ACADEMY OF SAINT ELIZABETH
The Academy of Saint Elizabeth is a revered college-preparatory high school for girls located in Convent Station New Jersey, at the edge of the New York Metropolitan Area. It is a leading Catholic school for young women with a history that dates back to 1860. The school was initially founded as a boarding school and continued as such until 1870, however, it has always attracted a significant number of admissions from well-to-do Catholic families in the affluent neighbourhood in which it is located. It is still regarded as one of the most prestigious girls’ faith schools on the East Coast.
The Academy of Saint Elizabeth is the oldest girls’ school in the state of New Jersey. It was the first school established by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, a religious order that was founded in Newark before relocating to Morristown moving the convent and founding a school on the sprawling new site. The school shares a long-standing relationship with Saint Elizabeth University (formerly the College of Saint Elizabeth) with the two institutions once being part of the same high school and college complex.
As a deliberately small school, the Academy of Saint Elizabeth has an intimate and close community where the girls form lifelong bonds and are engaged members of the school’s sisterhood (which it calls its SEAsterhood). Academy of Saint Elizabeth strives to educate young women and prepare them for a life after graduation that is defined by an enthusiastic zeal for learning, intellectual rigor, a strong moral compass, and an unrelenting faith.
The school was founded in 1860, a year after the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth was established as a religious order. The order was initiated in Newark but relocated to the Madison area of Morristown moving their Motherhouse and establishing a boarding school for young women. The school’s small initial building still stands on campus today. In the 1870s a railway station was built close to the convent and school and, as such, was given the name Convent Station. The local area is now known as Convent Station and the railway station continues to serve the school.
The Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth began life in Newark at the request of Newark’s first Bishop, James Roosevelt Bayley, a member of the Roosevelt dynasty and a nephew of Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first canonized American. He had requested a new motherhouse in the Vincentian-Setonian tradition in his new Archdiocese. Sister Mary Xavier Mehegan of the Sisters of Charity of New York accepted the invitation and, in 1859, founded St Mary’s, Newark retaining the habits and traditions of the New York Motherhouse. The Academy of Saint Elizabeth was founded the following year in Morristown with the convent relocating to the same site shortly afterwards. It commenced with an initial roll of six students. The school rapidly expanded and counted 100 girls amongst its student body by 1862. In 1865 the Academy moved to a new purpose-built building better suited to the blossoming school that was fast-earning a reputation as a strong academic school producing highly capable young women. 1865 also marked the first year in which commencement exercises would be held at the school, a tradition that continues to this day.
Over the years, the Sisters of Charity would acquire neighbouring parcels of land whenever available to expand the campus. The order financed the development of the railway station for which the area would later be known in the 1870s and in 1899 established the College of Saint Elizabeth, the first liberal arts college awarding higher-level degrees to women in the State of New Jersey. 1899 also saw the order establishing another private girls’ school in Jersey City called St. Aloysius High School (commonly known as St. Al’s), cementing the order’s reputation as extremely capable educators. A reputation that would be further enhanced when Marylawn of the Oranges, a girls’ college-preparatory school, was founded in 1935 in Essex County. Missionaries from the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth would export this tradition to China where a number of girls’ schools and hospitals were founded.
The establishment of the College of Saint Elizabeth would require significant expansion of the complex facilities and a new building was constructed to coincide with the College’s foundation. Xavier Hall opened in 1901 hosting classes for the Academy and the College with both sets of students sharing residence halls. In 1906, Santa Rita Hall would open serving as a dedicated dormitory facility for the College, followed by Santa Maria Hall, a dedicated lecture building in 1913. This would mark the separation of campuses of the two institutions with Xavier Hall exclusively being used by the Academy. In 1909 the complex’s grand Holy Family Chapel would be consecrated, providing a home for spiritual life for students at the Academy and the College. In 1970 the school ended its boarding programme and converted the dormitories into classrooms and laboratories. The school’s decision to end boarding was part of a strategic shift to become a strong academic school with a rigorous college-preparatory programme. The school would demonstrate enormous success in the years to come fielding candidates to America’s top universities, many of whom would lead distinguished academic careers and attain doctorates and professional-level qualifications in their respective fields. In 2015 the school made the decision to appoint a lay principal for the first time in its history. That same year, the College of Saint Elizabeth would make the decision to become co-educational welcoming its first male students to campus in 2016. The College attained University status in 2020 and was renamed Saint Elizabeth University (SEU).
The Academy of Saint Elizabeth has a proud heritage as an academic and scholastic powerhouse, educating young women leaders with a clear understanding of faith, morality, and leadership. The school, typically abbreviated to AOSE, instills a strong sense of Catholic identity in its girls and encourages them to commit to a life of Christian practice and charity. Campus ministry plays, in this respect, an important part of school life for pupils at the Academy. Various retreats and faith-based services are organised throughout the year and mass is a daily aspect of life at the Holy Family Chapel on campus.
Spiritual development on campus is augmented by a programme of self-exploration and character-building woven into the school’s curriculum and complemented by the academic and athletic programmes on offer at the Academy of Saint Elizabeth. Pupils at AOSE may participate in a number of extra-curricular programmes including Latin, Mock Trial, Model United Nations, and various faith-based and charitable clubs that seek to build upon the core fundamentals of Catholic teachings and help pupils to become community-minded citizens and young leaders. Pupils may also explore their journalistic and administrative capabilities through the School Yearbook or The Beth magazine, as well as various events committees and the Student Council. All girls will also undertake a rigorous college-preparatory programme, based on the national American curriculum. The school offers a broad range of Advance Placement and college-level courses, many of which pupils may take at Saint Elizabeth University. Creative and artistic opportunities are in abundance at the Academy of Saint Elizabeth, which offers state-of-the-art music and performing arts facilities, a well-regarded choir, and art and fashion clubs.
The school also has one of the best athletic programmes in the State of New Jersey, having a particularly reputable equestrian offering which is the oldest in the state. 11 varsity sports are offered with a number of non-representative sports also on offer at the school through the various clubs and societies (including pickleball and ultimate frisbee). The Panthers (the school’s mascot and the nickname for its representative teams) play a number of varsity sports, including: Association Football (Soccer); Athletics (Track & Field); Basketball; Cross Country; Equestrian; Hockey (Field); Hockey (Ice); Lacrosse; Softball; Swimming and Diving; Tennis; and Volleyball. The school competes in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA), the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC), New Jersey Independent Schools Athletic Association (NJISAA), and North Jersey Interscholastic Girls Lacrosse League (NJIGLL). Being co-located with Saint Elizabeth University (NCAA DIII), pupils have access to an excellent suite of sports facilities, amenities, and staff. Some 75% of AOSE girls participate in one of the school’s primary sports and all are actively encouraged to play sport.
Above all else, the Academy of Saint Elizabeth seeks to foster a sense of camaraderie and sorority amongst its community, a community, and ethos it calls its SEAsterhood. The school’s traditions and customs help to bolster this sisterhood approach, especially big events like the annual Beth Ball. The school hosts regular parent-and-daughter events, social evenings and fun-days
THE UNIQUE SLANG, JARGON, AND TERMINOLOGY OF THE ACADEMY OF SAINT ELIZABETH
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Campus and Facilities
The Academy of Saint Elizabeth sits on a wider campus complex that includes the Convent of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth and Saint Elizabeth University (formerly the College of Saint Elizabeth). The 200-acre campus is located on the outskirts of Newark in the Greater New York Metropolitan Area. It is located in a historic area of Morristown that was once known as “Millionaires Row” due to the influx of wealthy East Coast families. The area was once dubbed “inland Newport” owing to the accumulation of wealth and grand family names in the region and adjacent counties. Today, the area is still famous as a bastion of Old Money wealth in the Mid-Atlantic. The area is now better known as Convent Station following the development of a railway station beside the campus that was funded and managed by the Sisters of Charity order.
The leafy campus is situated between the Morris County Golf Club and Fairleigh Dickinson University on Convent Road. The school serves families from across New Jersey and neighbouring states with the vast majority coming from towns including Summit, Piscataway, Rockaway, Wayne, Montclair, and Union City. The campus features a number of classical buildings in the Beaux-Arts style, a large chapel, landscaped gardens, and a cemetery for sisters of the order. There are a number of sports fields, a baseball diamond, and hard-surface all-weather tennis courts. The campus also features indoor sports facilities and performing arts theatres as well as a famed outdoor auditorium.
The Academy of Saint Elizabeth is well-serviced by NJ Transit enjoying rail links through Convent Station to most of the state. The school is easily accessible from New York City and Philadelphia and is within easy reach of Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).
The Academy of Saint Elizabeth is a selective, academically challenging school that receives a high number of applicants each year. Prospective students are invited to attend one of the school’s Open House events where they may explore the campus and meet with the Admissions team. The formal application process requires the submission of academic transcripts and letters of recommendation. Candidates must also sit an admissions assessment (the COOP/HSPT program). Successful candidates will then be invited to attend an interview and schedule a day to visit the school to orient themselves with the campus and with student life (known as the Panther for a Day).
The school has a strong Roman Catholic ethos and preference will be given to candidates who adhere to the school’s religious leanings. Legacy candidates may also be given preference subject to satisfaction of the entrance criteria. Students of different backgrounds are, however, welcome to apply to the school. A number of scholarship and financial aid packages are available to support families with tuition fees. These are predominantly academic scholarships and are only available to candidates who exceed the school’s already high standards.
AOSE alumni are considered to be forever a part of the SEAsterhood and old Panthers are invited to participate in the school’s alumni association and to catch up with the school and with old classmates at regular reunion events. Former students of both the Academy and the College were known as Elizabethans, however, more commonly, past girls of the Academy of Saint Elizabeth are referred to as SEAsters. SEAsters may keep their peers updated as to what’s been going on post-graduation through the school’s development and alumnae team or the Legacy alumni magazine. Notable alumnae include Ann McLaughlin Korologos, who served in President Reagan’s cabinet as Secretary of Labor between 1987 and 1989, and the celebrated poet and artist Anne Ryan.
ACADEMY OF SAINT ELIZABETH ALUMNAE
Graduates of the Academy of Saint Elizabeth and its sister institution, Saint Elizabeth University, were historically referred to as Elizabethans. Today, alumnae of the Academy are better known as SEAsters and are an essential pillar of the SEAsterhood. The school organises regular reunion events welcoming alumnae to maintain friendships with their classmates and keep up to date with all that is happening at the school.
Accreditations and Affiliations
The Academy of Saint Elizabeth is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) and the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). The school is also a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS), and the International Coalition of Girls’ Schools (ICGS).
ACADEMY OF SAINT ELIZABETH
AOSE / BETH / SAINT ELIZABETH ACADEMY / SEA
14 – 18
9 – 12
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
IN LINE WITH STATE AND NATIONAL STANDARDS
AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA WITH HONORS
MIDDLE STATES ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION
FAITH / ETHOS
ROMAN CATHOLIC (SISTERS OF CHARITY OF SAINT ELIZABETH)
PEDAGOGY / PHILOSOPHY
THE BETH MAGAZINE
MODEL UNITED NATIONS
NATIONAL HONOUR SOCIETY
VARIOUS ACADEMIC SOCIETIES AND SOCIAL CLUBS
ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL (SOCCER)
ATHLETICS (TRACK & FIELD)
SWIMMING & DIVING
SISTERS OF CHARITY OF SAINT ELIZABETH
PATRON / VISITOR
HEAD OF SCHOOL
DR. ELIZABETH G. AZAR (PRINCIPAL)
AVERAGE CLASS SIZE
USD $24,150 PER ANNUM. ADDITIONAL FEES AND CHARGES APPLY
SCHOLARSHIPS, BURSARIES & FINANCIAL AID
FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE ON MEANS-TESTED BASIS
A NUMBER OF FAITH-BASED, AND ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE
SCHOOL WHITE OR NAVY BLUE POLO SHIRT, KHAKI/GREY PLEATED SKIRT OR TARTAN KILT, SCHOOL NAVY CARDIGAN.
UNIFORM AVAILABLE HERE.
BOAT CLUB COLOURS
ACCREDITATIONS, ASSOCIATIONS AND AFFILIATIONS
ATHLETIC CONFERENCES & SPORTS LEAGUES
SISTER SCHOOLS & PARTNER SCHOOLS
DEUS EST CARITAS (GOD IS LOVE)
ACADEMY OF SAINT ELIZABETH ALUMNAE (ELIZABETHANS / SEASTERS)
CELEBRATED ALUMNI & FACULTY
ANN MCLAUGHLIN KOROLOGOS; ANNE RYAN
2 CONVENT ROAD
NEW JERSEY 07961
2 CONVENT ROAD, CONVENT STATION, NEW JERSEY 07961, UNITED STATES