The Guardian Catholic School is the result of the merger of two Northside schools: St. Pius V, with 215 students, and Holy Rosary, with 198. St. Pius was founded in 1921 by the Sisters of St. Joseph to educate African American students in Jacksonville. Holy Rosary was founded in 1958. The high school graduation rate of the schools between is 95 and 100 percent and most of the graduates go on to higher education.
Guardian has twice the capacity of the former individual schools and offers an early learning program for 3- and 4-year-olds and two classes for each grade level through eighth grade.
The new campus has the latest in technology, a STEM lab, art and music areas and something that neither school had before – a gymnasium.
Construction was completed in phases to minimize disruption to the Holy Rosary students and professional staff. Notre Dame Sister Dianne Rumschlag, executive director of education, said the schools have been an important presence on the Northside of Jacksonville.
“When you look at the notion of breaking the cycle of poverty, there’s no better way to do it than education. You direct the course of a person’s life with education. A quality Catholic education nurtures students’ faith-life and teaches them to be productive citizens,” Sister Dianne said. “That is a lifelong gift.”
“People have always recognized the schools as the presence of the Catholic Church,” Sister Dianne said. “When we make this kind of financial investment, it shows the people who live here that we have that much confidence in the community.”