St. Joseph's High School (St. Thomas, Ontario)

St. Joseph's High School (St. Thomas, Ontario)

Infobox Education in Canada
name= St. Joseph's Catholic High School

streetaddress= 100 Bill Martyn Parkway, Rural Route #4
city= St. Thomas
province= Ontario
postalcode= N5R 6A7
areacode= 519
phone= 675-4434
fax= 631-6722
schoolboard= London District Catholic School Board
owner= Mike Walsh
trustee= Cory Weaver
principal= Peter Cassidy
viceprincipal= Daniel Gass
schooltype= Catholic High School
grades= 9-12
language= English
teamname= The Rams
colours= Blue, Gold
founded= 1925
enrollment= 740
enrollment_as_of= November 2006

St. Joseph's High School ("St. Joe's") is a Catholic secondary school situated in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.


In September of 1925, a new addition was built onto Holy Angel's Elementary School consisting of two classrooms, a chemistry laboratory in the basement, a Board Room and a library. Sister Fideles Fortune was appointed as Principal and St. Joseph's High School was born. The inaugural student body of twenty-five students immediately set a high standard of academic excellence with all students being successful in all subject on Departmental Examinations.

In September 1929, Sister Grace Gleeson became the new Principal and in order to accommodate a growing enrolment was aided by Sister St. Catherine. Embracing the age of modern technology, a manual typewriter was purchased by the Board exclusively for school use but residing in the convent.

The girls of St. Joseph's wore a blue and white uniform that remained the standard of school fashion until 1970, when it was replaced by a plaid kilt with brown blazer. The school crest and blue and gold colours were established at this time and remain a tradition to this day.

Father Remi Durand introduced boy's basketball and softball in 1929, and the St. Joseph's Saints were born. This would begin a long history of athletic success at St. Joe's.

During the 1930s and '40s St. Joseph's stayed abreast with administrative and curriculum changes initiated by the Ontario Department of Education, such as adding grade 13 to the curriculum. This expansion of he school program allowed students to graduate directly to University from the Parish school system. For those students who were entering the world of business after high school, a Special Commercial program was also added to the curriculum at this time.

World War II called thousands of Canadians to service including many from St. Thomas. Hugh Cassidy, Walter McManus and Donald Udell, students of St. Joseph's, sacrificed their lives in the service of their country and are remembered by generations of students to this day.

Car pools and buses brought students to St. Joseph's from Port Stanley, Rodney, Shedden, Sparta, Wallacetown, Glanworth, West Lorne, Aylmer and Tillsonburg during the 1940s and '50s. In order to meet this growth in enrolment, two new classrooms were added particularly for grade eleven and twelve students. In 1953, a new gymnasium was added, providing an alternative to the use of outside facilities at the YMCA and St. Thomas Collegiate. The girl's basketball teams won consecutive WOSSA Basketball championships and the boy's football team contended in the WOSSA final. Students performed in musicals and operettas. School functions were often followed by informal gatherings at the White Palace or Gettas Restaurant. In 1955, a new science lab, principal's office; library and two additional classrooms were added to the school building.

Significant to the growth of St. Joe's sporting tradition was the addition of Mr. Tommy White to the school staff in 1956. Mr. White was a renowned local and semi-professional baseball player and manager, intercollegiate basketball referee, and basketball player. He was known locally as owner of Tommy White's Sport Shop, a successful sporting goods outlet. Items purchased from the establishment retained a pleasurable tinge of Mr. White's distinctive cigars long after their purchase and use. Tommy White served as coach for basketball, football, volleyball, soccer and golf for over 24 years. Despite a fiery competitive spirit, Mr. White endeavoured to provide all interested young athletes with an opportunity to participate. Mr. White will be remembered throughout the history of St. Joe's as a respected coach and teacher, role model, gentleman and friend to generations of St. Joseph's students. A memorial plaque adorns the entrance to the St. Joe's gymnasium, which has been named in his honour.

In September 1965, it became necessary to introduce tuition fees to help cover the rising cost of modern education. Fees continued to be charged until the completion of Catholic Education in 1986. Throughout the history of St. Joseph's, fundraising activities provided necessary support to the school. Spaghetti Dinners, Bingo's, rummage sales and other events provided necessary funding to the school. During the 1970s and 80's, the Catholic community contributed much needed financial assistance for renovations at the school. The Knights of Columbus, Catholic Women's League, St. Anne's Festival Board, St. Joseph's Board of Governor's, and the Friends of St. Joseph's have made major contributions to sustaining the viability of the school.

St. Joseph's continued to offer a fine co-curricular program in the era following the extension of full funding. While the school population in the classrooms grew beyond the capacity of the White St. school building, a dynasty emerged in Girl's basketball. The St. Joe's senior girls were provincial champions in 1986,'87,'88,'91,'92,'93,'95 and finalists in 1996 and '98. The senior boy's teams were provincial champions in 1994 and 1998 and finalists in 1995 and '96.

The impact of full funding was realized on May 4, 1990 when the Ministry of Education announced the allocation of $7,036,000 to build Phase I of the New St. Joseph's Catholic High School. On February 4, 1994, the new school was opened to welcome five hundred students. The new school building provided students with an expanded academic and co-instructional program including Instrumental and Vocal Music, Drama, Physical Education and Fitness, Environmental Science and Technological Studies. The school was designed with a particular focus on environmental science and that continues to be an emphasis at the school to the present. With access to a sports field, St. Joseph's instituted a football program in 1997. Starting with a junior program in the first year and adding a senior in the second, the St. Joe's Rams have quickly become competitive in the local football conference and the football program has provided an exciting focus for school spirit at the beginning of the school year.

St. Joseph's continues to enjoy the support of the Elgin County community as reflected in the growing enrolment. In 2002, some 640 students were enrolled and nine portable classrooms have been added to the site over the past few years. Plans for a reorganization of the technology area have been proposed and have received support in principle from the London District Catholic School Board.

With the support of parents and students, a concerned and qualified staff, and the resources of a larger district school board, the future continues to look bright for St. Joseph's Catholic High School.

The Rams have an extraordinary football team and have won the TVRAA South-East football championship 5 years in a row following a loss in the league finals in 2003.

External links

* [ St. Joseph's Catholic High School at London District Catholic School Board]

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