Fontbonne Hall Academy

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Fontbonne Hall Academy
9901 Shore Road
Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, New York 11209
Coordinates 40°36′50″N 74°2′11″W / 40.61389°N 74.03639°W / 40.61389; -74.03639Coordinates: 40°36′50″N 74°2′11″W / 40.61389°N 74.03639°W / 40.61389; -74.03639
Type Private
Motto Ex Fide Fortis
(From Faith Comes Strength)
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic;
Sisters of St. Joseph
Established 1937
Principal Mary Ann Spicijaric
Grades 9-12
Gender Girls
Color(s) Navy and Gray         
Slogan Women of faith and vision ... building tomorrow TODAY!
Athletics conference CHSAA Brooklyn-Queens Section
Sports Basketball, Cheer, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Track, Volleyball
Mascot Elephant
Nickname Bonnies
Rival Bishop Kearney Highschool
Accreditation Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools[1]
Newspaper Folio
Yearbook Fountain
Tuition 10,500
Athletic Director Romeo Petric

Fontbonne Hall Academy is an all-girls, private, Roman Catholic high school in Brooklyn. It was established in 1937 by the Sisters of St. Joseph, [2] and is located within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.

Fontbonne Hall Academy is a leader in educating young women.[3] In 2013, in celebration of its 75th year, school leadership noted that throughout its history, Fontbonne have educated nearly 10,000 outstanding women who “have become noted doctors, lawyers, engineers, leaders in business and the arts, educators, mothers and even, like Sister Ita Ford, class of 1957, martyrs for their cause.”[4]

Fontbonne's students predominantly come from southwest Brooklyn, southern Queens and Staten Island.[3]

Notable alumni[edit]


Principal Mary Ann Spicijaric and Assistant Principal Lauriann Wierzbowski are the first lay women leading the school.[5] The leadership team aims to incorporate a STEM curriculum into FHA's academic life, including participation in science research programs, the addition of science Advanced Placement Courses and increased use of technology to meet the demands of Common Core State Standards.[5]

Former principals include Sister Dolores Crepeau and Sister Ann Clancy.


Fontbonne students master a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum, which ensures a 100 percent graduation rate and college enrollment. The Fontbonne graduating class typically earns millions of dollars worth of scholarships each year. The Class of 2013 earned over $20 million in scholarships.[3]

Students may earn a Fontbonne Hall Regents Diploma or Fontbonne Hall Advanced Regents Diploma, which requires eight NYS Regents Exams in English, history, mathematics, science and language.[6]

In recent years, the curriculum was expanded to include courses, such as Forensic Science, Child Development, American Sign Language, and Accounting and Law.[7]

College Prep[edit]

The school offers various Advanced Placement courses, including English Language, English Literature, U.S. History, Calculus, Statistics, Biology, Italian and Spanish.[6] Eligible students can also participate in the St. John’s University College Advantage Program (CAP) to earn college credits.[8] CAP courses include English 12, Religious Studies 12, Italian 4, Spanish 4, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, and Anatomy and Physiology.[9]

Fontbonne provides ongoing guidance and resources during the college application process. Through its Guidance Office, Fontbonne works with senior year students to plan, track and submit all college applications.[10] Also, colleges and universities visit the high school to meet prospective students.[11]

The school encourages students to pursue academic and career interests, as well as self-improvement and community engagement over summers.[12] Students enroll in leadership and pre-college programs at Boston University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Fordham University, Georgetown University, Long Island University, New York University, Stony Brook University and Vassar College.[13]

Fontbonne students also frequently have opportunities to explore career options. At its Career Fair, students can discuss career paths with FHA alumnae, including professionals from JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, NBC Universal, Citigroup, NYC Department of Education and the DEA.[14]

STEM Programs[edit]

Fontbonne continues its tradition of an all-girls education, which is associated with female graduates who are more academically and politically engaged than their female counterparts in coeducational private schools, with a higher likelihood of assuming leadership positions and pursuing careers in male-dominated STEM fields.[15]

Fontbonne students participate in the ACE mentor and Manhattan College engineering programs.[7]

Fontbonne students also recently started participating in a STEM Workshop at CUNY Graduate Center and Techweek NYC.[16][17]

The school is collaborating with St. Francis College and NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering to provide more learning opportunities for students interested in the STEM fields.[18]

Spiritual Life[edit]

Fontbonne’s culture is strongly tied to its Catholic tradition. At school Masses, students and faculty sing the hymn, “The Servant Song,” to express a spirit of service to other members of the Fontbonne family and to the larger community.

Four years of Religious Studies are required, beginning with the Sacred Scriptures in freshman year and ending with a course in Loving Relationships in senior year.[19] Fontbonne students have a day retreat for three years and an overnight retreat in their last year.[20]

School Masses are held for major holidays, including Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as to celebrate Catholic feast days, such as the Feast of St. Joseph.[20] Monsignor Robert Romano is Fontbonne’s chaplain and pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.[4]


Fontbonne maintains the small school environment through competitive enrollment and small class size. Maximum enrollment for each of the four years is about 120 young women. Students are assigned to a faculty advisor or FA and the homeroom led by the FA for four years. The faculty advisor develops a relationship with each student and works to actively discuss the student’s problems, achievements, interests and goals.[6]

Fontbonne welcomes prospective students to an annual Open House and to visit the school during a “Buddy Day.”[3]

During the Open House and at assemblies throughout the school year, the 1980s sitcom Cheers’ theme song, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” is played to emphasize the close-knit academic environment.



Due to the small class size for each year, the school fosters strong relationships among the student body. Each year, incoming freshmen are paired with senior students or “Senior Sisters,” who mentor new students during the first year of high school.

There is an annual competition among the four years called "Sports Night." Each year selects a theme, which shapes a series of athletic and performative components, including gymnastics, dance, a skit and an original song, that are scored by a panel of judges to win the overall competition. The tradition is nearly 50 years old with nearly 80 percent of all students participating in at least one aspect of Sports Night.[18]

One new tradition is the “Senior Sunrise,” in which the senior class gathers to watch the sunrise on Shore Road in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn on the first day of school.[5]


Each year, the senior class is required to wear white gowns, white shoes and elbow-length white gloves, which are brought to school and pre-approved for appropriateness of length, cut and color by the principal before graduation day.[21]


Fontbonne students often attend the school with a Fontbonne legacy in their family. Fontbonne celebrates the intergenerational tradition, especially among mothers and daughters. Faculty and school leadership also have strong roots at Fontbonne. Assistant Principal and former Fontbonne mathematics teacher, Mrs. King, is a graduate of the school, as well as her two sisters, four nieces and other female relatives.[22]


Fontbonne offers a wide variety of sports. The school is known for its outstanding basketball, softball, volleyball, and soccer teams who have been champions in their divisions for the last four years. Fontbonne also has a competitive cheerleading team. Four out of 10 students are on athletic teams that compete on the local and state levels.[7]

The first Fontbonne student was named to the All-New York City girls' volleyball team selection by MSG Varsity in 2013.[23]


  1. ^ MSA-CSS. "MSA-Commission on Secondary Schools". Archived from the original on 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2009-05-27.
  2. ^ FHA. "Fontbonne-71 Years of Excellence". Fontbonne Hall Academy website. Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
  3. ^ a b c d "Welcome to Fontbonne". Fontbonne Hall Academy.
  4. ^ a b "Fontbonne Closes Observance of 75 Years". The Tablet.
  5. ^ a b c "First Lay Leaders Guide Fontbonne Hall Academy". The Tablet.
  6. ^ a b c "School Handbook 2013-2014" (PDF). Fontbonne Hall Academy.
  7. ^ a b c Romano, Denise. "Changes in leadership at Fontbonne Hall". The Home Reporter and Sunset News.
  8. ^ "Course Selection Book: Academic Year 2014-2015" (PDF). Fontbonne Hall Academy.
  9. ^ "College Advantage Program" (PDF). Fontbonne Hall Academy.
  10. ^ "Application Collection Process" (PDF). Fontbonne Hall Academy.
  11. ^ "College Visits" (PDF). Fontbonne Hall Academy.
  12. ^ "For Fontbonne Hall students, a summer of service and studies".
  13. ^ "Summer Enrichment Programs" (PDF). Fontbonne Hall Academy.
  14. ^ McGoldrick, Meaghan. "Bonnies prepare for real world at Career Fair". The Home Reporter and Sunset News.
  15. ^ "Why Choose a Same-Sex High School?". Fontbonne Hall Academy.
  16. ^ "STEM Workshop at CUNY Graduate Center". Fontbonne Hall Academy.
  17. ^ "Techweek NYC Launch Expo". Fontbonne Hall Academy.
  18. ^ a b "March Parent Newsletter" (PDF). Fontbonne Hall Academy.
  19. ^ "Departments and Course Offerings". Fontbonne Hall Academy.
  20. ^ a b "Campus Ministry". Fontbonne Hall Academy.
  21. ^ Winerip, Michael. "Strict but Trusted, Nun Who Leads Girls' School Is Irreplaceable". The New York Times.
  22. ^ Katinas, Paula. "For Bay Ridge's Gilda King, Fontbonne Hall is a family tradition". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
  23. ^ Puccini Tugander, Juliette. "Fontbonne Bonnies explore legal careers". The Home Reporter and Sunset News.

External links[edit]