The official ground breaking ceremony for Saint Leo the Great Church and School took place on April 22, 1959. This was followed by the memorable blessing and dedication of these new centers of worship, celebration, and education in June of 1960. The Sisters of Saint Francis of Glen Riddle, Pennsylvania, agreed to provide teaching sisters for the 1960-61 school year. School opened in September as planned with a faculty composed of four sisters and one lay teacher, Mrs. Doris Bailey. The students numbered 201 in grades one through four.
Since that first opening day, there have been numerous additions and changes to Saint Leo the Great School. In 1961, grades five and six were added, followed by grades seven and eight in 1962. As the size of the student body grew, the grades expanded to include one half-day Kindergarten. In 1992, a Preschool program was added. By the 2007 school year, Saint Leo’s had grown to include a student body of 600, with two classes for each grade from one through eight, three full-day Kindergarten classes, and eight preschool sessions.
Changes have also occurred in the faculty since that first day in 1960. As in other Catholic schools throughout the country, our faculty of 67 now consists entirely of lay educators. Our curriculum has also expanded beyond the core subjects of Religion, Math, Language Arts, and Science to include classes in Digital Media, Science Lab, Spanish, Music, Art, and Physical Education. We also have a formal program for those children requiring additional remediation in Reading and Math. A Speech teacher is available to provide services for those children who are identified as being in need of such assistance. These services are provided to us through state funding. In 1983, a full-time nurse was added to the staff as well. We also have the services of a full-time librarian/ media specialist.
In 1987, the Parish Arts and Athletic Center was built. This facility houses a regulation-size gymnasium and a state-of-the-art stage for theatrical productions. In September, 2002, an addition was built onto the existing school structure. Housed in this new wing are our Computer Lab, Science Lab, Early Childhood Center, a Special Services Classroom, and new Faculty Lounge. Additional changes to the use of the new wing occurred in 2007 when a new Tumbling Gymnasium, an additional Computer Lab dedicated specifically to our littlest students, an introductory Spanish program, full day preschool classes, and extended care hours were all added to our Early Childhood Center.
By 2010, we were able to install Promethium Boards (Electronic White Boards) in every classroom for grades Kindergarten through eight. In addition, an after school program called Peace of Mind was instituted. An extensive upgrade to our Playground was completed in 2010, and work began on updating our 50 year old cafeteria with a walk in refrigerator, and new, modern, roll-away cafeteria tables. In 2012 Nooks and iPads were integrated into the classrooms to assist and enhance classroom instruction.
In 2012 and 2018 Saint Leo’s was recognized in as a National Blue Ribbon school by the Department of Education. The Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that have placed in the top 10 percent on state or national assessments, among other criteria. This recognition represents the standard of excellence exhibited by the Saint Leo the Great community.
In 2013, to accommodate our increasing enrollment, a third Kindergarten class, as well as a third first grade, and a third fourth grade class were created.
A successful organization requires the help and support of many. The supporting organizations at Saint Leo the Great School include a Parent Teacher Association (PTA), an Athletic Association, a Father’s Club and a School Board.
The activities of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) center on fundraising, which supplements our classroom budgets to create or update our learning environments and our educational programs.
The Athletic Association oversees our athletic program which includes 10 sports for boys and girls and an intramural program. In addition to providing the physical benefits of rigorous exercise through a recreational model, their objective is to promote the values of honesty, loyalty, responsibility, courage, good sportsmanship and respect for authority.
The Father’s Club is a forum for fathers of Saint Leo’s students to get further involved with the Parish/school and their children, socialize, network and make friends.
The School Board is a Board of Delegated Responsibility. It serves as an advisory committee to the Pastor and Principal in matters such as strategic planning, finance, recruitment, development, and buildings and grounds.
Saint Leo the Great School is proud of its many accomplishments over the past fifty years and continues to raise the bar spiritually, academically, and athletically.