The history of Archbishop Neale School began with the recognition of the need for a Catholic school in Southern Maryland. In the fall of 1926, the La Plata public school was struck by a tornado. The Charles County officials decided to replace the demolished building with a combination grade school / high school. At this time the McDonough Institute, a private school for higher education in La Plata, was put up for sale. The Archdiocese of Baltimore purchased the property for a Catholic school and Sacred Heart opened its door on September 6, 1927, with 28 students serving grades one to seven.
By 1933, the enrollment extended to 12th grade. In 1948, the pastors of the parishes represented by the student body agreed that they should equally share the responsibilities of the school. Hence, the school became known as Sacred Heart Consolidation School. In 1948, the Archdiocese of Washington was established and the Sacred Heart School was placed under its administration. By 1951, it was obvious that the school was no longer capable of housing the ever-increasing enrollment and a new school was built. After a series of meetings of the School Board with Archbishop O’Boyle, it was announced on January 8, 1952 that the name of the new school would be Archbishop Neale School in memory of Archbishop Leonard Neale of Port Tobacco, the second Archbishop of Baltimore.
Ever since the original opening, the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Scranton, Pa. have taught at Sacred Heart School and since 1952 at Archbishop Neale School. In 1976, the Archbishop Neale High School Department closed, giving way to a larger enrollment in our Elementary and Junior High Schools. In 1979, a Half-Day Kindergarten was added to the school and a new building was erected for this class in 1980. A Full-Day Kindergarten was begun in 1990 and Pre-Kindergarten in 1992.
On Sunday, April 28, 2002, another deadly tornado struck the La Plata area and the Archbishop Neale School buildings were destroyed. The school was temporarily housed on Sacred Heart Church property in modular classrooms for the 2002-2003 school year. During this time, the school was rebuilt and resumed classes on January 29, 2004.
Our school symbol is “JOINED IN HEART.” It is a sign of unity, our unity as a Catholic Consolidated School. Each section of the cross represents a Parish of our Consolidation. Members of the Consolidation work together to provide a school where Christian values, Catholic doctrine and quality academic standards are priorities. The heart in the center reminds us that ANS had its origin as Sacred Heart School. It also reminds us that at the core of our school is LOVE ~ love for God and love for each other. ANS is committed to the recognition of the multi-dimensional needs of each child.
Our school symbol was designed by Sister Kathryn Clauss, IHM. The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) staffed Sacred Heart School when it opened its doors in 1927 and they continued to teach our students for the next 80 years. The Sisters had a vision for every single child – “Treasure your past, embrace the present, and shape your future”. Over the years, the Sisters have kept this spirit alive and, although we do not currently have an “official” IHM presence in our school, this same IHM spirit continues today. For generations, these nuns have worked wonders for our community, and if we wish to offer any gratitude, we say: “We will always continue to keep the IHM spirit alive at ANS!”
Our school is named after Archbishop Leonard Neale, who was born near Port Tobacco, Maryland and was the second Archbishop of Baltimore. A Jesuit priest, Archbishop Neale was a truly pious man, highly skilled in ecclesiastical learning and discipline. ANS has always embraced the honor that comes with his namesake. Please continue to browse our website to learn more about the wonderful opportunities that await your child at our school.