St. Catherine’s School

In 1890, Virginia Randolph Ellett, or Ms. Jennie as some called her, had the
idea that if young women received a good early education they would be prepared to face college, which at the time was an innovative idea. The academic reputation of the first all-girl school in Richmond to send girls on to higher education programs grew quickly. In 1917, just before the school was sold it was moved to its present site on Grove Avenue . In 1920 the school was sold to the Episcopal Church named after the patron saint of young women, St. Catherine. St. Catherine’s remains a leader among independent schools, continuing to teach girls to excel and have a positive
impact on the world. St.Catherine’s has maintained its distinctive traditions. St. Catherine’s Day is celebrated in the fall around All Saint’s Day. The Ring-Candlelight Service occurs every spring when the school celebrates the rising of juniors to the senior class. The Junior and Senior Banquet is a farewell dinner for the seniors given by the rising seniors (juniors) the night before the seniors’ commencement.

St Catherine’s sixteen-acre campus is located in Richmond’s West End and includes the Wright Library; Technology Center; a 70,000 square-foot Sports and Fitness center; and science, music, art, and theatre buildings. Eight miles from the West End campus, close to Goochland County , there is a 145-acre campus that includes a dance studio and hockey, lacrosse, soccer and softball fields.

St.Catherine’s girls are expected to serve the community and to be of service
to others. In the lower school (grades JK- 4), community service is
incorporated into classroom activities. Representatives from local and
international organizations present special chapel programs to the students, and
one project is selected for a hands-one project. In middle school (grades 5-8), working at animal shelters, baby sitting at the Sacred Heart Center are a few of the community service projects. In the upper school, church mission trips, individual projects, and group work are encouraged. Seniors and the raising seniors are expected to complete 25 hours of community service by the end of their senior year.

The School emphasizes the need for regular exercise activities as part of a healthy development. Some of these activities are competitive and non-competitive teams in diving, soccer, hiking, rock climbing, and other sports. Art is an extra-curricular activity that is encouraged in the school, and there are opportunities for selecting from a wide range of programs, such as music ensembles, clubs and organizations.

St. Catherine offers education for girls from Kindergarten through twelfth grade. The school is accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools, and is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools and the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. The average class size ranges from 17 to 19 students. Annual giving is a main support system to operate the school’s academic programs.

St. Catherine’s  School
6001 Grove Avenue
Richmond, VA 23226

St. Catherine’s website

Profile prepared by Lilian Martins
November, 2007