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St. John School


St. John School was the first Catholic elementary school in the city of Lawrence. The school opened on September 6, 1956 as a parish school for children attending St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. Offering a Catholic education for grades 1st-8th, the school opened under the leadership of Sister Owen Marie Falk, Principal, Sister of Charity of Leavenworth (SCL). In 1957, the first 6th grade class of 16 students graduated. Sister Joan These` Cunningham, SCL, became the second principal of St. John School until 1960 when Sister Angela Marie Domann, SCL, arrived. In 1961, the first 8th grade class of 31 students graduated.


Sister Georgianne Desch, SCL, arrived in the fall of 1961 to become the fourth principal. During her leadership, the first class of students who entered in 1956 as first graders, graduated in 1964 as 8th graders with a class of 20 students. Sister Adrian Mitchell, SCL, became the fifth principal of St. John School from 1967-1970. It was under Sister Andrian�s administration that grades 7th and 8th were discontinued by 1970 in order to ease the transition to the new junior high format adopted by the Lawrence Public Schools (USD 497).


Under the principalship of Sister Mary Ann Bartolac, SCL, St. John Church joined together with the newly formed Corpus Christi Catholic Church in the 1970s and offered a Catholic education at St. John School for the children of that parish. Sister Mary Ann served as principal for eleven years until Sister Phyllis Stowell, SCL, arrived in 1981, and Kindergarten was added that fall with increased demand and need. The 1980s were a time of continual growth, which also meant increased financial needs. To augment funding, a fundraiser began in 1983 known today as the St. John School Benefit Auction. On June 13, 1988, Fr. Michael Scully, OFM, Cap, Pastor of St. John the Evangelist, established a Development Committee and deposited $1,000 to set-up the St. John Development Fund. In 1988, just months before Sister Elizabeth Youngs, SCL, began as principal, the first class of students who entered in 1981 as Kindergartners, graduated from the 6th grade. There were 33 graduates in the class of 1988.


The 1990s are best described as �The Golden Years� when St. John School reached the height of its enrollment. Waiting lists were created and enrollment increased among members of the Lawrence community as more students of diverse faith backgrounds attended St. John School. An endowment was established in 1991 with funds from the Development Committee, and a bequest from the Simon estate in 1993 insured the future of the school financially. Sister Elizabeth left St. John in 1994, and Mrs. Pat Newton, a third grade teacher with 20 years of classroom teaching experience at St. John School, became principal � the first lay principal in the history of our school. The desire for Catholic education grew even further.


In 2000, Corpus Christi Catholic Church relocated to a new building that included space for a second Catholic school in Lawrence. St. John and Corpus Christi parishes came together again to create a unified Catholic School system called, �The Lawrence Catholic School.� St. John School was renamed "The Lawrence Catholic School"... with campuses at the St. John site and the Corpus Christi site. In spring 2006, The Lawrence Catholic School split, and the St. John Campus was renamed, �St. John School,� again becoming a parish school under the direction of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.


In 2006, St. John School celebrated its 50th anniversary and archived school memorabilia and historical documents into a digital format. The documents and photos were displayed in the school building and family and friends were invited to take the historical walk down �Memory Lane.� With 50th years under her belt, St. John School launched two new programs to preserve the future. In fall 2007, Preschool was added serving 3 and 4 year olds, and Spanish Language was added to the school curriculum. Mrs. Newton continues to serve as Principal of St. John School today.


The 2011-12 school year will open a new chapter in the history of St. John School as the school will begin the addition of middle school grades. The 2011-12 school year will begin the process as the sixth graders will be considered middle school students. The curriculum and school procedures will accommodate their special needs. Seventh grade will be added in 2012-13 and eighth grade will be added in 2013-14. In order to meet the needs of our expanding school, a capital campaign is under way to fund an expansion to the school. A new gym and additional classrooms are planned in the expansion.

1208 Kentucky Lawrence, Kansas 66044 Phone:785-843-9511

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