The History of St. Joseph School
1951 - Archbishop Thomas A. Connolly from the Archdiocese of Seattle formally proposed the Church of St. Joseph.
1952 - St. Joseph Catholic Church was officially established January 18, 1952. 12½ acres of forested land (once a golf course) overlooking the Columbia River was purchased for $56,000. Archbishop Connolly appointed Father Thomas J. Pitsch as the first Pastor.
1954 - In less than 3 years, construction was complete on a convent and a fully equipped school with 10 classrooms, library, cafeteria, four music rooms and an auditorium, which served as the 758-seat church. The cost was $301,000. The parish consisted of 574 families and 2,000 members. The first mass was celebrated in this new church on July 11, 1954.
St. Joseph School opened September 8, 1954, with 302 students in grades 1-8, five nuns of the Sisters of Providence Order and three lay teachers. Sister Beatrice Ann became the first principal. The Convent, with facilities for twelve Sisters, included a kitchen and a chapel. Sister Beatrice Ann was appointed as the first superior of Saint Joseph Convent. The official dedication and blessing of the church, convent and school occurred on October 10, 1954.
Fr. Pitsch frequently could be found on the playground visiting with the children. With Fr. Pitsch at the helm, the parish population grew and with it a variety of ministries. Parents' Club, the Religious Education Program, Youth Groups, CYO Athletics and Social Events all had their start during this time.
1958 - A new wing was added to the north side of the school to accommodate the growing number of students. This wing now holds the 5th, 6th and 7th grade classrooms. St. Joseph's was on its way.
1964 - Fr. Edmund Kearney came to St. Joseph and replaced Fr. Pitsch in 1964.
1972 - The School Board was faced with finding a way to raise money or cancelling the 7th & 8th grades. With Father Kearney’s support, many parishioners donated materials, money & time to build booths, obtain supplies & promote the Sausage Fest. The first stage and buildings, built by parishioners, were used for 25 years, then were replaced. The first festival had fresh fruits, vegetables, a chicken wagon, fashion shows & dunk tank. It made just over $12,000. The annual Sausage Fest is now a huge event, drawing over 80,000 people to its grounds with a full-size carnival, many craft booths, food stalls, & varied entertainment.
1974 - Fr. Anthony V. Domandich replaced Fr. Kearney in July 1974.
1982 - The Convent was converted to the Parish Administration Building and a new Parish Rectory was built for the Pastor and Associate Priests’ living quarters.
1985 - Fr. Kenneth Haydock arrived at St. Joseph in July 1985. Known as a workaholic and a doer, he organized the drive to build a larger church to accommodate the growing parish community.
1989 - The plans for the new church were submitted in February 1989 for an estimated cost of $3.2 million. Rising costs resulted in the building being redesigned reflecting the current church for a cost of $2.4 million. Fr. Haydock earnestly believed in the importance of modern technology and was one of the propelling forces behind the addition of computers, audio/visual media and the Internet in the school and administration building. The church expanded from 1600 to 2800 families.
1991 - Construction of the new church building began in July 1991.
1992 - The first mass celebrated in the new church was on June 20, 1992. The 28,000 sq. ft. church included seating for 850 people with overflow capacity for an additional 400, a large narthex, meeting hall, kitchen, nursery and storage. The former Fr. Pitsch room was remodeled and the old church was converted into a gymnasium/hall for school and parish use. It was named Haydock Hall in honor of Father Haydock.
1995 - The first annual School Auction was held. $67,515 was raised to remodel and update classrooms in the main school building.
1996 - In July 1996, Fr. Hans M. Olson became pastor of St. Joseph Church.
1997 - The St. Joseph Foundation was established to ensure the financial stability of our school. At the same time, the St. Joseph Education Endowment Fund was opened to hold funds in perpetuity for the future.
1999 - A new building for meetings, known as the Annex, was constructed on the west side of the parking lot. A new wing was also built, expanding the school with four new classrooms, currently the Kindergarten and 8th grade classrooms, for a total of two classrooms per grade level.
2003 - The St. Joseph School Foundation raises awareness about its purpose for the School by hosting the its 1st Annual Wine & Art Show.
2004 - During the 2004/2005 school year, St. Joseph Catholic School celebrated its Golden Anniversary. In September, Archbishop Alex J. Brunett & Father Hans Olson celebrated Mass and the rededication of the School. This was followed by a sit-down dinner for over 100 people in the Parish Hall. The next weekend, an All-School reunion took place to celebrate the School’s 50th Anniversary and to kick off the 33rd Annual Sausage Fest. St. Joseph School Foundation hosted its 2nd Annual Wine & Art Show in November, 2004. The final celebration of our 50th Anniversary was the 11th Annual St. Joseph School Auction, Our Golden Gala, held April 9, 2005. This event raised over $170,000 for the School and Parish.
After 50 years of “graduating well-educated, faith-filled students prepared for tomorrow,” St. Joseph School enrollment stood at 391 students.
2005 – The boys’ and
girls’ restrooms in the mail hallway of school are renovated in
December 2005 thanks to generous donors who gave to this
Fund-An-Item project at St. Joseph School’s Golden Gala Auction in
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