The History of St. James Catholic School

 

St. James Parish was established in 1904 to support Denver’s first suburb, Montclair. The Most Reverend Nicholas Matz, Bishop of Denver, appointed the young Irish priest, Reverend Hugh L. McMenamin, as the founding pastor. On November 7, 1909 Bishop Matz dedicated the new one-story stone church naming it for St. James the Less.

As World War II ended, Denver and Montclair experienced a boom and St. James became one of the fastest growing parishes in the diocese, overwhelming the tiny stone church. Father William V. Powers, the pastor at the time, and Archbishop Urban J. Vehr recognized the need for a larger church and asked the Civilian Production Administration, the World War II federal agency that controlled building materials, for permission to build a new church and school. The request was finally approved on August 26, 1946, and the three-story, red brick school building with a garden-level church was completed in 1948.

August of 1948 marked the opening of our beloved St. James School. The new school enrolled 380 students its first year and was staffed by six Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. The home at 1205 Oneida St. where Fr. McMenamin once lived with a pioneer parish family was remodeled and became the convent for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. The convent became the home to as many as thirteen sisters. During the late 1940s and early 1950s the school bulged with over 800 students. A Sister of Saint Joseph taught in almost every classroom and it was not unusual to find a class with over fifty students.

Today, St. James Catholic School is run by the laity with 19 teachers and over 200 students. The school boasts over sixteen classrooms, a spacious and fully equipped art room, a new technology center, and one of the largest full court gymnasiums in the Archdiocese. Fr,. Jesus Garcia (Pastor) and Mrs. Carol Hovell-Genth (Principal) are aided by full time lay teachers, full and part-time aides, support staff and volunteers. Many parents are actively involved as volunteers for certain student programs, field trips, and other events sponsored by the school.

St. James Catholic School continues to provide an authentically Catholic education rooted in the tradition of the Catholic Church and handed down with the love of Jesus Christ. St. James School is devoted to fostering virtuous students who desire to know the Truth and seek Him above all else.

St. James the Less
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