Our History

The school's centenary was celebrated during the 1980-81 school year. At that time, an historic marker was unveiled in front of the school on Bayshore Boulevard to commemorate 100 years of service of the Sisters of the Holy Names on Florida's West Coast.

On July 17, 1881, two Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary arrived from Key West to open a two-room schoolhouse in a blacksmith shop on Zack Street in Tampa. Thirty-five pupils were enrolled initially, but by the end of the first academic year, their numbers had increased to 70 day-scholars and two resident students.

In April 1889, the site of the school was moved to a two-story building at the corner of Franklin and Harrison Streets. In 1891, the late Bishop John Moore, second Bishop of St. Augustine, purchased property on Twiggs Street where a larger school, which served the community for 34 years, was built.

By 1926, further growth necessitated larger accommodations, and the school was moved to temporary quarters on Central Avenue while the present building on Bayshore Boulevard was under construction. Bishop Barry of St. Augustine laid the cornerstone in 1928, and Florida's Governor-elect Carlton spoke at the ceremony. The following September saw the opening of the new school, but financial difficulties halted building progress before the structure was completed. However, with increasing enrollment, growth of the school continued. The building was completed, and by 1952 two new school wings were added, along with the Chapel and auditorium.

A separate boys division for grades 1 through 8 was established in 1962, and in 1970 a kindergarten was added. In 1989, the provincial of the New York Province of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary approved the recommendation that the Boys Academy and the elementary division of the Academy of the Holy Names be combined into one coeducational elementary school.

Today, the staff of Sisters and their lay associates instruct more than 960 students in the coeducational elementary division and the high school for young women.


1811 Eulalie Durocher (nka Blessed Marie Rose) is born in Quebec on October 6.
1843 Mother Marie Rose Durocher founds the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in Longueuil, Quebec.
1849 Mother Marie Rose dies on October 6, her 38th birthday.
1859 Sisters stop in Key West, Fla., on their journey to open a school in Portland, Ore.
1881 Sisters Mary Augustine and Mary Maurice open their first Tampa convent in a stable on the corner of Twiggs and Marion Streets, and their first school in a blacksmith’s shop on the corner of Zack and Franklin Streets.
1887 With a loan of $2,500 from Bishop Moore, the Sisters secured the Twiggs and Central lot and began construction of a convent and school.
1889 The Convent of the Holy Names moves temporarily to the corner of Franklin and Harrison Streets.
1891 Groundbreaking for the new Convent School at Twiggs and Morgan Streets begins amidst anti-Catholic protest. The school remains at this location for the next 34 years.
1894 The Jesuits purchased property on Morgan Street to establish a school for the children of Tampa’s African-American community, under the title of St. Peter Claver. Sisters Mary Germaine and Marie Aurelie began classes on Feburary 2 with 16 pupils. Arsonists set fire to the school on February 14. Amidst threats from the white community, the Sisters continued classes. The Jesuits purchased property on Scott and Governor Streets, where the school resides today, to rebuild.
1896 Sisters Mary Emeline and Mary Hubert open St. Joseph’s School for Hispanic children in West Tampa at the corner of Albany and Spruce Streets. The school is later renamed Academy of the Holy Names.
1913 The Convent School students initiate the “Alma Mater Literary Society,” which entertains clergy, teachers and friends with programs such as “Post Priest of the South.” Members began “AM Quarterly,” the forerunner of “Excursions Literary Magazine.”
1914 “Loyal Legion” Alumni Association is initiated. Kate Jackson (1873 Key West graduate) is the first officer. She chooses Easter Monday as the Annual Reunion Day.
1921 Sisters purchase five-plus acres of Cuesta family property on Bayshore for $17,500.
1925 The Convent School is renamed the Academy of the Holy Names.
  The Twiggs Street property is sold to Rupert & Bortz of Red Bank Coal Co. of Pittsburgh for $625,000 to purchase 11.5 acres on Bayshore Boulevard for a future school. Contract for the new Academy was awarded to Messrs Ditmars & Reilly Architects of New York, N.Y.
  The Academy of the Holy Names moves to Central and Michigan Avenues and remains there until its new building is completed on Bayshore in 1929.
1926 The first school newspaper, “Inkwell,” is published.
1929 The Academy of the Holy Names opens on Bayshore Boulevard.
  The Mothers Association is established.
1931 Tampa’s Sacred Heart Parish opens a coeducational elementary school, Sacred Heart Academy, staffed with Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.
1933 Sacred Heart Academy opens a parish high school for young women.
1953 AHN adds two new wings to the main four-story structure, as well as an auditorium and the existing chapel.
1962 The Boys Academy opens on MacDill Avenue Campus.
  The Dads Club is established.
1968 First AHN elementary school principal, Sr. Mary Glavin, SNJM, is appointed.
1970 AHN kindergarten opens on the MacDill campus.
1971 Sacred Heart Academy closes its high school for young women after 40 years.
1974 AHN boarding school closes.
1979 Sr. Irene Brunelle, SNJM, establishes the Holy Names Alumni Association with AHN and Sacred Heart High School alumni.
1981 The Sisters’ and AHN’s 100th anniversary is dedicated by an historic marker.
1982 Mother Marie Rose is beatified by Pope John Paul II in Rome, becoming Blessed Marie Rose Durocher.
1985 First AHN president, Sr. Elizabeth Crean, SNJM, is appointed.
1989 Boys Academy and Academy of the Holy Names combine their elementary schools, with Sr. Ann Regan, SNJM, as principal.
1994 Second AHN president, Dr. Claire M. Helm, is appointed.
1995 Early Childhood Education Center opens on the MacDill campus.
1998 Third AHN president, Colleen K. Brady, is appointed.
2001 Bridge to the Future campus master plan commences.
2005 Bridge to the Future campus master plan is completed.
  Fourth AHN president, Jacqueline Landry, is appointed.
2006 AHN celebrates its 125th anniversary.
2009 Fifth AHN president, Dr. Harry Purpur, is appointed.
2011 Sixth AHN president, Arthur Raimo, is appointed.
  The Academy celebrates the 200th birthday of Blessed Marie Rose Durocher.
2012 Sacred Heart Academy closes after 80 years.
2020 Seventh AHN president, Kevin P. Whitney, is appointed.
2021 AHN celebrates its 140th anniversary.