Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Cristina Cabrera Jarro
SOUTHWEST RANCHES | With a countywide proclamation and the unveiling of a timeline of school history, Archbishop Edward McCarthy High School marked the 25th anniversary of its founding.
“The school is a shining star for Southwest Ranches. It’s in our town, and we’re blessed,” said Vice Mayor Jim Allbritton, who presented the proclamation on behalf of the Board of County Commissioners of Broward County, declaring April 27, 2023, as “Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy High School Day.”
That same day 25 years earlier, a groundbreaking ceremony took place for what would become the first Catholic high school built in Broward County in 36 years.
A photo taken by the Florida Catholic immortalized the moment: Miami’s second archbishop, Edward A. McCarthy, joined by his successor, now Archbishop emeritus John C. Favalora, and other local dignitaries, shoveled the first mounds of earth in the rural property located next to St. Mark Church and School.
That photo is now a part of the school’s 25th anniversary timeline, which was formally dedicated April 27. Located in the hallway by the main office, the almost 12-foot-tall by 8-foot-wide trip down memory lane displays accomplishments, traditions, and milestone moments in the school’s history.
“Since it’s the 25th anniversary, we really wanted to do something to document that. So we thought a historical timeline would be the perfect thing,” said Sophia Inguanzo, a graduating senior who spearheaded the project.
For seven months, Sophia, who was elected Student Government Association historian in June 2022, and her siblings, Susanna and Christopher, searched through yearbooks, scrapbooks, Instagram, Facebook, and more.
“I didn’t know about a lot of things that we put on the timeline. It was a learning process for us,” Sophia said, highlighting the origins of retreats, the tradition of painting senior parking spots, the Maverick Games, and the cultural exchange program as a few of her favorites.
The trio also worked with teachers and faculty who have been around since the early days.
“Teachers that we used to see in the hallways, now we know a little bit more about them,” said Susanna, who is also a senior.
Tony Massaro, executive director of advancement who has worked at Archbishop McCarthy High for 25 years, said of the project, “This is special because it brings back memories. It means a lot to me, and to the rest of us.”
Similarly, Principal Richard Jean, who has been at the school for 14 years, said he feels blessed to be part of the timeline, especially with his personal ties to the late Archbishop McCarthy.
As a child, Jean’s family immigrated from Haiti to Miami, and he attended St. Mary Cathedral Church and School.
“I remember this tall man that would come in, and we just thought he was a priest. He was a humble man, and had us serving Mass with him,” Jean said.
It took him a while to realize the gravitas of the man celebrating Masses at the cathedral.
“We were his A-team,” Jean said, recalling how the archbishop would ask the boys to serve at weddings, funerals, and other Masses where he presided.
Years later, Jean remembers feeling overwhelming joy when he received a phone call from Archbishop Thomas Wenski asking him to fill the position of principal at Archbishop McCarthy High – only the second principal in the school’s history.
“For me, it was a full circle. I served him, and now I’m serving him again to keep promoting what he believed in: the kids,” Jean said.
When Archbishop McCarthy High first opened its doors in 1998, it served 184 students. Now, over 1,700 students fill its hallways. Having the timeline where they can see their school’s origins helps to continue inspiring the Mavericks of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
“We all walk by this,” said Sophie. “Some of my friends didn’t know we were doing this, and they thought how cool that we did. People really stop and look at the pictures and read what’s on the wall. I think it’s great that we did it here.”
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