Marist turns 55

The beginning of the 2018-2019 school year marks the 55th anniversary of the opening of Marist High School on September 9, 1963.  Rather than just record this as another historical milestone, it is important to remember that to know where we are going requires of knowledge of where we have come from.  Here are some of the beginnings.

Brother Gerard Brereton, one of the original faculty members of Marist High School, has this to say about the first day in the life of Marist High School:

”Around 7:30 AM on Monday, September 9, 1963, we nine Marist Brothers arrived at the school from our temporary residence at Tolentine Seminary (203rd and Dixie Highway).  We came in a black station wagon donated by Father John Ireland Gallery, the legendary pastor of St. Christina’s.  The previous January, the first Marist entrance exam had taken place there.  The first freshman class consisted of 320 boys, including 80 from St. Christina.

Before the students arrived we joined Mr. Pfleger and Father McNamara for a faculty photo.  Brother Pius Xavier, the founding principal had this picture taken at the top of the staircase on the second floor of the school’s east wing that overlooks what is now the football stadium.  Note the light bulb dangling from the ceiling and the paper covering the uncompleted flooring.”


Photo taken September 9, 1963

Back Row (L-R): Brother Damian Bruneau, Brother Patrick Tobin, Brother Mark Buckley, Brother Paul Wilfred, Brother George Fontana, Brother Gerard Brereton, Mr. James Pfleger
Front Row (L-R): Father McNamara, Brother Patrick Hart, Brother Pius Xavier (principal), Brother Ronald Pasquariello


Brother Gerard continues his narrative by saying, “Brother Pius’ office small office was directly behind the camera (now the Religion Department office) and until that Christmas all the classes (there were only freshmen that year) beginning and ending with a hand-held school bell, were in the unfinished classrooms on that second floor – flooring, ceiling, tile, and window blinds yet to be installed (now the religion hallway). 

secretaryBr._Pius lunch_in_homeroom

The office for Brother Pius’ secretary, Mrs. Virginia Kennedy (left), was located in what is now Joel Vickers’ classroom.  Note the precursor to the computer on Mrs. Kennedy’s desk.

The large room facing the cemetery at the end of the hallway (now rooms 221 and 223) was used to sell little cartons of milk during the lunch period. (Br. Pius is photographed in the center selling milk.) Students ate lunch brought from home in their homerooms (right).

Two other photos below tell an interesting piece of the early days of Marist High School.  When the school was built, the circle drive in front of the main office did not exist and the frontage road we now know ended where the two houses appear in the pictures.  Legend has it that the homeowner was vehement in his refusal to sell the property, but clearly some agreement was reached!

campus_1963 campus_1963b

As we celebrate our 55th year, the challenge is to make this a year of gratitude, reflection, and planning for Marist.

Perhaps there are students in our school who will be the teachers, counselors, and administrators when Marist celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2063-2064.  What will they say about the history and journey of Marist High School?  Will they see us as people who lived out the legacy of Marist’s first founders?  Will they feel that they are standing on our shoulders as we are now standing on the shoulders of those Brothers and lay people who came before us?

The singer Joyce Rouse in her song “Standing on the Shoulders” offers us encouragement to see what we are doing in 2018-2019 as just as important as what our founders did in 1963-1964.

            We are standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before us,

            They are saints, and they are humans, they are angels, they are friends.

            We can see beyond the struggles and the troubles and the challenge,

            When we know that by our efforts things will be better in the end.


            I am standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before me.

            I am honored by their passion for our liberty.

            I will stand a little taller, I will work a little longer.

            And my shoulders will be there to hold the ones who follow me.


The success and future of Marist High School will be due to many factors, but perhaps none more important than our willingness to offer our shoulders to those who will follow us.

The theme of our science center campaign is “Fai†h in the Fu†ure.”  That theme is about more than a science center.  It is a statement that implies we are a part of something bigger than ourselves, something bigger than the present moment or present school year.  It means that we believe that somehow, in some way, God is leading us and challenging us to trust Him and to help create the future as we continue on our individual and collective journeys.


To face all of this, we will need courage.  We will need energy.  We will need vision.  We will need to be at ease with ourselves and our decisions.

Above all, like the psalmist, we will need to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord, our God, until God lets us rest.

And then we will know, as we have always known, that the effort was worth the gift of our lives, the best of our years, the length of our days.

-Sister Clare Dunn, CSJ and Sister Judy Lovchik, CSJ

Happy 55th Anniversary!




Br. Hank Hammer, FMS