About » History


Monsignor Scanlan High School, one of the largest parish high schools in New York City, is the result of the zealous efforts of Rt. Rev. Monsignor Arthur J. Scanlan. When a tract of land and buildings on Hutchinson River Parkway, originally used by St. Joseph School for the Deaf, became available, Monsignor Scanlan took advantage of this opportunity to establish a high school. The first freshman class was admitted to St. Helena High School in September, 1949. The Girls' Department was operated by the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, New York, who had served in St. Helena's Elementary School from its beginning. The Boys' Department was operated by the Marist Brothers. Subsequently, a Commercial School was established, also conducted by the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill.

In April, 1969, Msgr. Scanlan retired from active duty as pastor of St. Helena's Parish. He was succeeded by Rt. Rev. Msgr. John J. Voight, who had years of experience working in education. Msgr. Voight continued the interest in education manifested by Msgr. Scanlan. In September, 1970, Msgr. Voight appointed Fr. Michael Wrenn as Administrator; and in September, 1973, Fr. John Haggerty was appointed to succeed Fr. Wrenn as our school Administrator. Msgr. Voight died in June, 1982 and Msgr. Philip Mulcahy was appointed Pastor in July, 1982. With the passing of Msgr. Mulcahy in April 1996, Rev. Thomas B. Derivan was appointed our fourth Pastor.

On the occasion of the ninetieth birthday of Msgr. Scanlan, on October 8, 1971, Cardinal Cooke visited the school and announced that, as a special tribute the name of the high school would be changed from St. Helena High School to Monsignor Scanlan High School. This change of name became official as of September, 1972. Our beloved founder died in November, 1974.

The Boys' and Girls' Departments were merged into a co-educational school in September, 1976. It is hoped that the vision of our founder will be expressed for many years to come in the mission and spirit of Monsignor Scanlan High School.

The Dominican Sisters who administer and staff Monsignor Scanlan High School were founded in 1876 in the New York Archdiocese by Alice Madeline Thorpe. They are part of the Dominican Order, whose history and traditions date back to its founding by St. Dominic in the thirteenth century. Their motherhouse is located in Sparkill, New York, about thirty miles from New York City in Rockland County. The Congregation at the present time numbers five hundred members who staff several elementary and high schools in New York and St. Louis, Missouri. The sisters are also engaged in colleges, in child care and in various parish ministries. In addition to foreign missions in Pakistan, Africa and South America, some sisters are involved in home mission work with American Indians and in social welfare programs. The Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, New York have been associated with St. Helena Parish as well as the high school since its beginning.