St. Joseph’s principal Marlene Suter (centre) shared a laugh with some of her students during a recent visit from the Star. The school is now 118 years old.

St. Joe’s turns 118

Private school started by pioneer nuns has stood the test of time.

There are only ten schools in B.C. that are a century old, and St. Joseph’s in Nelson is one of the oldest at 118. That’s pretty impressive for a school that started in a nun’s house.

“It’s a legacy, and as the principal I feel a great responsibility to continue the legacy,” principal Marlene Suter told the Star. “People really had to work to keep this place going because it’s not automatically funded, so the community investment is huge.”

During the 50th anniversary of Federation of Independent School Associations, a non-profit society in Victoria, St. Joseph’s was awarded with a plaque to recognize their longevity. They were thrilled.

“It’s kind of overwhelming. This is a school I attended from Grade 4 on and now my son is a student,” said school council chair Jennifer McDonnell.

“To look back at old pictures and feel that connection to history, it’s wonderful.”

Because it’s smaller than some other schools, both Suter and McDonnell believe the students benefit from closer social relationships.

St. Joseph’s started in 1897 at the invitation of Bishop Dottenwill. Sisters Teresa Kieran and Aloysius taught from their homes for the first year, before moving into their first building on Feb. 3, 1900.

The school initially had 84 students. By 1956 the building had to close the high school aspect of their program, but the current building opened in 1978.

McDonnell can’t wait to see how the school continues to grow and evolve.

“What does this school mean to me? It starts with the kids. Every time I step on the playground there’s always someone there to welcome you, and everyone’s taking care of each other.”

(CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story an incorrect name for the Federation of Independent School Associations.)

Just Posted

RDCK approves loan request to remediate Salmo tailings site

The H.B. Mine tailings pond poses a risk of toxic contamination

Nelson Brewing Company wins award

Hooligan Pilsner won first place at the B.C. Beer Awards

Ramona Faust re-elected to RDCK board

Faust defeated challenger Reggie Goldsbury

Leafs stretch winning streak to seven

Nelson routed Golden 7-3 on Saturday

VIDEO: John Dooley elected Nelson’s mayor

Logtenberg, Anderson, Woodward, Renwick, Morrison and Page elected to council

VIDEO: Monday Roundup!

Post-election, curling club, Salmo toxic tailings site, Castlegar airport reliability, and more

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Election watchdog seeks digitally savvy specialists to zero in on threats

Move follows troublesome evidence of online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election

More court before Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd case is extradited here

Appeals must be dealt with in Europe, before charges faced in B.C.

Crown says man guilty of B.C. girl’s 1978 murder based on alleged confession

Jury hears details of girl’s 1978 murder while Crown says man should be convicted of girl’s murder based on alleged confession.

BCHL alumni has NHL jersey retired by Anaheim Ducks

Paul Kariya played with the Penticton Vees from 1990-1992

Most Read