BRIEF HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH CATHOLIC SCHOOL/ MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL ENID, OKLAHOMA
In 1901, Father Gustave Depreitere was appointed as the first Pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church in Enid. By the following year the parishioners felt the need of a Catholic education for their children. Plans were made to construct a two-story brick building for the school in the 600 block of West Randolph. Father Depreitere procured six nuns from the Sisters of Divine Providence in San Antonio, Texas to staff the school. On October 5, 1904 St. Joseph’s Institute first opened its doors to 150 students. All twelve grades were offered with college preparatory courses. In 1925 the school received Full State Accreditation because of the excellence of its curriculum.
In 1942 there were nine Sisters of Divine Providence on the staff of St. Joseph’s Institute. Nearly 250 pupils were enrolled. The school building was too small to accommodate everyone. Under the guidance of Father Stephen A. Leven, the Sisters were moved into newly purchased residences on West Randolph and the old school building was renovated so that it could be used as a grammar school. Three additional Sisters were expected for the opening of the new high school.
On November 11, 1949, Bishop Eugene J. McGuinness dedicated Enid Memorial High School on the site of the first Catholic church in Enid, which Bishop Theophile Meershaert had dedicated on May 1, 1900. Approximately 1,000 persons were present for the unveiling of the commemorative plaque containing the names of the 229 fallen heroes of World War II from Garfield County on the east façade of the new high school.
After the high school was completed, now Monsignor Leven launched the plans for a gymnasium and auditorium, which was dedicated by Bishop McGuinness on December 21, 1952. A new grammar grade school building was completed in 1955 at the corner of Randolph and Monroe.
The cost of education soared as more lay teachers had to be hired so it was necessary to close the high school in 1968. During its 64-year history, 768 students graduated from its halls. The grammar school was kept open, but seven years later in 1975 it too was closed and there was no Catholic school in Enid for a quarter century.
In 1999 under Father James Mickus, the Vision 2000 campaign was initiated to reopen the parish school. With the help and generosity of the parishioners and the Holy Spirit, the initiative was a success. St. Francis Xavier and St. Gregory the Great Parishes cooperated in the funding and governance of the school. On August 9, 2001 Archbishop Eusebius J. Beltran re-dedicated St. Joseph Catholic School. In 2005, the school regained its Full State Accreditation. As of 2012, the school has been reopened for eleven years and offers a quality Catholic education for children in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 5.