“In the beginning, we were very poor. The area was nothing. Glenridge Drive wasn’t even paved,” said Sister Sally White, the school’s first principal. “It literally takes my breath away to see how the school has evolved. When we moved in, there were just two houses down the road, and the area just exploded around the school. It’s very exciting and wonderful for me to go back.”
White served as principal for the school for the first seven years of its existence. It turned 50 in September.
To celebrate the school’s longevity, school officials hosted a picnic and open house in August and a dinner dance gala in October. The school will also host other events, throughout the academic year, including a ladies tea, service project and cocktail party.
The school is family oriented, with almost 50 alumni parents currently at the school. The first third-generation St. Jude student is in kindergarten this year, according to Nida Mudd, the school’s development coordinator.At the school’s kickoff anniversary event, Principal Patty Childs unearthed a time capsule, which was buried by students 25 years ago and intended to be opened on the school’s 50th anniversary.
Many of the artifacts found in the capsule were written by grade school students who are now parents of St. Jude students.
White said she attributed the school’s success to the parents.
“It’s the parents and the teachers,” she said. “Their wonderful high standards, and the students are solidly good kids. I’m not sure if I ever taught such good kids.”
White recalled when the school first opened that it was just one room running on a shoestring budget.
She and several other formal principals and alumni spoke at the October dinner gala about their time at St. Jude.
Elaine Waidelich, the school’s other development coordinator, sent her son Brian to St. Jude, and believes the school has been successful because of the values it stands for.
“The fact that it represents faith, family and friends,” she said, “that’s really important to the longevity of the school.”