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- Mount St. Joseph Academy
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The Mount Saint Joseph Academy was a school for girls directed by the Sisters of St. Joseph from 1950 to 1985. It was initially located at Sacred Heart Convent with a mere six students. In 1953, it moved to the newly built Mount St. Joseph convent property, opening in the former Hellmuth Ladies' College and Mount St. Joseph Orphanage building. At this time, there were 26 students but by 1957, this number had grown to 105 students. At this time, 80 girls resided at the school and 25 were day students. In 1958, the Academy was moved to a newly completed wing in the new Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse building.
The mission of the Academy was to provide secondary education for girls in which the Catholic faith was integrated into the curriculum and school life. Students had the option of being day students if they lived in the area or boarders if they came from far away. Students came from across Canada and 10%-15% came from other countries including the West Indies, Mexico, and Hong Kong.
Music was always an important part of life at the Academy, perhaps due to the influence of the St. Joseph’s School of Music which was also run by the Sisters. Students who wished to learn to play musical instruments did so on their own time, usually through the School of Music. They could also volunteer to join the Glee Club, one of the choirs, or the choral group called the Academy Singers which was well-known in the area.
In addition to regular curriculum classes, students were required to sign up for an activity for their enrichment and cultural development. These activities included photography, driving school, typing, fencing, drama, ballet, horseback riding, charm class, scripture study, physical education, crafts, and home economics club.
The Academy closed in 1985, and the wing that it occupied became a guest wing for relatives of hospitalized patients, also run by the Sisters. It is estimated that over the course of 32 years, between 2,000 and 3,000 students received at least part of their high school education at the Academy.
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