Monday, August 27, 2012

St. Benedict Academy High School, Erie PA

Saint Benedict Academy (SBA), Erie's first private academy for girls, opened its doors in 1869. This school was in existence for nearly 119 years and was run by the Catholic Diocese of Erie, PA.

St. Ben's was located at 330 East 10th St., to the east of St. Mary's grade school, and around the block from St. Mary's Catholic Church.

The final SBA class graduated in 1988. Sr. Annette Marshall was the principal and there were 13 lay teachers and seven Benedictine Sisters of Erie. 241 girls attended SBA in its final year.

The school colors were navy and white. The new St. Ben's Academy was dedicated Dec. 8, 1955.
The SBA basketball team was District 10 AA champs in 1980.

"St. Ben's was a great high school," said Cherie DeMichele. "It changed our lives in that the teachers we had were Benedictines, and they stressed caring about the oppressed and getting involved in protests, marches, etc. We volunteered to see what it was like to only have a cup of rice to eat a day, we wrote letters asking the government to ban the B-1 bomber, we wore Huelga! buttons and got involved in the UFW strike and supported Cesar Chavez, etc. I was in the class of '78 but they closed in '88 or '89. I miss that school. We had more than an English and math education there. We had a social justice education. I am still very active in social justice issues to this day."

This article is in progress. Still need:
1) Notable teachers
2) Notable graduates


  1. Julie Janiuk, 1989August 27, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    I was a Junior when the school closed. Very emotional time for all of us juniors that had to become seniors at other schools. We all went our seperate ways but never forgot the memories, friendships, teachers or the halls of SBA. We have recently started visiting with one another again and it has been great. "With friends we never shall forget"

  2. Some notable teachers just off the top of my head: Sr. Dorothy Stoner OSB, Sr. Pat Lupo OSB, Sr. Carolyn Gorny-Kopkowski OSB, Sr. Christine Vladimiroff OSB, Sr. Mary Lou Kownacki OSB, Mrs. Ruth Oligeri, Mr. Brian Pardini all still active in the community.

  3. Thanks Debbi! What a great school. I have many fond memories. Notable graduates would be Jane Earll of course, (class of '76!) who has been such a great leader for Erie. Dr. MaryBeth Cermak is another. Notable teachers for me would be Mrs Ims (English) and Mrs Jane Molczulski (Mrs. "Mooch"), who made Biology fun, And Mrs. Ruth Cogan--who taught English--another community-wide treasure.

  4. I was fortunate to be a part of a wonderful school and got to be in the last class to graduate from St. Ben's in 1988. St. Bens was more than just a school to me and to most of my friends that went there. You were part of a big huge family that looked out not only for you but taught you how to look out for the world and to try to make it a better place. I have such sweet fond memories of St. Ben's. I have recently ran into a few of my classmates and it has been wonderful. We picked up right where we left off when we graduated. Graduation was so very bittersweet for me. It was a hard time to say goodbye to a great place.