine Hatch (1990). My Life in Three Acts. Thorndike, Maine: Thorndike. pp. 22–23. ISBN 9781560540519.
  3. ^ Kenneth Barrow (1985). Helen Hayes, First Lady of the American Theater. Garden City, New York: Doubleday. pp. 25, 204. ISBN 9780385231961.
  4. ^ Helena Andrews-Dyer (January 14, 2016). "Supermodel and Maryland native Hilary Rhoda sues mom and former manager". The Washington Post.

External links[edit]