The Moreland Notre Dame Academy stands in majestic beauty just where the main thoroughfare of Watsonville blends with the Santa Cruz highway. It is the splendid tribute of a devoted mother to the memory of her only child, and a still more splendid memorial of that mother’s grand Catholic spirit. The academy was erected in 1899 by Mrs. Margaret S. Moreland, of Watsonville, who took this means of perpetuating the memory of her beloved daughter, Josephine, deceased some years before that time. Josephine had been educated by the Sisters of Notre Dame and she was a cherished student of College Notre Dame at San Jose. Her death at the age of eighteen years deprived her widowed mother of the sweetest consolation that life could afford, but, with a spirit of faith beyond words to express, Mrs. Moreland determined that her own bereavement should prove a blessing to the children of more fortunate parents. Accordingly, she devoted the inheritance of her dear child to the erection of an academy, to be confided to the Sisters of Notre Dame, that they might be to the children of Watsonville all that they had been to her own gentle Josephine. In recognition of this noble purpose, the academy was entitled Moreland Notre Dame, and for the past twenty-five years it has been the center of Catholic education in Watsonville.
Besides the flourishing day school, Moreland Notre Dame Academy includes a boarding department, which is always filled to its capacity. The high school is accredited to the University of California, and it is thus prepared to offer the best of educational facilities to students who plan to continue their studies through college. The courses offered by the academy are grammar, high school, secretarial and musical. A recent addition to the group of buildings is Saint Cecelia’s Hall, where the work of the music department is carried on. The equipment here, as elsewhere in the academy is on the most modern plans, and personal supervision of the students during practice hours insures the best results along musical lines.
The present faculty of Moreland Notre Dame College includes nineteen Sisters of Notre Dame and three secular teachers. The Superior is Sister Mary Veronica, who was first appointed at the foundation of the institution in 1899. For eleven years Sister Superior Mary Veronica presided over the academy, and in 1910 she was appointed Provincial of the Sisters of Notre Dame on the Pacific coast. This necessitated her removal to the Provincial House in San Jose, where she resided for the following ten and a half years. At the end of that period, having reached the limit of time permitted by canon law for the provincial-ship, Sister Superior Mary Veronica was again placed ‘at the head of Moreland Notre Dame Academy. Since the foundation of the academy, Sister Superior has been twice called to visit the Mother-House of Notre Dame, in Namur, Belgium. On both occasions she enjoyed opportunities of inspecting various educational establishments in Europe, as well as in our eastern states, and Moreland Notre Dame has always reaped the advantage in equipment and educational service.
During the current year the academy will celebrate its silver jubilee, and the warm wishes of the many friends of the establishment are expressed in the hope that the achievements of the past twenty-five years may go on with ever increasing ardor, so that jubilee after jubilee may see Moreland Notre Dame continuing its great work for the honor and glory of Almighty God.
Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California’s history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925.