Saint Benedict’s School
Saint Benedict’s School is a Catholic school that teaches elementary through middle school grades. The school is located on the corner of Grove Avenue and Belmont Avenue in the historic museum district of Richmond. The school was named after St. Benedict, who studied in Rome but became dismayed by the lack of discipline and commitment of his fellow students. He subsequently founded the monastery at Monte Cassino, where he wrote the Rule of his order, the summation of which is “Pray and work.” The building was established in 1919 and originally was a convent for nuns. Students began taking classes in the convent, which was later moved for the proposed school building. The school opened in 1923 as the parochial school of Saint Benedict Church. In order to make room for the growing student body, the school built an addition in 1949.
The school’s curriculum comes from the Richmond Diocese which controls all other catholic school curriculums in Richmond. The current principal classifies the school tradition and curriculum as a more classical methodology, because the Diocese has an extremely traditional curriculum. St. Benedict’s is recognized by the Virginia Department of Education and is accredited by the Virginia Council for Private Education. The majority of students move on to Catholic high school at either Saint Gertrude’s or Benedictine High school. The student body is ethnically and culturally diverse.
The school has built it’s foundation around Catholic traditions as part of the child’s academic, social, and spiritual life. There are twelve certified teachers and five part-time certified teachers. Saint Benedict’s offers a full, traditional academic curriculum of language arts, math, science, social studies, and religion. Some of the school’s extra curricular activities include classroom plays, field trips to local art and history museums, and community service projects. There is also a sponsored after school program for students. Other community and school orientated activities include Arts in the Alley, an art show where money is donated to the church and school. Each year the Parish throws an Octoborfest in September to raise money for both the school and church. The children sing Christmas carols around Carytown each year. The students also are involved in producing and serving meals for the homeless.
Each day, the students and staff say a prayer which is usually rotated between the Our Father, Hail Mary, Guardian Angel Prayer, or St. Michael’s Prayer. In the morning, the students, faculty, and staff gather around the American flag and recite the pledge of allegiance. Before the students go to lunch, they recite the Angelous in their classroom in order to participate in a prayer with the Pope, who publically recites this prayer each say at the Vatican around noon. At the end of each day the principal recites a prayer over the microphone for the entire building to hear. The students attend mass weekly starting on the first Friday of each month and then every Thursday throughout the rest of the month. The students are involved in each mass, as altar servers, choir singers, service ushers, or offering readings. The students are taught the Stations of the Cross as well as learning the prayers of the rosary. They learn traditional Latin and American chants that are part of mass. Twice a year, during lent and advent, the students go to confession and confess their sins to their priest.
Saint Benedict School
3100 Grove Avenue
Richmond, VA 23220
Saint Benedict School website
Principal, St. Benedict School
Profile prepared by Kimberly O’Connor