History of St. Raphael

Choir Practice 1956
St Raphael Nuns 1966 1967

It's hard telling just what Sister told the kds, but there's no doubt that she got results.  The lustily-singing youngsters are in St. Raphael Parish School, and sister M. Joseph Dolores, of the School Sister of Notre Dame, is doing the conducting.  They are among the 3000 parochial school children who will take part in the ninth annual Archdiocesan Elementary School Song Festival next Friday, March 6.

1966 - 1967

Left to right: Sr. Margaret Marie impellizzeri, St. Margaret Cortona Hurst, Sr. Marina Langhorst, Sr. Therese Maureen, Sr. Jana Joukup, Sr. Clementcele Duerfahred, Sr. Chabanel Dalton (Sister Pat)

A brief history...

On January 21, 1951, Auxiliary Bishop John P. Cody officiated at the ground breaking for the St. Raphael the Archangel School.  Despite the restrictions of the Korean War, school construction proceeded rapidly; and the two-story building opened on September 12, 1951, with 337 students.  The School Sisters of Notre Dame staffed the school with Sr. Mary Clarice Desaulniers as principal.  By 1965 enrollment reached 390, reflecting the number of young families in the parish.  After the new church building opened in 1967, work began to convert the old church area into a gym that opened on September 7, 1969.

The 1970s saw the withdrawal of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.  The last Notre Dame sister, principal Sr. Susan Marie Hoffman, left in 1979.  The new lay principal, Mr. Glennon Mertens, guided the school from 1979 to 1996.  Reflecting the end of the baby boom, school enrollment dropped to a low of 124 in 1980 before rising to 191 in 1995.  In 2001, the parish embarked on a capital campaign to improve the school.  Construction began in the summer of 2002 and the additions saw completion by September 2003.  At the north end of the building, a new wing added science and computer rooms and additional classroom space.  A new east entrance gave the school an expanded administrative area, modernized restrooms, and an elevator that provides handicapped accessibility to all four levels of the school complex.  In 2009 pastor Msgr. Henry Breier announced plans to begin a pre-school program in the fall of 2010. 

With the increasing popularity of our preschool program, St. Raphael has offered a summer camp program all summer long.  The school has also seen many improvements to both the facility and the curriculum throughout the last few years.  Air-conditioning was added to both the first floor and second floor and now the entire school is fully air-conditioned.  Our technology throughout the school has grown as well.  With a new server system installed, every student can access all their saved work at home at any time.  In addition, we currently have over 100 Google Chromebooks that go to different classrooms and allow the students to work on a variety of school subjects.  Our Kindergarten classroom has seen the addition of iPads and in 2015 we opened "Discovery Town, " a learning center for preschool through third grade.

With a renewed commitment to Catholic education, the students at St. Raphael returned to daily Mass in the 2013.  This has added to a sense of calm to the beginning of each school day and, along with all the other improvements, has re-enforced our motto, "Formed in Faith, Prepared for Life."

St. Raphael Principals

1951 to 1972 - Sr. Mary Clarice Desaulniers

1972 - Sr. Mary Jano   

1972 - 1976 - Sr. Patricia 

1976 - Sr. Marilyn Anger

1976 to 1979 - Sr. Susan Marie Hoffman

1979 to 1996 - Mr. Glen Mertens

1996 to 2006 - Mrs. Sue Brown

2006 to 2010 - Ms. Margaret Kenny

2010 to 2012 - Mr. Peter Abegg

2012 to 2017 - Mrs. Kim Vangel

2017 to present - Mrs. Julie Hayes