In 1949 the first Kindergarten class began in St. James School. The Kindergarten was first located in the white house behind the convent that was once occupied by Villa Maria Academy. Later Kindergarten classes were held in the Primary wing of the school when it was completed in 1955.
At right: The first kindergarten graduating class of 1950
More About the 1950s
Mary Jessel Clarke and life-long parishioner, Jeanne McCauley Trott, were both in the St. James Class of 1952. In 1944 they began first grade in the original 1905 three-classroom school. The next year the new two-classroom building, built from gifts Father Mullarkey received on his Silver Jubilee, was completed and Mary and Jeanne attended second grade in one of these new classrooms. Each following year, Mary and Jeanne attended school in a new classroom as construction continued of the current school building. This large eighth grade graduation class of 72 students was the last class to go through St. James School attending each grade together in a single classroom. This was also the last class to graduate that was not required to wear a school uniform.
Mrs. Mary Jessel Clarke is most remembered as one of St. James School’s beloved Kindergarten teachers (1970-2009). After retiring from teaching, Mrs. Clarke has stayed at St. James as a counselor in the Extended Day program to this day. Before teaching, Mrs. Clarke was a St. James School student and, together with her husband, Jim, were school parents while their sons were in attendance at St. James.
(the class of 1952 with 72 students, Mary Jessel Clark)
Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Mary Clarke (left) and First Grade teacher Mrs. Mary Delaney (right)
Retired teachers for whom the Delaney-Clarke fund is named.