St. Rose School has been serving St. Rose Parish and surrounding parishes and communities for more than 60 years.
In 1927 the establishment of St. Rose Parish was decreed by the Most Rev. Edward J, O’Dea, Bishop of Seattle, who attached to the new parish the missions at Kalama, Woodland, Castle Rock and Cathlamet. Priests who served St. Rose as pastor between its establishment as a parish in 1927 and its becoming a diocesan church in 1941 included: the Rev. Leonard Bose, its first pastor (1927-1930); the Rev. Luke Powleson (1930-1934); the Rev. Victor Bucher (1934-1937); the Rev. Clarence Manns (1937-1940); and the Rev. Humilis Wise (1940-1941).
In 1941, St. Rose became a diocesan parish when the Most Rev. Gerald Shaughnessy, Bishop if Seattle appointed the Rev. Patrick Mulligan as pastor. In 1946, Fr. Mulligan and parishioners addressed the need for a parochial school. He asked for and received permission to build a 10-room school with a gymnasium and library. Four lots adjoining the parish property were acquired to provide playground and parking space. In 1948, the parish acquired more property and a temporary residence for the teaching staff of the school. On October 17, 1949, ground was broken for the new school; the school was completed in the summer of 1950.
Sisters of St. Joseph of Newark arrived to operate the school, which opened on September 5, 1950, with an enrollment of 260 students, from kindergarten to sixth grade inclusive. The staff consisted of six Sisters and one lay teacher. The Sisters were: Sister M. Victor, Principal, Sister M. Baptist, Sister Clara Mary, Sister Claver, Sister M. Aloysius and Sister M. Josepha. Dedication and blessing of the new school (and convent, which was completed in November) by the Most Rev. Thomas A. Connolly, Bishop of Seattle, took place on December 3, 1950.
The seventh grade was added the following year and the eighth grade the year after that. On May 29, 1953, St. Rose graduated its first eighth grade class of 40 students. The Rev. Patrick Mulligan, pastor of St. Rose, spoke to the class and presented the diplomas. Sister Cecilia Marie Gri was principal.
Enrollment at St. Rose School has varied over the years, reaching, at one point, as many as 400, and dropping to a low of 118, causing some to be concerned about the school’s future. However, St. Rose Parish and its parishioners overwhelmingly supported keeping the school open. Parents of students worked tirelessly to make it a reality and although circumstances necessitated that some of the upper grades be dropped in the 1970’s, in 1994 a fund-raising campaign resulted in the decision to add grades 6, 7, and 8 back to the school. It now serves students from pre-school age three through eighth grade.
Enrollment gains and the need for modern computer and science facilities spurred the school to build a new wing in 2007. The new wing houses fully equipped science and computer labs, a spacious art room, three Middle School classrooms and a library, as well as administrative offices.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace were here at the beginning. Many of them served as principal, starting with Sister Victor Desaulniers, our first principal (1950-52), followed by Sister Cecilia Marie Gri (1952-55), then Sister Margaret Wood (1955-59); Sister Anna Mary Brown (1959-67); and Sister Elizabeth Linane (1967-69). Lay personnel filled the principal role for the next few years: Ed Stone (1969-71); Vincent Zanobelli (1971-74); Patricia Pratt (1974-76); Doug Perry (1976-77); and Eva Kenny (1977-81). Sister Barbara Collier (Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary) served from 1981-85 and Sister Rosalie Cooper from 1985-86. Denise Doerfler took over as principal from 1986-91; Sister Margaret Lederer (Sisters of Notre Dame) held the position from 1991 to 1996 and Kay Purcell from1996-2008. Rosemary Griggs was principal from 2008 to 2012; Chester Novitt served from 2012 to 2014; Dr. Gary Udd took over in 2014 through 2016 and Cathy Strader is our current principal.
St. Rose School continues its mission to serve parents, students and families who want their children to have a faith-based education with acadmic excellence. In addition to core curriculum areas, Students have additional opportunity for growth through band, choir, hand-bell choir, Destination Imagination, the annual Middle School musical, girls and boys sports, community service projects and languages.