Our History

See Our History

Our school’s story starts in 1888 with the Benedictine Sisters of St. Joseph, Minnesota. Their time and passion created the foundation of St. Joe’s history, giving it the legacy of being rigorous, welcoming, and community-oriented.

History Timeline

To commemorate our story, we have a beautiful mural, painted by Karen Bakke, capturing the milestones of our history. Click on the dates within the mural below to learn more about St. Joe’s!

1880 – 1925

Benedictine Sisters of St. Joseph, MN, start a parochial school for St. Joseph’s Parish, led by Fr. Lawrence Spitzberger. St. Joseph’s School is the first school in the Red River Valley with an initial enrollment of 50 students.

 

Fall 1880 Benedictine Sisters of St. Joseph, MN, start a parochial school for the St. Joseph Parish, led by Fr. Lawrence Spitzberger. It becomes the oldest school in the Red River Valley and has about 50 students, with Sisters Benedict and Ethelburg as the first teachers.
1893 A new school of six rooms is built for $8,000.
1922 Under the pastoral leadership of Fr. Alfred Meyer, the school population grows to 145 students.

1926 – 1956

Construction begins on the current school building the summer of 1926, with the laying of the cornerstone. The project is completed and dedicated in the summer of 1927.

 

Summer 1926 Construction begins on a new school building, with Fr. Edmund Basel as the pastor.
Aug 28, 1927 School is blessed and dedicated by Bishop Timothy Corbett. The total cost for the school, plus new rectory and convent, was $149,134.78.
Fall 1929 Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Benendict, Crookston, take charge of the school, with Sister Emmanuel as the first principal.
Summer 1941 A summer school for the children of Hispanic migrant workers is introduced by Fr. Bernardo Martinez. Attendance is 23 children.
Summer 1943 Hispanic summer school becomes a boarding school, five-weeks in length, serving 100 – 120 children.
Fall 1948 As the new parish comes together, led by Fr. Francis J. Ketter, the elementary school forms. Classes for grades 1 – 4 are held in a temporary location, a small church building at 323 North 14th Street, until the church is built. Classes are held in the same area as Mass, with the sanctuary veiled off and the pews used as desks.
Summer 1950 The teaching Sisters receive a permanent residence on the Church property, allowing them to move over from St. Joseph’s.
Fall 1950 School expands to accommodate grades 1 – 8. Classes are still held in the lower level of the church.
Winter 1950 The parish celebrates Christmas Eve in the new church building. Elementary classes more into the new building, utilizing the lower section.
1954 329 students, grades K – 8, attend the school, led by Sister M De Chantal.
1955 Bishop Schenk gives permission for the parish to build a separate school building, built by Powers Construction Company of Fargo.
April 1, 1956 Easter Sunday marks the ground breaking for the new school.

1957 – 1990

After operating for ten years in St. Francis de Sales’ Parish, in 1957, St. Francis de Sales’ School opens a separate building in north Moorhead. Construction for the new building began on Easter Sunday in 1956.

 

February 10, 1957 Dedication of new school.
1957 School attendance is 483 students, grades K – 8. Current and projected growth leads to a building fund campaign, which has a goal of collecting $150,000.
1958 Classrooms added to the third level, where church was located and gymnasium is added on to the existing building.
1976 School building is renovated and windows are replaced to make the building more energy efficient.
1984 Sister Mary Ann Welsch becomes principal of elementary school.
1987 Seperate 24 X 40 building is built as the new kindergarten room.
1988 The education endowment fund is established when a second grade student dies in an automobile accident. The gifts are invested and a percentage is made available for tuition aid, teacher salaries and technology.
July 1-2, 1989 The parish celebrates an all school reunion, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the school.
Fall 1990

Junior high classes are discontinued, due to
expense and declining enrollment.

School closes due to declining enrollment. School building is leased to Moorhead school district. St. Francis de Sales and St. Joseph schools consolidate as the Catholic elementary school for Moorhead, MN.

1991 – Present

St. Joseph’s School and St. Francis de Sales’ School consolidate as the Catholic elementary school for Moorhead. The school serves students through 6th grade.

St. Joseph’s School expands its building as a part of the Future Full of Hope Campaign. The 2009 dedication creates space to accommodate the new 7th and 8th grade classes introduced over the previous two years.

 

1991 Preschool curriculum is offered at St. Jospeh’s for the first time.
1997 Renovation of school building adds an elevator, making the building handicap accesible.
1998 School begins the 1st annual endowment campaign to provide financial aid for students, higher teacher compensation and completion of technology program.
Fall 1998 School has a population of 200 children, grades pre-kindergarten – 6. Teacher to student ratio is 1:18 in most classes.
Fall 2000 Valerie Ritland becomes principal of the school, with enrollment sitting at 177 students.
February 14, 2003 1st Annual auction, dinner, and dance is held to benefit the school. 275 people attend the event, raising $34,668.
Fall 2004 200 students are enrolled in grades pre-kindergarten – 6.
February 7, 2004 2nd annual auction, dinner, and dance is held, generating over $36,000. Over 270 people attended the event held at the Courtyard by Marriott in Moorhead, MN.
June 13, 2004 Sister Mary Ann Welsch, former principal of the school, passes away.
2005 Celebrating 125 years of Catholic primary education in Moorhead!
Fall 2008 Leslie Honebrink becomes principal with enrollment sitting at 252.
March 29, 2009 Dedication of the Future Full of Hope Project with Bishop Hoeppner presiding along with St. Joseph’s priest, Msgr. Mike Foltz.
May 2009 The first 8th Grade graduation from St. Joseph’s School since 1989.

History Timeline

To commemorate our story, we have a beautiful mural, painted by Karen Bakke, capturing the milestones of our history. Click on the dates below to learn more about St. Joe’s!

1880 – 1925

Benedictine Sisters of St. Joseph, MN, start a parochial school for St. Joseph’s Parish, led by Fr. Lawrence Spitzberger. St. Joseph’s School is the first school in the Red River Valley with an initial enrollment of 50 students.

 

Fall 1880 Benedictine Sisters of St. Joseph, MN, start a parochial school for the St. Joseph Parish, led by Fr. Lawrence Spitzberger. It becomes the oldest school in the Red River Valley and has about 50 students, with Sisters Benedict and Ethelburg as the first teachers.
1893 A new school of six rooms is built for $8,000.
1922 Under the pastoral leadership of Fr. Alfred Meyer, the school population grows to 145 students.

1926 – 1956

Construction begins on the current school building the summer of 1926, with the laying of the cornerstone. The project is completed and dedicated in the summer of 1927.

 

Summer 1926 Construction begins on a new school building, with Fr. Edmund Basel as the pastor.
Aug 28, 1927 School is blessed and dedicated by Bishop Timothy Corbett. The total cost for the school, plus new rectory and convent, was $149,134.78.
Fall 1929 Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Benendict, Crookston, take charge of the school, with Sister Emmanuel as the first principal.
Summer 1941 A summer school for the children of Hispanic migrant workers is introduced by Fr. Bernardo Martinez. Attendance is 23 children.
Summer 1943 Hispanic summer school becomes a boarding school, five-weeks in length, serving 100 – 120 children.
Fall 1948 As the new parish comes together, led by Fr. Francis J. Ketter, the elementary school forms. Classes for grades 1 – 4 are held in a temporary location, a small church building at 323 North 14th Street, until the church is built. Classes are held in the same area as Mass, with the sanctuary veiled off and the pews used as desks.
Summer 1950 The teaching Sisters receive a permanent residence on the Church property, allowing them to move over from St. Joseph’s.
Fall 1950 School expands to accommodate grades 1 – 8. Classes are still held in the lower level of the church.
Winter 1950 The parish celebrates Christmas Eve in the new church building. Elementary classes more into the new building, utilizing the lower section.
1954 329 students, grades K – 8, attend the school, led by Sister M De Chantal.
1955 Bishop Schenk gives permission for the parish to build a separate school building, built by Powers Construction Company of Fargo.
April 1, 1956 Easter Sunday marks the ground breaking for the new school.

1957 – 1990

After operating for ten years in St. Francis de Sales’ Parish, in 1957, St. Francis de Sales’ School opens a separate building in north Moorhead. Construction for the new building began on Easter Sunday in 1956.

 

February 10, 1957 Dedication of new school.
1957 School attendance is 483 students, grades K – 8. Current and projected growth leads to a building fund campaign, which has a goal of collecting $150,000.
1958 Classrooms added to the third level, where church was located and gymnasium is added on to the existing building.
1976 School building is renovated and windows are replaced to make the building more energy efficient.
1984 Sister Mary Ann Welsch becomes principal of elementary school.
1987 Seperate 24 X 40 building is built as the new kindergarten room.
1988 The education endowment fund is established when a second grade student dies in an automobile accident. The gifts are invested and a percentage is made available for tuition aid, teacher salaries and technology.
July 1-2, 1989 The parish celebrates an all school reunion, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the school.
Fall 1990

Junior high classes are discontinued, due to
expense and declining enrollment.

School closes due to declining enrollment. School building is leased to Moorhead school district. St. Francis de Sales and St. Joseph schools consolidate as the Catholic elementary school for Moorhead, MN.

1991 – Present

St. Joseph’s School and St. Francis de Sales’ School consolidate as the Catholic elementary school for Moorhead. The school serves students through 6th grade.

St. Joseph’s School expands its building as a part of the Future Full of Hope Campaign. The 2009 dedication creates space to accommodate the new 7th and 8th grade classes introduced over the previous two years.

 

1991 Preschool curriculum is offered at St. Jospeh’s for the first time.
1997 Renovation of school building adds an elevator, making the building handicap accesible.
1998 School begins the 1st annual endowment campaign to provide financial aid for students, higher teacher compensation and completion of technology program.
Fall 1998 School has a population of 200 children, grades pre-kindergarten – 6. Teacher to student ratio is 1:18 in most classes.
Fall 2000 Valerie Ritland becomes principal of the school, with enrollment sitting at 177 students.
February 14, 2003 1st Annual auction, dinner, and dance is held to benefit the school. 275 people attend the event, raising $34,668.
Fall 2004 200 students are enrolled in grades pre-kindergarten – 6.
February 7, 2004 2nd annual auction, dinner, and dance is held, generating over $36,000. Over 270 people attended the event held at the Courtyard by Marriott in Moorhead, MN.
June 13, 2004 Sister Mary Ann Welsch, former principal of the school, passes away.
2005 Celebrating 125 years of Catholic primary education in Moorhead!
Fall 2008 Leslie Honebrink becomes principal with enrollment sitting at 252.
March 29, 2009 Dedication of the Future Full of Hope Project with Bishop Hoeppner presiding along with St. Joseph’s priest, Msgr. Mike Foltz.
May 2009 The first 8th Grade graduation from St. Joseph’s School since 1989.

Visit Our School

Stop in and see what our Benedictine Sisters have created, we would love to show you around!

~|icon_phone~|elegant-themes~|solid

218-233-0553
7:30 am – 2:45 pm

~|icon_pin~|elegant-themes~|solid
~|icon_mail~|elegant-themes~|solid