History of Our Lady of Victory
Our Lady of Victory Parish in Washington, DC, dates from 1906, when it was founded by Father Malachy Yingling and faithful local families. The first church was dedicated by Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore in 1911. In 1922 a fire destroyed the sanctuary, which was rebuilt and dedicated in 1929. By the late 1950s the church had become too small for the burgeoning parish, and the current altar area, sacristy, and transepts were added. The bell tower was rebuilt on the left side of the church. The new church, in more or less its current form, was dedicated in 1957.
By 1954 the growing number of families with school-age children convinced the parish that a school was needed. In 1954, Monsignor Hess broke ground for a seven-classroom school and a convent at the intersection of MacArthur Boulevard and Whitehaven Parkway, where it stands to this day (with additions). The Sisters of Notre Dame of Cleveland were responsible for the school, which was dedicated in October of 1955. Rapid growth of the parish required addition of an eighth classroom and other rooms over the auditorium in 1959. In June, 1960, the first graduates were awarded diplomas.
The school flourished through the 1960s and 1970s, but declining enrollments stemming from demographic changes in the parish nearly led to its closing in the early 1990s. The Sisters left in 1990, and Susan Milloy became principal. Together with a courageous and dedicated group of parents, headed by Mrs. Joni Lawler, Mrs. Annie Durbin and Mrs. Arlene Heiss, she worked hard to keep the school open. A "baby boom" in the area shortly thereafter translated into enormous demand for schools, which continues to this day. OLV is once again home to a capacity enrollment of bright and eager students. In 2004, a dyamic new principal arrived, Mrs. Shiela Martinez. The school year 2005-2006 is the school's golden anniversary. During the summer of 2005, a major renovation of the school plant was completed. This included installation of new energy-efficient windows, air conditioning, new lighting, and fiber optic cable.
In 2007 a new milestone was reached when OLV became the first Catholic school in the District of Columbia to be be named a "Blue Ribbon School of Excellence" by the United States Department of Education. OLV continues to educate children to ever higher standards.