Academy of the Holy Names provides quality education for girls

Catholic school puts an emphasis on the ‘well-rounded’ girl

As the only all-girls Catholic school in the Capital District, Academy of the Holy Names provides a unique learning environment to the region.

“By offering same-sex education, girls feel empowered to succeed,” said Ellen Gelting, communications and marketing specialist for the Albany-based school. “They don’t feel the pressure of having to compete with boys.”

Holy Names began in 1884 as the Academy of Notre Dame. It changed its name to Holy Names in 1899 when it was located on Madison Avenue in Albany. The high school moved to its New Scotland Road location in 1957, and its lower and middle schools moved into the same building in 1968. Today, Holy Names offers education for girls as young as the age of three in its pre-kindergarten program all the way to 12th grade.

Though it is a Catholic school, Gelting said any girl can attend the school. “Holy Names welcomes girls of all religious and ethnic backgrounds, and we do have a diverse student population,” said Gelting.

Holy Names’ academic reputation is very good. Gelting said 100 percent of its high school graduating classes are accepted into colleges, and the school is especially strong in math and science. One current high school student, Katherine Picchione, was recently named one of 300 national semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search from an initial field of more than 1,800 applicants. Intel Science Talent Search alumni have gone on to hold more than 100 of the world’s most coveted science and math honors including seven Nobel Prizes and four National Medals of Science.

“Science, math and technology in general is really stressed at the high school level,” said Gelting.

Because it is a single-sex private school, Holy Names can offer small class sizes and individual attention.

“It’s really a college prep school that focuses on strong academics and educating a really well-rounded girl who can make the world a better place,” said Gelting. “That’s the mission of the school.”

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