History of Saint Lawrence Elementary School
What follows is a brief synopsis of the history of the school. 

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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.
 

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In 1960, Bishop Carroll dedicated the new St. Lawrence Church, School, and Convent. 

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. 

The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary moved into the convent, and for the next twelve years, conducted St. Lawrence School.

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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.
 

Sr. Gabrieline Wagener, Sr. Jane Shea, and Sr. Carolyn Dowd directed the school through the next decade of growth and improvement with dedication and commitment.
Fr. Roger Holoubek, Pastor brought changes to the parish and school when he renovated the church and parish hall in the 1980’s.  Mr. Joseph Greenwell served as principal of the school from 1987 through 1992, during which time he inspired both strong parent involvement and a loving community spirit.

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The school crest, which was the winning design submitted by middle school student Manny Occhiogrosso in a school-wide competition, was incorporated into the school letterhead at this time. 

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During Mr. Greenwell’s administration, the St. Lawrence Child Care Center, a pre-school, was established.  This facility has always been operated separately from the elementary   school,  following  HRS  guidelines.   The  first  director, Mrs. MaryAnn Hines was succeeded by Mrs. Iliana Medolla, who is the current director. 
The St. Lawrence Child Care Center serves as a feeder for the St. Lawrence kindergarten.

 

Miss Rita Grannen  brought  her extensive experience and  administrative expertise to St. Lawrence as principal from 1992 through  1995,   leading  the  school  through   its next  re-accreditation,  and  continuing  emphasis  on  the development  of  the  whole  child. 

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Mrs. Virginia Hutton, a spiritual principal  dedicated to growth  and excellence, led  the school for the next two years, through 1997.

Mrs. Dian Smith Lopez Hyatt, who was a long time teacher and assistant principal at St. Lawrence, became principal in 1997.  She has continued to lead the school in this capacity for over ten 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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The standards for professionalism, and the school’s sense of pride,  fostered under this administration, are evidenced by the school’s motto, “where faith and learning grow hand in hand,” which was created by the eighth grade during the 2000-01 accreditation. The school prides itself on its academic excellence, provided in a caring, family-centered atmosphere.