a flourishing legacy

A Flourishing Legacy

Sacred Heart School was established March 25, 1949

in ground-breaking ceremony on the John Gallagher, Sr. property (the site of the first Mass ever held in Wadsworth) on the corner of Broad Street and Humbolt Avenue. Msgr. Oldrich J. Korab, Pastor of Sacred Heart Church, and then Auxiliary bishop Floyd Begin (he later became Bishop of Oakland, California) turned the first shovel-full of dirt to start a legacy for an institution that has flourished from the day of its founding.

Joseph and Katherine Bender, a very generous but childless couple, who lived next to Sacred Heart Church, donated the land on which this school was built. Both Joe and Katherine were devout Catholics who attended Mass every morning. This was just another display of their generosity to Sacred Heart Parish. In 1915, the Benders donated land to build the first Sacred Heart Church. Prior to this, Mass was celebrated in the Gallagher house.

Vincentian Sisters of Charity (VSC) from Bedford, Ohio, staffed the school from 1949 to 1999. Lack of sisters forced the school to become staffed nearly entirely by lay teachers and administrators after that point. The first sisters were Sister Mary Anthony (principal), Sister Mary Michael, Sister Rosalia and Sister Ignatius Loyola. Each taught two grades and began teaching the original 110 students in the basement of the Church until the school was ready for occupancy. The curriculum was highly structured and basic, with no music, art or physical education teachers, except, in some instances, when parishioners would serve in these capacities.

The original one-floor building contained a cafeteria on the first floor and a meeting room and storage room in the basement. In 1950, The Patrons Club was formed and initiated a school lunch program headed by Jane Witschey. Alvera Patti followed Mrs. Witschey and remained in that position until her retirement many years later.

Sacred Heart School was the first Catholic school in Medina County. By 1957, within eight years of opening, it outgrew its capacity necessitating adding a second floor with six additional rooms and office space. Once again, due to growing enrollment, the school needed more space. So, under the direction of Father James Conry, an addition completed in 2005 included more classrooms, offices, and a new gymnasium. Several major renovations took place during the summer of 2008, including a new heating and cooling system, to provide air conditioning to all rooms of the school. Restrooms were renovated and windows were replaced in the old section of the building.  In an effort to insure students will have access to state of the art science and technology equipment, Sacred Heart of Jesus School underwent another transformation during the summer of 2014.  Under the leadership of Principal Bill Adams, a new Science and Technology wing was added along the Broad Street entrance.  This addition allowed for up-to-date science equipment and new computers to be added to the students’ learning curriculum.

Agnes Nedoh was the first lay teacher, followed by Madonna DiPietro. Mrs. Joan Thompson was the first lay principal. Mrs. Tracey Arnone was the first alumna principal of Sacred Heart of Jesus School.

Provided by Dr. Caesar Carrino, Wadsworth Historian

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