About Archbishop Curley Notre-Dame High School
We offer students in grades 9 through 12 a college preparatory curriculum in a Catholic environment based upon Judeo-Christian principles.
By word and practice, interaction and experience, we foster acceptance and appreciation of different cultural, religious, and economic backgrounds, preparing each person to be a responsible, involved, and compassionate citizen in a global society.
Founded in Faith
From the founding of Archbishop Curley High School and Notre Dame Academy in 1953-54 and through their eventual merger in 1981, ACND has been enriched by the educational traditions and charism of the Priests of the Archdiocese of St. Augustine and Miami, by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Brothers of the Holy Cross.
Since 1975 the Archdiocese of Miami has entrusted the administration of the school to the Congregation of Christian Brothers.
A Fighting Irishman
Michael Joseph Curley was born in Athlone, Ireland, on October 12, 1879, one of eleven children. He graduated from the Royal University of Dublin. Ordained a Catholic priest in Rome in 1903, he was sent to Florida for his first pastoral assignment. Fr. Curley was consecrated as the Bishop of St. Augustine, Florida, in 1914. The diocese encompassed all of South Florida, including Miami. In his seven years as bishop, he oversaw the building of 40 new Catholic churches. Under his tenure, the Catholic population of Florida grew from 39,000 to 41,000. During that time he spent eight months a year traveling though his diocese visiting parishes.
In 1921, Bishop Curley was transferred to Baltimore, the oldest Catholic diocese in the United States. In 1939, he was also named the first Archbishop of Washington, D.C. He served as archbishop of both cities until his death in 1957.
As Bishop of St. Augustine, Curley had to confront both the Jim Crow Laws and widespread anti-Catholicism. He was an outspoken critic of the gubernatorial candidate whose campaign promises included pledges to abolish the confessional and to appoint no Catholics to office.
The Sisters of St. Joseph had first come to Florida in 1865 to minister to former slaves. One aspect of this service was education, such as the parish school of St. Benedict the Moor, in St. Augustine. In 1916, three Sisters of St. Joseph were arrested for violating the recently enacted state law which prohibited white women from teaching in “negro schools.” The three women were arrested by order of the governor. The principal was held in prison, while the other two sisters were released on bond. Bishop Curley led a vocal public campaign on behalf of the sisters. Largely due to his efforts, the law was declared unconstitutional, and the sisters were acquitted.
In 1953, responding to the new educational needs and very conscious of the historic contributions of Archbishop Curley and the school Sisters of St. Joseph, Archbishop Joseph Hurley of St. Augustine, Florida, established two new Catholic high schools in South Florida:
Archbishop Curley High School for boys and Notre Dame Academy for girls. The first students arrived that year.
Archbishop Curley High School was administered by diocesan priests from 1953 to1959 and again from 1970 to 1985.
Notre Dame Academy was staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Augustine from 1953 to1959. From 1959 to1981, the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary served as administrators of Notre Dame.
Growth in Inclusiveness
In 1960, Curley High School and Notre Dame Academy admitted their first African-American students. By contrast, the Dade County public schools were not fully integrated—by federal court order—until 1970. Curley and Note Dame were the first high schools in the state of Florida to integrate and the first Catholic schools to do so in the Southern United States.
Throughout the 1970s, Archbishop Curley High School received increasing numbers of female students. At first, the sisters of Curley students were admitted. Gradually, this policy was extended to other female relatives of Curley’s male students. In 1981, Curley High School and Notre Dame Academy merged. The principal of Curley High School remained as principal of the new high school. The newly formed Archbishop Curley-Notre Dame High School was located on the grounds of Curley High School. Both students and faculty were united in the merger. The former principal of Notre Dame joined the administration of ACND as Dean of Girls. She assisted female students in the transition.
The Charism of the Christian Brothers
In 1984, the Brothers of the Congregation of Christian Brothers arrived at ACND. The Christian Brothers have administered the school since 1985, in fidelity to the charism and example of Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice.
Through the decades, ACND has been a place where young people of different cultures and ethnicities have learned to know one another in friendship as children of God. The ACND family strives to be a model of justice and harmony to South Florida, in gratitude for this gift of God.
A Chosen Future
As ACND enters its 51st year, the school community faces a number of significant transitions: new leadership, a changing neighborhood, and facilities in the process of restructuring to accommodate a technologically enhanced curriculum addressing the educational requirements and talents of a richly diversified student population.
After three months in his new position, Br. Moffett wrote to the alumni/ae:
The Renaissance of the Miami Design District has had a marked impact on the area surrounding ACND. The neighborhood has again become a location of choice. As the District expands north, the real estate market is discovering the architectural richness of the houses of the area surrounding the school.
But even more significant for the school are the enhanced opportunities for curriculum enrichment being developed in the District and along the 2nd Avenue corridor to the Center City. ACND looks to an expanding set of potential partners in the development of offerings addressing the artistic, athletic and cultural pursuits of students seeking to develop ever more fully their God given talents and interests.
RICE – Elements of a Christian Brother Education
A Christian Brother education: