Saint Paul Catholic School traces its history back more than 150 years. Bishop John Henry Luers sent Father Michael O’Reilly, a native of Ireland, to Valparaiso in 1863 to minister to local Catholics. Saint Paul Catholic Church had been established in the late 1850s, but when Father O’Reilly arrived, he discovered it had closed due to financial troubles. Undaunted, he plodded on foot through the snow trying to locate a few Catholics. He rented a hall for two dollars a Sunday to say Mass. But Father O’Reilly had a bigger vision. As the congregation grew, he raised $8,000, purchased an acre of land, and initiated the building of a school.
Saint Paul’s Academy and Grammar School opened its doors in 1867. Sisters of Providence from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in Terre Haute taught core academic subjects as well as music, drawing, painting, and fine needlework. Under Father O’Reilly’s guidance, the school grew and expanded its offerings to include a choir, band, fife and drum corps, drama club, and other extracurricular programs.
Father O’Reilly died in 1887, but his vision endures. Saint Paul Catholic School outgrew the original acre lot he had purchased, and a new school was established at 1755 Harrison Boulevard in 2006. The current school features 14 state-of-the-art classrooms, a computer lab, science lab, 12,000-book library, art room, cafeteria, and gymnasium. Today, Saint Paul Catholic School’s campus bustles with activity, and more than three dozen faculty and staff members educate a diverse student body.
Although the address, name, and size of the school have changed dramatically since its founding, Father O’Reilly’s passion for education continues today with a long legacy of success in its wake,” said Jane Scupham, principal of Saint Paul’s Catholic School.
Graduates of Saint Paul Catholic School have gone on to become physicians, teachers, attorneys, entrepreneurs, priests, and professionals in a diverse array of fields. Mindful of the importance of serving others, a value that their SPCS teachers helped instill in them, graduates also enrich the communities where they live by sharing their time and talents through volunteer and philanthropic endeavors.