History


south-bend-catholic-schools

The origins of Christ the King School date back to the late 1940’s. People on the north side of South Bend began to call for a new school to meet the growing need for Catholic education in that part of town, so Christ the King joined with two other parishes – Little Flower and St. Joseph Farm Parish (now St. Pius X in Granger) to build a school on the campus of St. Mary’s College, which opened its doors in 1950.

It wasn’t long, however, before the new school was overcrowded. Since Christ the King was the largest of the three parishes, the pastor, Fr. Thomas Richards, agreed that they would provide a new school. So in 1953, only three years after joining the Campus School at St. Mary’s, Christ the King opened its own school. Temporary facilities were needed since ground hadn’t yet been broken on a school building. So men from the parish renovated several units from a federal wartime housing project into a makeshift classroom called “the Annex”.

And so, in September of 1953 the first students of Christ the King School assembled: a class of 27 1st-graders taught by Miss Louise Kleinrichert. New grades were added over the next few years, and classes were taught in both the Annex and the church basement as teachers and students anticipated the completion of their permanent home.

Their patience was rewarded in 1955, when a beautiful new school building finally opened its doors. A new pastor, Fr. Clement Funke, had arrived just as planning for the school began, and he saw this massive project through to completion. The school contained 12 classrooms and a large gymnasium/auditorium, with inner walls of painted concrete and outer walls of stone and brick. By 1956, grades 1 through 8 had all moved to the new building from the old Campus School. Six Holy Cross Sisters moved into the two-story convent along the south side of the Midland Engineering building. These sisters teamed with dedicated lay women to provide a sound Catholic education to the children of the parish.

The school continued to expand, with the addition of a kindergarten program in 1977 and the construction of a new primary school wing in 1979. Sadly, the 1990s saw the convent torn down, a building that had stood as a testament to the Holy Cross Sisters who served the church and school for so many years. But dedicated priests and laypeople carried on the legacy that these women had left behind, and the school they loved so much continued to thrive. Soon another new addition opened, housing impressive new facilities for art, music, science and technology. Bishop John D’Arcy, and the pastor, Fr. Thomas Jones, were on hand for the dedication of this wonderful new facility in March of 2002.