The History of Saint Joseph Regional School
The original Saint Joseph School opened on August 30, 1886, and became one of the earliest parochial schools in all of New Hampshire. It was staffed by the Sisters of Mercy and there were approximately 300 students in attendance. It was a five classroom building that had a large assembly hall nestled inside. The assembly hall was used by both the school and the parish, and weekly whist parties were also held there in order to raise money for the school The five classrooms were used to instruct all eight grades, so it was common that classes and grades were doubled up in order to contain all of the original scholars.
The cornerstone of the current Saint Joseph School was laid in June of 1929 and classes officially began in January, 1930. With 16 classrooms, the school was finally large enough to handle the increasing enrollment, however there was a period in the 30's and 40's when the Sisters of Mercy lived in what is now the Middle School wing.
Saint Joseph School was built as a fireproof building, having been constructed with steel, brick, and cement. The only wood in the school lies in the floor of Armstrong Hall (now known as the gym) and the classroom doors. On the Wilson Street entrance, an embellished statuary is featured. Standing in the niche above the doors to Armstrong Hall is a nine foot statue of Saint Joseph. On either side of our school patron, the four evangelists can be found stretching above the roof line.
In 1975, the Sisters of Mercy left instruction of the school to the laity, and Saint Joseph's became a regional Catholic school. Also about this time, the school became a K-6 school due to inconsistent enrollments. In the 1990's, there was a renewed interest in generating a seventh grade program and it was installed in 1994, followed by an eighth grade in 1995. Today, Saint Joseph Regional School resides in the same classic building from 1930 and offers a Pre-Kindergarten through 8th Grade curriculum with a before- and after-school care enrichment program.
With the Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis recalls the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father has proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from today, 8 December 2020, to 8 December 2021.