Saint Gertrude High School, Virginia’s only all girls Catholic high school , has served the educational needs of young women for over ninety years. During this time the school has grown from a twenty-six member student body to the present enrollment of 183 students.
The historic building that houses much of the school was built in 1913 to provide a home and chapel for the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia who lived and taught at St. Mary’s School on Fourth and Marshall Streets. During the first few years, two basement rooms served as a small private elementary school and a center for exceptional children, which was later discontinued. On February 25, 2013, the Benedictine Sisters and Saint Gertrude High School faculty, staff, students and alumnae celebrated the 100 year anniversary of the 1913 building with a re-dedication and blessing.
In 1922, Saint Edith Academy, a boarding school for girls in Bristow, Virginia was closed and the high school department, consisting of four Benedictine Sisters, was transferred to Richmond. Sister Gertrude Head, OSB served as the first principal. Together, she and a three-member faculty began the educational program that is now known as Saint Gertrude High School. The school continued to operate solely in the original building until new additions were added in 1956, 1972 and most recently in 2005. In 2013-2014, Saint Gertrude High School opened a new Outdoor Athletic Center that includes fields for soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, softball, a walking path, and tennis courts. The Center also includes a field house Including a classroom, especially for science students who can study the wetlands on the property.
With a view toward their history and a desire to strengthen Catholic education, Benedictine College Preparatory and Saint Gertrude High School unified under a single new corporation, The Benedictine Schools of Richmond, in January 2020. The Benedictine Schools of Richmond will operate Saint Gertrude High School essentially as an all-girls school division and Benedictine College Preparatory essentially as an all-boys school division. The two schools will share the Benedictine Abbey campus, including some important facilities such as the campus church, auditorium, athletic fields, and a new state-of-the-art gymnasium. For 90 years, the two schools operated just 400 feet apart in the Museum District of Richmond. In 2013, Benedictine College Preparatory relocated to the 50-acre Benedictine Abbey campus. In the summer of 2020, Saint Gertrude High School will relocate to the Benedictine Abbey campus, where the schools will, once again, be in close proximity. Breaking ground for a new girls school will take place in the fall of 2020 with an anticipated opening in 2022, in time for Saint Gertrude’s Centennial Celebration. Together, the schools will share a peaceful, modern, and sprawling campus including the campus’s new, world-class athletic facilities.
From the beginning, Saint Gertrude High School kept a high standard of excellence through an affiliation with the Catholic University of America. In 1925, the school was accredited by the Virginia State Board of Education and then in 1942 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (now called AdvancED). For many years, the school has held active memberships in the National Association of Independent Schools, National Catholic Education Association, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and Virginia Council for Private Education . In 1996 the U.S. Department of Education named Saint Gertrude High School a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. This is a national honor recognizing the top 250 schools in the United States. SGHS was named to Virginia Living’s Top High Schools and Colleges 2014 and 2019.