Students heading back to class at St. Jude Thaddeus School in Havre had a special treat the first day of class — some birthday cake celebrating the school’s 95th year in operation.
St. Jude’s has a long history and tradition of parochial education in the community.
When the school opened in September 1916, it saw an enrollment of 100 students in the first four grades, taught by two nuns enrolled in the order of Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity.
The school grew to 300 students by 1918, taught by six nuns. The school opened a high school in 1924, but that closed in 1929. The school reopened a high school, Havre Central High School, in 1949, but that closed in 1968 as fewer and fewer nuns continued to teach and the cost of hiring lay teachers outstripped the church’s budget.
This year the school has stopped, for now, using the Havre Central building, where the middle school grades have been taught. That is due to high expenses outweighing the number of students in sixth- through eighth-grades. All grades now are taught in the main elementary school building, although the Havre Central gymnasium continues to be in use.