In 1925, Bishop Francis Kelley established St. Francis of Assisi as the fourth parish of Oklahoma City. In 1927, Fr. John van den Hende, a missionary priest from Belgium, became the third pastor and established St. Francis School at 18th and N. Young’s St.
The Sisters of Mercy served as the faculty of the school during its first ten years. They lived at the convent of Mount St. Mary. Records show that 45 students were enrolled on September 10, 1928, and by the end of the second year there were 70 students. In 1932, grades one through eight were established.
The school was moved to the present parish grounds because of overcrowding, and in 1934, the frame building was moved to the East Side of where the present school stands. The school occupied the main floor space of the Meerschaert House.In 1938, Fr. Van der Grinten renamed the school, and the Dominican Sisters arrived and began a 47-year commitment to quality education at Rosary School. The new school year opened with 73 pupils in nine grades. There were 200 students during the 1940 term.
During the 40’s, many extracurricular activities became available. A strong scouting program for boys and girls was established with volunteer leadership. A strong emphasis on sports began during this time and continues today in soccer, basketball, volleyball, and baseball. Students also participate in the annual Catholic Grade School Association Track Meet.
In 1944 work began on a new school building to accommodate an ever-growing school population. The school was to be a two-story building with four classrooms on each floor and would have all the latest facilities. It was ready for the 1944-45-school term.
1950 was the last year that Rosary graduated a ninth grade class due to the opening of Catholic Central High School (Bishop McGuinness). Enrollment fluctuated from 280-350 during the next 11 years.
In 1954, the first lay teacher, Janice McGee, joined the Rosary faculty. In the mid-fifties, a cafeteria was added to the East End of the school. A classroom, office, school store, and teacher’s lounge were gradually added to the East End of the second floor. This space is currently used as a library.
Between 1966 and 1968 enrollment began to drop, but with the closing of St. Patrick’s School in 1969, many students transferred to Rosary. The school’s enrollment reflected 334 pupils. The first floor of the Meerschaert House was remodeled for the primary grades.
In 1970, Pastor George Wagner established the St. Francis Board of Christian Education. During the 1970’s, school enrollment fluctuated from 215 to 275 students. In 1979, a half-day kindergarten was added to the school.
In 1980, Spanish was included in the curriculum for the first time. A before- and after-school supervised care program was provided to meet the needs of working parents.
In 1984, a half-day preschool program was established for three and four year olds, and computer education was introduced. In 1985, Jim Machell became the first lay principal of Rosary School.
In 1991, a “3 R’s Campaign” was conducted to finance the addition of computer and science classrooms and administrative offices on the West End of the school.
In 1995, the “Challenge ‘95” campaign was held to build a new gym and to buy a home to expand the preschool program.
In 2006, the Love Family Foundation gave a donation that allowed the building of an addition of 4 new classrooms, which included a new Early Childhood Center for our 4 year old pre-school children.