Bay View Pride
Located at 3070 Pawtucket Ave in Riverside Rhode Island, Bay View’s grounds are composed of St. Joseph’s Hall, McAuley Hall, Mercy Hall, and our Athletic Wellness Center. In 1874, the Howard Mansion in Riverside, Rhode Island, was purchased by the Sisters of Mercy, under the direction of Mother Mary Bernard Read. The mansion was to be opened as a boarding school for girls. Fire destroyed the 19th-century building in 1948, prompting the construction of the present complex. St. Mary Academy – Bay View opened for the first session in the present high school building on January 31, 1949.
Opened as St. Mary’s Seminary in East Providence, Rhode Island, by the Sisters of Mercy in 1874, St. Mary Academy – Bay View began and continues as a private school for young women. To this day, the Sisters of Mercy continue to sponsor Bay View as a Catholic, all-girls Academy. The focus on single-sex education is rooted in the belief of Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, that: “There is nothing more conducive to the good of society than the education of young women.”
In the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy, we foster academic excellence in an innovative and creative learning environment in order to empower each student, from preschool through grade twelve, to be a confident, independent, compassionate and socially conscious young woman who fully lives her faith.
Blue and Gold
In the 1940s, a recent graduate of Bay View, Eileen McSoley, took a job as the new physical education instructor of the school. Her legacy to our herstory is important. She was not only the very first laywoman to work at the school, but she also reworked the lyrics from a popular song from the 1945 film, The Bells of St. Mary, and gave us the beautiful, tear-jerking alma mater we proudly sing today.
But before “The Bells of St. Mary,” there was the original alma mater:
Our dear alma mater, how truly we love you. And cherish fond memories, for years still to be. Your help and your guidance are precious and hallowed. O Bay View, we salute you. And as now we depart from your sheltering care, hold all memories within your fond keeping. O Bay View, Bay View, we salute you.
- “Dear Catherine McAuley (The Girls of Bay View)”
- “Let the River Run”
At the culmination of our fall Spirit Week, Newcomer’s Welcome is a time when we welcome all of our new students, faculty and staff to campus. Students dress in their class colors, participate in Battle of the Classes, perform skits and receive Spirit Awards.
The traditions begin annually on September 24 as Mercy students join the worldwide Mercy community in celebrating Mercy Day. This celebration commemorates the date on which Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, opened the House of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland to shelter, feed, and educate women and girls.
Manhattan at the Bay
Manhattan at the Bay, or Cabaret as all true Bayvettes know it, is a volunteer-driven fundraiser centered around a cabaret-style, musical production. Cabaret brings the brilliance of the Broadway stage to Bay View, it features a montage of musical favorites amidst sparkling costumes, dazzling dance, and grand settings. The three-day springtime event, is one of the school’s largest fundraisers of the year, with all proceeds benefiting the girls and young women of the Academy.
During alumnae weekend, hundreds of women return “Back to the Bay” to celebrate with their fellow Bay View sisters. The weekend includes a number of special events such as the Alumnae Mixer, Alumnae Liturgy, Senior Pinning Ceremony and Alumnae Brunch.
Senior Pinning Ceremony
Every year during their last week on campus, seniors gather with their parents, teachers and alumnae to celebrate their class and to be welcomed to the St. Mary Academy – Bay View Alumnae Association. Each senior is given a Bay View pin, placed on them by an alumna, in celebration of their graduation and entrance into the eternal Bay View sisterhood.
The pin you will receive today is a replica of the St. Mary Academy – Bay View seal; thousands of Bay View women before you have received this same pin—it is one of the many things that bind us together, not only as alumnae but in our promise to live out our lives as compassionate, independent, socially conscious women of Mercy. Following your pinning, we will all stand in another tradition that binds us together—the singing of “The Bells of St. Mary.”
Class Day is a time for our community to celebrate our seniors and for them to reflect on their time spent at Bay View. The class history is read, awards are distributed and performances by select seniors are dedicated to the class. In the end, the traditional senior tie-dye is passed down to the upcoming senior class and a new group of girls join in the alumnae sisterhood.
Prayer in the Garden
During the months of May and October our Lower School students, teachers and parents/guardians come together in our Prayer Garden to pay homage to Mother Mary. Each day, one grade has a turn leading their friends in prayer, pledge and announcements.
Each spring, the St. Mary Academy – Bay View Lower School celebrates Grandparents’ Day. For some grandparents it is their first visit to our school, for some it’s a daily visit to pick up their granddaughter, and for others it may bring back memories from when they went to school here at Bay View.
A long-standing tradition at Bay View, tie-dying your class color is one of the many perks that come with being a senior at Bay View.
Bay View’s honor guard, started back in the early 2000s, gives our Lower School, Middle School, and Underclasswomen the opportunity to wish the seniors well on their last day on campus. The girls line the outdoor walkway as the seniors, dressed in cap and gown, process into the auditorium for the last time.