To educate and to foster the growth of each student: mind, body, and spirit.
St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Schools, united in Christ and guided by the spirit and educational values of St. Vincent, transform each student through the power of faith and knowledge.
Vincentian Educational Values
A Vincentian Education is -
Excellent - places quality at the center of educational activities.
Holistic - educates the heart, spirit, and mind.
Integrated - blends the abstract with the practical.
Creative and Flexible - seeks to meet the needs of a diverse student population.
Collaborative - engages in cooeprative endeavors with parents, students, administration, faculty, and staff.
Focused - strives to model St. Vincent de Paul and his mission of service to the poor.
History of St. Vincent de Paul Elementary School
To learn the history of St. Vincent Elementary School, one needs to first learn that Vincentian priests of the Congregation of the Mission were the very first priests to serve in the area presently known as Perry County or The Barrens as it was known many years ago. They built the Seminary, which was the first institution of higher learning west of the Mississippi River. St. Mary's of the Barrens or (Assumption) was the first Catholic church to serve the needs of area Catholics. To this day, Vincentian priests continue to serve at St. Vincent Parish and at the new Vincentian residential home for retired Vincentian priests.
The influx of German immigrants into Southeast Missouri necessitated the construction of St. Boniface Parish in 1866 and in 1869 the first resident pastor came. In 1887, the Precious Blood Sisters were the first to open a school for children. Later, the Ursulines replaced the Precious Blood Sisters. They opened a boarding school for the girls of St. Boniface Parish. It was believed that the boys were educated at the Seminary school at St. Mary's of the Barrens. In 1896, formal education had its beginning when the people of St. Mary's (Assumption) Parish saw the need for the English speaking children to have a school. This was the beginning of St. Vincent Grade School. The building was erected on the north side of St. Joseph Street on land donated by Dr. Waters. The initial enrollment of 33 students increased to 45 before the first school year ended.
The increased enrollment and the need for consistent professional teaching inspired the pastor, Father William Musson, C. M. and the parishioners to open negotiations with the Daughters of Charity to staff the school. A High School was also desired, so Father Musson acquired Dr. Shelby's house as a home for Sisters. In 1907, four Daughters of Charity arrived from Emmitsburg, Maryland to continue the work of Catholic education. This religious order faithfully served the people of Perryville for about 90 years.
By 1915, the old school was inadequate so the cornerstone for a new building, now known as the DePaul Building was laid by Father Thomas Finney, C.M. on the south side of St. Joseph Street. When classes began in the building in 1917, there were 10 Sisters on the faculty for a student body of 332 students in the grade school and high school. Until 1947, this building housed Kindergarten through Grade Twelve.
For forty years, both the Daughters of Charity and Ursuline Sisters served the educational needs of this community. In 1947, the Ursuline Sisters withdrew from St. Boniface Grade School. At this point in history, St. Boniface Grade School and St. Vincent Grade School were merged. The St. Boniface School Building became the Primary School for Kindergarten through Third Grade. The St. Vincent School Building taught grades Four through Twelve. Once again overcrowding became an issue and necessitated the building of a new High School Building. Under the leadership of Father Maurice Hymel, C.M. and Principal, Sister Clotilda Landry, D.C., a new school building was built on South Water Steet at its present location. In 1953, high school students moved from the St. Vincent School Building into the new location where it continues to provide a Catholic education for grades 7-12. Increased enrollment caused several additions to the Primary School. In 1978, a new trailer was added and then repeated again in 1980. In 1981, some of the primary grades moved into the old public school building which adjoined the property of St. Boniface. Even these additions proved to be inadequate.
In 1985, it was obvious that a new Primary School building was needed. The old buildings were no longer safe or practical to accommodate the growing number of students. The present Elementary Building was dedicated on August 30, 1987 by the Most Rev. John L. May, Archbishop of St. Louis. This new building was built to the east of the present DePaul building and for the first time in the history of St. Vincent Parish, all parish buildings were located on one campus. During the summer of 1992, the school went under a reorganization. Kindergarten through Sixth grade were housed in the new primary building, which was renamed St. Vincent Elementary School. Seventh through Twelfth grade students were housed in the high school building, which became the St. Vincent Junior/Senior High School. The older Grade School building was renamed the DePaul Building and is presently used for meeting rooms, band and music classes, Youth Ministry, and St. Vincent Preschool. St.Vincent Parish opened a pre-school for three and four year olds on September 6, 1994. At the present time, St. Vincent Parish operates a Pre-K through Grade 12 Catholic education system in Perryville.
Now all of the St. Vincent Parish Buildings are clustered together as a community of faith. A newly renovated church and attractive grounds have been the latest improvements. This history of Catholic education at St. Vincent Elementary School is a proud reminder of the faith and dedication of the people of this community for over 100 years.