Our Mission & History
Nazareth Academy High School is a Catholic, private, fully accredited college preparatory school for young women, sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
Embracing faith, family, and education, we challenge each student to attain her full potential academically, spiritually, and personally.
While focusing on service to God and community, Nazareth Academy High School provides a rigorous academic curriculum and varied extracurricular activities that inspire each student to achieve academic excellence and become a life-long learner in a global society.
The administration, faculty, and staff of Nazareth Academy High School, is committed to upholding our school’s values.
- Each student is a valued individual with unique gifts and passions.
- Students learn in different ways, promoting a variety of instructional practices and learning activities to address these differences.
- Administrators, faculty and staff share the responsibility with students and parents for supporting the mission of the school.
- Challenging expectations inspire the individual student to achieve high personal and academic goals.
The environment at Nazareth Academy High School is rich in Catholic tradition and values. Our students begin each day with daily prayer and they are encouraged to share their special intentions with their classmates. Our entire school community gathers together in our chapel to celebrate liturgical masses and prayer services. Opportunities abound for students to practice their faith by joining the Liturgy Team and Choir Connection. Students can also participate in school Masses as altar servers, lectors and liturgical dancers.
The faculty and staff inspire our students to live their faith and develop their spirituality on a daily basis. This begins with the eight course theology program and is reinforced through class retreats, social awareness clubs and community service. Qualities such as respect, love and acceptance permeate the student’s educational experiences as we shape Catholic girls into Catholic women.
Nazareth Academy High School began with the prayers of Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd, Foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. She wanted to establish a convent in Philadelphia where Our Lord could be continually adored. While on a train ride to visit Mother Katharine Drexel in 1893, Sister Mary Frances gazed at the land near the Torresdale Station saying, “Here I should like to see a house of Nazareth established for the perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament”. Her vision was fulfilled on December 6, 1920 when the deed of the twenty-three acre Middleton Estate was signed by Mother M. Valentine. Four years later, the Sisters purchased the adjoining property. Planning began for a building that would serve as a provincial home, a novitiate and a high school. The groundbreaking ceremony was conducted on April 24, 1927. Construction on the impressive Holmesburg granite building commenced. On August 15, 1928, the first Eucharistic Liturgy was celebrated in the new Chapel by the Chaplain, Reverend Stephen Wyborski. The new building quickly became a hub of activity. On August 21, 1928 fifty postulants were invested and the novitiate was canonically established. Thirty novices from the Chicago province arrived to complete their second year of their novitiate. Classrooms and living quarters were furnished. The dream of the late Mother Mary Frances had become a reality. His Eminence Dennis Cardinal Dougherty dedicated the building on Oct. 7, 1928.
Nazareth Academy High School’s first Principal, Sister M. Neomisia, welcomed ten students in the fall of 1928. Their teachers, Mother M. Lawrence, Sister M. Felicia and Sister M. Pius, created an atmosphere of academic excellence in which the girls would be prepared for their future as Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. The objective of the school administration was to “fit the individual as best as humanly possible for the great work of a teacher in Christ’s Church”. From the beginning, the academic program of the high school was college preparatory. Orchestra, dramatics, glee club and journalism complemented the curriculum.