Lacordaire Academy Celebrates Centennial Year

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Bishop Manuel A. Cruz, D.D. giving his homily to the students. Photo: Lacordaire Academy

Lacordaire Academy began its Centennial year celebrating “A Century of Faith, Academics, and Character” on October 24th with a Mass said by The Most Reverend Bishop Manuel A. Cruz, D.D. of the Archdiocese of Newark. The Mass, concelebrated by Fr. Marc Viccari, was held on the front lawn of the Upper Montclair Academy under a large tent. The capacity crowd of 500 included over 40 Dominican Sisters, many of whom had taught or served as administrators at Lacordaire.

Lfrom left to right: Megan Mannato (Interim Head of School, resident of Montclair), Elsie Bernauer, OP (Vicaress), Patrice Werner, OP (Prioress), Bishop Manuel A. Cruz, D.D., Fr. Marc Viccari, Eileen Ivory, OP (Councilor), Pat Tavis, OP (Councilor), Kaitltyn Tashjian (Director of Guidance and Campus Ministry) Photo: Lacordaire Academy

Following the Mass, Megan Mannato, Interim Head of School and Nick De Toustain, Director of Development, led the re-dedication of Lacordaire’s administration building. Previously serving as the convent for the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, the Queen Anne Victorian building with 21 bedrooms and distinctive turret, was home to 200 sisters over the past century. Saydi Callahan Keefe, Director of Admissions and artist, created a large cherry blossom painting that was dedicated to the sisters that previously resided in the convent. The building now contains admissions, alumni relations, development, and business offices while its chapel continues to be used for sacramental preparation, and the ground floor serves as the operations center for the Academy’s annual used book sale.

from left to right: Mayor Robert D. Jackson, Joy B. Tolliver, Esq. (current Lacordaire parent), Nick De Toustain (Director of Development), Christine James (President of the Board of Trustees), Robert J. Russo (Councilor at Large). Photo: Lacordaire Academy

During the re-dedication, the convent was renamed “James Hall” in honor of the James family who have consistently provided support in the form of scholarships, donations, and volunteerism for over four decades. Christine James, a graduate of both the elementary and high school and a resident of Montclair, currently serves as the president of the Board of Trustees, and carries on the legacy of giving that started with her parents Norman and the late Veronica James in 1974.

Upper School students singing a hymn. Photo: Lacordaire Academy

This Centennial year will be filled with programs honoring Lacordaire’s past and celebrating its future. A Family Fun Night was held on October 25th for students and their parents that included a movie shown under the big tent for the children, along with food and drink in an outdoor cafe setting for the parents. Future events include the Centennial Gala at The Wilshire Grand on November 16th consisting of an evening of dinner with open bar, dancing, silent auction and an opportunity to see old friends while supporting Lacordaire.

Third Photo: Bishop Manuel A. Cruz, D.D. giving his homily to the students

Fourth Photo: Izabelle Herrera (current sophomore) reciting the Prayer of the Faithful

Fifth Photo: Upper School students singing a hymn

Sixth Photo: Brandon Rivera (current third grader)

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