Founded in 1961, Nativity School has long served as a leading educational institution in South Florida. The school opened with an enrollment of 240 students in grades one through four. Today, Nativity School continues to provide excellence in education to over 800 students ranging from two-year-olds to eighth graders.
Nativity Parish was founded in the fall of 1960. The first mass was celebrated on October 15, 1960 in a tent. The celebrant was Father Flynn, the first Pastor. The tent collapsed in a downpour and mass had to be held at various community centers.
Groundbreaking for the parish school building took place in June, 1961 and in September an elementary school opened for Nativity’s children at Chaminade High School until the new school was ready. The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Michigan, were engaged as teachers. The new school was ready on January 3, 1962 and 240 students were enrolled in grades one through four with Mother Bertrand as principal.
Bishop Carroll dedicated the school building in January of 1962. The first floor served as a temporary church. The second floor was used for classrooms. The first jamboree was held in November, 1962. This tradition is continued today. On October 26, 1968 the new church building was dedicated by Archbishop Carroll. The Parish Hall/Cafeteria was completed in October, 1968. In March, 1974 a completely renovated school library was dedicated in memory of Douglas Edward Drugan.
The rectory and office building was completed in June of 1979. On September 6, 1981 the Father Hugh Flynn Parish Family Center was dedicated. The first Kindergarten classes were held in the fall of 1981. The Pre-Kindergarten program started in the fall of 1989. The Junior Pre-Kindergarten program began in the fall of 1990.
A new Pre-School and Media Center was opened in the fall of 1999. An accelerated program for junior high students and the Lighthouse program for fourth and fifth graders were instituted in 1999. These programs allowed for a tailored educational experience of students with special needs and abilities.
Throughout the years, the student body has been actively involved in the preparation and support of parish projects to enhance the Catholic spirit of our community. Under the loving guidance of the pastor, Father Patrick Murnane, the beautiful “Our Lady of the Smile Shrine” was dedicated in 1995. At this site, students participate in the stations of the cross, special liturgies for May Crowning and Respect Life, and class prayer services throughout the year. In 2002 we dedicated the St. Francis peace corner. A beautiful statue of St. Francis (purchased with funds raised by the students) serves as the centerpiece to a quiet reflective area where students can meet, pray, and find peace.
Morning and afternoon prayers, weekly grade level masses, monthly all school liturgies, reconciliation services, preparation for the sacraments, prayer partners, faith friends, the religion curriculum, and liturgical singers are all elements which help to define our “Catholic” identity. The development of Catholic character is the the goal of our H.E.L.P. program (Hope Everyday for the Lord’s Planet). Students participate in fundraisers and service projects throughout the year to help the “poorest of the poor” in our own community and globally. These projects allow us to promote the social justice teachings of our Church.
Nativity School has and continues to impact the lives of thousands of children by providing them with a stimulating academic program, a safe and loving Christian environment, and resources and opportunities to excel at their strengths. Nativity graduates enter their high school years with a strong academic background and faith in God and their importance in His plan. The community at large benefits from Nativity School’s presence by the assistance we provide through our service projects. The area also reaps the benefits of having well-trained, respectful, and responsible young men and women as citizens.
Nativity School’s demographics have remained consistent throughout its history. The surrounding neighborhood is primarily inhabited by the church parishioners and has consistently been the primary source of new students. A substantial percentage of the student body are second generation “Knights”.
Nativity School initially received accreditation in 1973. Since that time the school has continued to operate and develop under the guidelines of the Florida Catholic Conference Accreditation Program. The school successfully completed the re-accreditation process in April of 2018. Nativity School is a member of the National Catholic Educational Association.
We are proud to celebrate over 50 years of "Excellence in Education!"