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History of Saint Lawrence Elementary School
What follows is a brief synopsis of the history of the school.
In August, 1956, the late Archbishop Joseph P. Hurley, Bishop of St. Augustine, announced the establishment of St. Lawrence Parish, North Miami Beach. For several months, a temporary chapel and classroom facilities were provided in a vacant store on 163rd Street. With the assistance of Monsignor Rowan Rastatter, then Pastor of Holy Family Parish, a four classroom portable school building was completed on our grounds in February, 1957. That building later became the school cafeteria, and currently houses the St. Lawrence Child Care . At that time, Father Hubert J. Sweeney, C. P. was appointed Pastor pro-tem, and the school was under the direction of the Benediction Sisters, with Sister Rosanna, O. S. B. as principal.
In 1960, Bishop Carroll dedicated the new St. Lawrence Church, School, and Convent.
The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary moved into the convent, and for the next twelve years, conducted St. Lawrence School.
In 1971, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary left St. Lawrence School, and the Rev. Vincent J. Sheehy, Pastor of St. Lawrence, invited the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, from Monroe, Michigan to become established in the parish. The school had a non – Catholic, lay principal, Mrs. Blanche Freeman for a time, and the Sisters, at the request of Fr. Sheehy, took on the task of teaching religion in the school and in the C.C.D. Program.
Two years later, in 1973, one of the sisters became principal, and by 1975, the school had once again taken on the characteristics of a parochial school. Monsignor Francis Fazzalaro was Pastor, and Sr. Frances Papp, as principal, led the initial accreditation of the school in 1976.
Mrs. Dian Smith Lopez Hyatt, who was a long time teacher and assistant principal at St. Lawrence, became principal in 1997. She lead the school in this capacity for over forty years, encouraging a spirit of harmony not only among the diverse population of the school, but also among the parish entities.
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