S. Alice Francis Young, C.S.J., is a true pioneer in the fields of early childhood education and developmental psychology. A 1940 graduate of St. Joseph’s College, she was a driving force in the establishment of the first Head Start programs in the nation and in New York City. S. Alice Francis helped to design the curriculum and educational experiences, supervised the training of the staff and advised on appropriate settings for those early experiences.
On August 2, 2012, on the floor of the United States Senate, Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) read into the Congressional record a statement recognizing S. Alice Francis — along with fellow Josephites S. Francis Gerard Kress and S. Edward Joseph Murphy — for 80 years of service to the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood, N.Y.
“For the past 80 years, S. Edward Joseph Murphy and S. Alice Francis Young have dedicated their lives for the betterment of others in New York, the United States and around the world,” Sen. Gillibrand read. “We are humbled to have the opportunity to recognize the life and service of these amazing women and everlasting mark they left on so many.”
Sen. Schumer continued: “Mr. President, we would like the United States Senate to recognize and honor the work of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, N.Y.; and the lifelong dedication of Sisters Francis Gerard Kress, Edward Joseph Murphy and Alice Francis Young for their 80 years of service to their religion, professions and country.”
On August 29, Sen. Schumer visited the three jubilarians in East Northport to present each with the framed text of the recognition from the Congressional Record of the 112th Congress (2011-2012).
S. Alice Francis joined the Sisters of St. Joseph — then based in Brooklyn — in 1932 and later spent 43 years as an associate professor on the Brooklyn Campus, instilling sound teaching principles and the educational philosophy of the Department of Child Study in a multitude of future educators. She also spent nearly 20 years as a master teacher and director of the Dillon Child Study Center. Her influence and skill was greatly expanded in the late 1950s when she and S. Margaret Louise Shea became television personalities in a series of programs on moral development and religious education of young children.
Today, at 97 years young, S. Alice is a professor emeritus of St. Joseph’s College, and remains a beloved figure among the many Brooklyn Campus alumni she inspired over the years.