The first session of St. Joseph’s high school was held in the small east room of the Knights of Columbus hall, which had been the St. Joseph’s Grade school before being moved from its previous location where the present grade school now stands. The new St. Joseph’s Grade and high school opened for classes in the fall of 1922. The first floor accommodated the eight grades, two grades in each room and one nun to teach per room. The two east rooms on the second floor provided space fro the high schools students and those who registered for the 2-year business course. Two Franciscan nuns arrived from the convent in LaFayette to organize and teach in the new Catholic high school.
There were no desks in the beginning. Tables and folding chairs accommodated two students per table and the only space for test books was at wither end of the table. after the first year or two, funds were available to purchase individual desks. Fr.Paulinus Kranz was the pastor at that time and he taught church history. Algebra, literature, english and latin were required subjects. For the first few years, the high school was not accredited by the state and students who wanted to further their education had to pass a test before they could enter college. In 1927, the High school was accredited and approved by the state. From the 13 avid students that started the four- year course in the new high school, only two finished the prescribed assignments and graduated may 30, 1926.
The first graduates from the business course received their diplomas in 1942. The first girls basketball team was organized. in the 30’s Sister Leontina was sent to teach in the high school. She stands out in the memories of all who knew her for she was a dignified, highly respected lady who taught etiquette and insisted on its use at all times. she stated the sport of basketball in this community and was actually the first coach. John Perrier and Bill Blaufuss were acting coaches. The girls basketball team was organized about 1937 and felt really “with it” in “Jayhawks blue” bloomers and white shirts.
The members of the catholic parish realized the necessity of a Catholic education for their children. in 1886, only a year after the dedication of the catholic church, a small one-room school was built just north of the present school. a total of 24 students enrolled and were taught by a lay teacher, Mr. Frank Musholtz, until the arrival of the Franciscan Sisters in 1905.in 1901 a new school was put into use. The original building being sold. by 1911, the school was overcrowded, but with the erection of the new couch the old church building was used for classrooms for the first four grades. this school building, along with the old church were used for classes until the construction of the present day brick structure dedicated on September 4 1922. The first floor of the new school was occupied by the grade school and the second floor was used by the high school. The old school was purchased by the Nights Of Columbus and served as a social and recreational center.
In 1952, St, Joseph’s closed the high school, when the new public high school was built, but continued teaching grades one through eight. the school yeah 1968-1969 was the last term catholic nuns taught in St. Joseph’s grade school. since the time, six grades have been taught by lay teachers and the seventh and eighth graders were transferred to Olpe Junior high.
A new Olpe High School District #8 was established. On may @8, 1951, City Ordinance #225 was passed, deeding the tract of land owned by the city to the newly formed district, the school board, elected at an open-air meeting, were: Emil Rossillom, President; Ralph Jones, Treasurer; and Joe Arndt, Clerk.