In 1936, both Center and Saddle Creek Streets were dirt roads. Street cars were being used as a mode of transportation on Leavenworth Street and Gorats was a drive-in restaurant serving chicken as their specialty. Jensen Dairy Farm ran from 46th-48th Streets, and dairy cows lined the streets! In 1936, Holy Cross School opened its doors for the first time. Fr. Paschang served as pastor of Holy Cross and under his guidance, Holy Cross began its mission of educating children in the Catholic faith. Sister Mary Rosria Fortin was the first principal of Holy Cross School, serving from 1936-1938; the first staff consisted of three Sisters of Mercy and one lay teacher. The graduating class of 1937 was 16 members strong; the entire school enrollment was 230, Kindergarten-8th Grade. In 1936, a rich tradition of faith-based academic excellence began.
In the late forties and early fifties, six new classrooms were added to the main school building and the primary building was added. In 1959, the enrollment reached 1400 children. The numbers fluctuated some for the next few years. In 1957, the school enrollment was 1216. There were three classrooms of fourth grade that year; two of them held 45 students, and one held 40. The largest class that year was one of the Kindergarten classrooms with 57 students! In 1964, the enrollment was 1230 students and 28 full-time teachers. The student-teacher ratio for the 1964 school year would have been 43-1. The Sisters of Mercy had a strong presence for many years and helped establish a strong Catholic foundation which we continue to build on today.
In 2012 as we celebrate our 75th year, Holy Cross is proud to serve 326 students. Many of our students can proudly boast that their parents and grandparents attended school here. Street cars no longer move families from place to place, the roads have been paved, and dairy cows no longer roam in the area. But, the rich tradition that began seventy-five years ago continues today; Holy Cross is proud to provide quality Christ-centered education here in the heart of Omaha.