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The Sisters of Mercy at Holy Spirit Parish School
Holy Spirit School opened on September 20, 1948, eight years after the founding of Holy Spirit Church. A year earlier, in the fall of 1947, the first kindergarten class of the parish assembled in the parish hall adjacent to the church at 3159 Land Park Drive. Originally, plans called for the school to be built on what is now a parking lot of the church. However neighbors would not agree to a zoning variance to accommodate the school building and playground area. Hence, the school is located a mile south of the church at 3920 West Land Park Dr. The doors opened to 210 children in grades Kindergarten through four. Each year after that, an additional grade was admitted until the first graduation in 1952.
At the opening, four local Sisters of Mercy assumed charge of the school. The principal was Sister Mary Ita. In 1950, a convent for the sisters teaching at the school was built on the site. The school added a second wing in 1951 and an auditorium and gymnasium in 1962.
When the school first opened in 1947, the pastor, Reverend Patrick McHugh, established a novel tuition policy. Parishioners who used the Sunday contribution envelopes regularly and who contributed according to their means were not required to pay tuition. The pastor reserved the right to determine whether parents were truly contributing according to their means. If, in his opinion, they were not, they received a tuition bill. Non-parishioners were required to pay tuition. In 1973, faced with rising costs, the parish discontinued the “no tuition” policy.
During the inaugural year of the school, a Mothers Club was formed. Its name was changed in 1977 to the Parents Club. The group is still active today, promoting community-building events and fund-raising projects.
The School Board first met in June 1972. Serving in an advisory capacity to the principal and pastor, the board follows the intent and spirit of the philosophy and programs established by the Diocesan School Board.