Immaculate Conception School Celebrates 125 years!
The story of Immaculate Conception School begins in August of 1887 when Archbishop Gibbons appointed Reverend Matthew O’Keefe the pastor of what was then St. Francis (now Immaculate Conception) Church. Father O’Keefe had been stationed in Norfolk, Virginia before arriving in Towson. He was by no means a young man. Though in his sixtieth year he had the zeal, fervor and drive that we usually seek in men of lesser years. He was a visionary who labored to build a Church large enough to supply the needs of the fast-growing population of Towson. He quickly realized that a Catholic school was first in the order of importance. Undaunted by the fact that he had neither the building, the teachers, nor the funds; he announced that the school would be ready in September of the same year. He was successful in procuring two teaching Sisters from the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The Church basement was ready into two classrooms and on September 19, 1887, St. Francis school opened with an enrollment of 15 pupils. Interest in the school grew and by the end of the year 46 pupils were arriving daily.
When the Church and School changed their names from St. Francis to Immaculate Conception? The parish was established in 1886 under the patronage of St. Francis and so remained until the erection and dedication of the new Church, which received its new title from Father O’Keefe himself. Father O’Keefe had a great devotion to Our Blessed Mother. The Church is almost an exact copy of the Church in Norfolk, Va. of which he had been pastor. When that Church burned down in 1856, the only item to survive the blaze was a statue of the Blessed Mother. Father O’Keefe rebuilt the Church and named it St. Mary’s of the Immaculate Conception. When his new Church in Towson was dedicated, he named it and the school Immaculate Conception.
Father O’Keefe died in 1906. His successor, Father Sheridan was keenly interested in education and was deeply concerned about the parish school. Realizing the need for a new and larger grade school, he laid his plans accordingly. Fundraisers were organized and support was rallied. Father Sheridan built a new school. On November 5, 1922 the new school building was dedicated by Archbishop Curley. The school building was expanded to twice its size in 1929 and enjoyed a third modest expansion took place in the late 1940’s. The School Sisters of St. Francis assumed charge of the school in August of 1926 and have remained an integral part of the school to this day.
Fast forward to the present day and Father Joe Barr is the pastor of the Church and School. Mrs. Madeline Meaney is the current Principal of Immaculate Conception School. The school has an enrollment of 575 students in grades Preschool through grade 8. Celebrations will take place throughout the school year. Open house for the middle school program will take place on October 12 with the grand open house on November 15.
When asked about this exciting anniversary year ICS principal, Mrs. Meaney said, “We are continuing to carry the tradition of academic excellence, in a faith based environment. But we are constantly changing and growing to prepare our young people for the 21st Century. We are excited about the future.”
ICS has placed an increased emphasis in the areas of math and science and are integrating technology in their instruction to better prepare students. Last year each classroom was equipped with Smartboard technology which is an interactive “blackboard” allowing students and teachers to provide hands-on learning. This year, video technology is being introduced to launch student based school news broadcasts. Robotics Club is another exciting program being offered this year. Computer teacher, Christine Engbert said, “ It’s a chance for students in grades 4 through 8 to experience using this technology. We will be using LEGO MINDSTORM ROBOTS.”
Immaculate Conception school is proud to be a Green School and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) school. According to Mrs. Meaney, “Parents can be extremely confident in their choice of Immaculate Conception school to educate their children. We strive, every day, to nurture the mind, heart and spirit, of each of our students.”
If you are interested in attending an Open House, please contact us at 410-427-4801.