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The Church of Saint Dominic

One Journey Through Faith and Education

The History of the Schools of Saint Dominic

The Schools of St. Dominic
Over 80 Years of Academic Excellence

Msgr. Charles J. Canivan, who served as pastor of Saint Dominic from 1914—1944, was the founder of the Schools of Saint Dominic. It was his vision to offer an education that met both the academic and spiritual needs of his parishioners.

Father Canivan’s vision to make Saint Dominic Parish and educational center was inspired by a dream that he had … in which Our Blessed Lady appeared to him carrying in her hands a scroll with the message, “God wills that you build a religious school.” She also spoke to him saying, “Let it be a school where science and culture and religion are taught for the glory of God and the advancement of mankind.” From then on, he dedicated his life to the fulfillment of this dream for the youth of the parish.

And so began the growth of St. Dominic that would continue, paralleling the expansion of Oyster Bay itself. With the support of parish families, friends, alumni and parents, the St. Dominic community grew from one parish building and a large elementary school into the robust center for Catholic education that it is today, fulfilling Father Canivan’s vision.

Saint Dominic Elementary School

In September of 1924, Saint Dominic Elementary School opened its doors for the first time with the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who were nationally known for their educational work in elementary and secondary schools, as teachers.
Under the leadership of Sr. Benedicta O’Brien, superior and principal, and other Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, class was offered to children in six grades. The seventh and eighth grades were added in 1928. 

Today, under the leadership of Cecilia St. John and a committed and dedicated faculty, the elementary school provides a value-based curriculum for students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade that promotes Gospel values and incorporates the very best of 21st Century technology. More than eight decades later, the IHM’s still have a presence at Saint Dominic as Sister Constance continues her magic with her pre-kindergartners.

Saint Dominic High School

Father Canivan’s dream extended beyond the elementary education. He wanted to draw students from all parts of the countryside, which was a bold pioneering vision since there were few Catholic secondary schools at the time. It was his intent to make Saint Dominic Parish an educational center that included a high school of outstanding merit.

Opened in September of 1928 under the leadership of Sr. Marcella Gill, Saint Dominic High School welcomed nine boys and fourteen girls—and became the first Catholic and first Catholic co-educational High School on Long Island.

Saint Dominic is, and always has been, a parish high school and parishioners proudly refer to their high school as “The Parish Gem.”

Today, under the leadership of Denise Smith, her administration and faculty are committed to the mission of providing the best education—academic, spiritual, athletic and social—to the 450 students who call Saint Dominic High School “home.” Ninety-nine percent of students go to attend some of the best colleges in the United States.