St. Edward School was founded in 1961. Finding religious teachers at a time when many Catholic schools were understaffed was but one of the challenges facing the new school. Opening on time for the new school year in 1961 was yet another hurdle.
For the first year, grades one and two were the only levels offered. Tuition was set at $10 per month per child, based on a 10-month basis. The School could not provide transportation for the students, so parents were encouraged to use the services of a local gentleman who could offer bus service. The School did not offer cafeteria service, other than milk at lunch time.
Because the new School building was not finished by its opening deadline, the first classes took place in the Marymount convent on Cary Street. For a few months, the only teachers were Sister diSienna and Mother Oliver from the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. The School's new space was ready in December 1961, when St. Edward Church was dedicated and classes moved into the Church building. Sister diSienna served as the first principal from 1961-1964.
The School expanded quickly, adding grades three through five in 1962. Grades six through eight were added one by one by 1965. The completion of a basement and a two-story addition in 1964 provided much-needed space.
The original 1964 structure remains the main School building that students use today. The School held its first graduation in 1966.
Alumni have colorful memories of the School's early days, and its Sisters. Sister Jean played the guitar and taught songs. Sister Presentation would leave Marymount Convent at 5:00 a.m. to avoid traffic on the Huguenot Bridge on the way to school, and she loved the story of the fourth-grade student who insisted to his parents that her name was "Sister Perspiration."
In 1973, the School's first lay administrator, Richard Fenchak, became principal, and other lay principals followed. In 1979, St. Edward School became regional and was renamed St. Edward-Epiphany Catholic School, and welcomed Dr. Hopewell as its new principal.
Kindergarten was reestablished as a full-day program in 1980. In 1981, the School established a preschool program. In 1986, Georgette Richards took the helm as principal and since then, the School budget has grown from $797,000 to over $2 million. In 2000, the new Activities Center provided more School space for indoor athletics, art and music.
At. St. Edward-Epiphany, parent involvement remains key. Parents volunteer at lunch and in the classrooms, and work on numerous committees to help raise funds for the School's special events, projects and future endeavors. The wildly popular Annual Grandparents' Day hosts hundreds of grandparents and students, joining all together in a sense of community each fall.
Each student grade chooses a charitable outreach for each school year, and raises money for that outreach. Faith formation continues as a foundation of the School, with daily religion classes, prayer services, sacred scripture, monthly liturgies, and community outreach activities that involve students and their families.
The School that started with a staff of two nuns as teachers now boasts over 50 faculty and staff. The mission of St. Edward-Epiphany Catholic School remains constant, firmly centered on the four pillars of the Catholic faith: word, worship, community and service, and each year the School chooses a special guiding theme. For 2009-10, the St. Edward-Epiphany community of students and teachers has worked to "Seek Truth, Make Peace, Reverence Life" together.
Watch for exciting news on the School's 50th Anniversary, to be celebrated in 2011, 2012 and beyond!