Saint Malachy School was founded in 1860 to serve the large population of Irish immigrants in North Philadelphia. The current school building was built in 1891 at the direction of then pastor (later Archbishop) Edmond Prendergast. The school’s faculty was initially comprised of Sisters of Mercy. In the early days of the school, boys and girls were educated separately. Under the direction of Mother M. Edmonda Prendergast, calisthenics and elocution were introduced to the curriculum. Mother Prendergast was also the first principal to have a graduation ceremony for eighth grade students.
At the turn of the century Saint Malachy School served 600 students. Most students went off to work after eighth grade but some attend high schools such as Roman Catholic High School for Boys and Catholic Girls High (now Hallahan). The 20th century brought many changes to the school. Most of the Irish families moved from the neighborhood and a large number of African Americans migrated from the south. More lay faculty members taught at the school and the Sisters of Mercy ended their time at Saint Malachy School in 1992.
Despite changing demographics and challenges during the past 153 years, Saint Malachy School has remained an anchor in the community and continues its tradition of providing a quality education rooted in Catholic values to the children of North Philadelphia.