Despite the uncertainty of war, the sisters had a vision for their beloved school. In 1943 they purchased nearly 150 acres of land in Kensington known as the Corby Estate. The property included the mansion, which initially served as the sisters’ residence and later was developed into the Strathmore Hall Center for Arts. In 1956 the Academy moved to its present 28-acre home. Grades were added one year at a time while the students at Upton Street graduated. The school flourished in its new location. Under the leadership of Sister M. Thomas Aquinas (O’Connor) a $200,000 “East Wing” addition was completed in 1966, adding art and music rooms and a gymnasium. The new gym was put to good use, including a 115-game basketball winning streak from 1976 to 1982.
Through the 1970s the Academy’s academic program continued to stay ahead of educational trends with opportunities such as the Senior Project internship. The 1980s became a disconcerting time for area Catholic schools and the Academy’s future became uncertain. The administration continued on a solid path, however, with new initiatives continuing to be introduced. In 1985 the Alumnae Association transferred the Our Lady of the Roses statue to the Kensington campus circle.
In 1998 the Academy received the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon of Excellence, proving that the decision not to close was a wise one. A year later, the Academy’s governance transferred responsibility for operation to a Board of Trustees, while the sisters retained certain powers. With a new financial stability established, the Arts & Sciences wing and Theatre was opened in 2003, nearly doubling the school’s learning space.
Recognizing the need for a Catholic high school inclusion program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the Academy introduced a modified program in 2000. After the program was later suspended for evaluation and restructuring, the Moreau Options Program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities was reintroduced in 2014 with great success.
In 2010 the Academy became an International Baccalaureate World School (suspended with the class of 2020). International recruitment efforts expanded in 2014, to include students from China. In 2015 the Center for Technology and Creativity opened to support the growing technology curriculum. Ridgway Field, an all-weather, synthetic-turf field was added, better preparing athletes for faster play at the college level with fewer injuries. New initiatives in 2017, such as Project Lead the Way and dual credit/dual enrollment with Marymount University, continue to demonstrate the Academy’s progressive mindset.
The Academy of the Holy Cross carries a deep legacy of commitment to women’s education, nurtured by the dedication of hundreds of Sisters of the Holy Cross and countless other educators. All whose lives have been touched by this great institution owe them a debt of gratitude.