In 1966 Archbishop Ryan High School for Girls opened its doors to students from 11 neighboring parishes. Initially, the school housed only 2 grades (9th and 10th) but in the next 2 years, the building was filled with 4 classes. The first graduating class was the class of 1969 graduating 364 young women. The first full four-year class, with 432 graduates, was the class of 1970.
The first faculty comprised of lay teachers and religious women from 5 different religious communities. Reverend Edmund Wesolowski, a diocesan priest, was the founding principal.
The school colors were purple and gold and the Ragdoll was the school mascot.
Academically, there were 9 subject areas with most departments offering elective courses. Home Economics was the only department that did not survive the merger and was disbanded in 1989.
Two key social activities were the Proms. The Junior Prom was held in the school gym, which was transformed into a student selected theme and decorated by members of the junior class. The Senior Prom was held at an outside facility. A highlight of the fall was the annual Halloween Dance where faculty and students came costumed for a night of fun and games.
A variety of extracurricular clubs and activities to get the students involved in their school and their community were available The clubs ranged from the Equestrian Club to Community Service Corps, to the Sewing Club, and many others.
In 1966, our sports program consisted of 8 interscholastic sports. Just prior to the merger, 2 additional sports became part of the girls’ athletic program. Intramural basketball allowed students who did not make the varsity team to participate in competition against other classes. School spirit was observable at all extracurricular events with the gym and auditorium overflowing and buses to away games filled to capacity.
The biggest event of the school year started out as a “Spirit Day” and evolved into “Spirit Week”. Spirit Week began with Intramural basketball games. At week’s end students presented a parody skit and the week culminated in a faculty-student basketball game.
Spiritually, liturgical and para-liturgical services were offered including Masses, May Procession, Retreats, 40 Hours, Liturgical Dances, Share-a-Prayer club, and Sacristy Aides.
Each year in January during Catholic Schools Week a luncheon was organized with students, faculty, and staff shared their favorite ethnic foods.
The involvement and interaction of faculty and students in school activities cultivated a caring bond and close knit rapport. To this day, the Ryan Girls Alumnae ’69 to ’89 fondly remember their school as a vibrant and spirited community where leadership opportunities flourished, academic courses challenged, spiritual activities enriched, and extracurricular activities invited them to grow and develop into the best young Christian women they could be.