Let the children come to me for to such belongs the kingdom of Heaven.

Joyful are the memories of St. Louis School

May 2016, St. Louis Catholic School Closes
St. Louis School Band

In 1929, Bishop Tihen of the Diocese of Denver issued an order to the parishes of the diocese to open a school, for "― neither spiritually nor materially will a parish grow and prosper if it has no school." By 1931 the Diocese of Denver included 49 Catholic schools. Among the new schools was St. Louis Catholic School in Englewood. After 87 years of bringing a values-based Catholic education to youth, St. Louis Catholic School celebrated its last graduating class in May 2016 and then closed its doors.

The school suffered the fate of too many Catholic schools - rising costs making it increasingly expensive to continue its tradition of providing an outstanding educational experience, and declining enrollment. But St. Louis School leaves behind a legacy of more than four generations of students and memories of a very special community of teachers, involved parents, and great children, supported by the parish. At its peak in the 1960s, St. Louis School had eleven sisters, and six lay teachers instructing more than 600 students.

St. Louis Catholic School opened its doors in the fall of 1929 with four grades and 90 students. The school was taught and administered by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Each year, another grade was added to the school curriculum until the full eight-year course was available. As enrollment grew, Father Joseph O’Heron, pastor from 1929 until his death in 1956, bought neighboring houses and converted them into classrooms. This ramshackle collection of classroom facilities lasted until 1949, when the current brick building was constructed at a cost of $172,000.

New school and new school bus

Thanks to the efforts of the Sisters of St. Joseph, a strong parent teacher organization and staunch support from the parish, St. Louis Catholic School had operated since its founding without charging tuition. Support for the school came from a free will offering made regularly by all parishioners willing to help. The school continued tuition-free into the 1960s until increasing costs and the declining number of Sisters available to teach put too much pressure on the parish to continue to absorb all the costs.

In 1973, Virginia Vobejda became St. Louis’ first lay principal and led St. Louis’s transition to a Catholic school led by lay faculty.

graduating class of 1935
100th anniversary celebratory Mass with Archbishop Chaput. Father Robert Reycraft, pastor, to the left.

Thank You . . .

Since its initial founding, St. Louis School has been blessed with the support of the parish, its priests and staff. Their support, both financial and personal, allowed the school to thrive for many years in increasingly challenging times. We were also blessed with an extraordinary teaching staff, who valued their ability to teach a Catholic-based education and provided their students with an exceptional education in both how to live a good life as well as academic success.

To all who made St. Louis a very special school for so many years, we extend our heartfelt appreciation.

School plays, the Jamboree, sports events, celebrations and so much more

Oh, the memories we have. The doors are closed and the halls are empty, but St. Louis School still rings with memories. It was an extended family, a social life of after-school events, a celebration of Christmas, the Easter season, feastdays and saints. It was Thanksgiving dinners for senior citizens, sports practices, spelling bees and speech contests, with time for classes and homework.