BARABOO -- Over 1,200 invitations were sent to past graduates, staff, and faculty for a centennial celebration and reunion that will take place at St. Joseph School on Saturday, Oct. 3.
The festivities will begin with Mass at 4 p.m. celebrated by Fr. Larry Bakke. Following Mass, all are invited to the school for supper, an open house, and entertainment. Alumni can take time to tour the school, laugh over memorabilia, and enjoy connecting with past acquaintances.
St. Joseph School has a deep and rich history. Fr. John T. Durward came to St. Joseph Parish as pastor in 1887 and saw the need for a parochial school. The first school was in the old church building, which was vacated when a new church was built in 1902.
The school was staffed by Benedictine Sisters from Sturgis, S.D., followed by Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters in 1911. There were only two classrooms for the eight grades and the Sisters made their home in the attic.
In 1911, Fr. Edward O. Reilly was named pastor of St. Joseph Parish. Realizing the old school was inadequate and arrangements must be made for the Sisters, the parish borrowed $40,000 and began construction of a school and convent. The new school and convent were dedicated on October 31, 1912.
Under the direction of Fr. Joseph Henry, sufficient funds were raised for a new school. In 1957 the present day school was completed and later dedicated on August 31, 1958.
Vibrant school today
One hundred years later, St. Joseph School is a vibrant Catholic parish school that is focused on academic excellence in a community grounded in Catholic faith. Today, there is a pre-K, kindergarten, and five grades with an enrollment of 115 students.
A faith-filled staff of teachers and aides educate students in Scripture, Catholic tradition, and sacraments, with prayer and liturgy as primary components of each day.
Many things have changed at St. Joseph School over the past 100 years, but the commitment to superior education has never changed.