It's amazing to think that the first organized parish school in Greenville opened in October of 1888. St. Rose of Lima Academy was opened under the leadership of Father P. J. Korstenbrock and was staffed by the Sisters of Mercy. The school that the sisters opened began a rich tradition of excellent education in the Delta area; one that is still strong after 116 years.
Within three years, facilities were added to accommodate boarding students from nearby plantations. By the 1930's enrollment in the school had grown to almost 200 students. By 1947 enrollment had increased to 245 with 39% of the school's population being non-Catholic.
In 1948, due to the increasing enrollment and deteriorating condition of the Academy building, work began on a new building. Originally designed to educate 400 students, St. Joseph School was dedicated in May of 1950 by Bishop Richard Gerow. Located on Golf Street, the school served students in grades 1-12, and by the mid 1950's included one of the city's first organized kindergarten programs.
As Catholic education flourished in the early 1960's, enrollment continued to rise. As a result of this increase, St. Joseph Catholic Church initiated the construction of Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School, which opened on East Reed Road in 1964. After kindergarten through sixth grade moved to Lourdes, the building on Golf Street (now known as St. Joseph High School) provided students in grades 7-12 with a quality Catholic education. An increasing enrollment at St. Joseph in the late 1980's prompted the construction of four additional classrooms.
Memories of the "old days" remain strong and dear. Alumni today, now parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends of our current students, fill the stands at athletic competitions and seats at the honors programs and graduations. Traditions are celebrated as before. Past graduates can be proud of the young people who have received the legacy of a Catholic education. They will pass this legacy on to others in the decades to come.