Our History

Principals of St. Mary's:

1907-1927 Sister Mary Lioba
1928-1930 Sister Mary Petranda
1930-1933 Sister Mary Alberta Boegemann
1933-1937 Sister Mary John Hartleib
1937-1944 Sister Antoinette McCarthy
1944-1950 Sister Euphrasia Balge
1950-1956 Mother Loretto Gies
1956-1962 Sister Mary Stella Murray
1962-1964 Sister Mary Antoinette McCarthy
1964-1971 Sister Mary Carmelita Farwell
1971-1980 Sister Gemma Golino
1981-1987 Sister Barbara Frank
1987-1990 Sister Maureen McGoey
1990-1997 Gary Leduc
1997-1999 Bernie Farwell
1999-2003 Cathy Horgan
2003-2010 Theresa Horan
2010-2016 Gale Daly
2016-present John Dietrich

St. Mary's High School has undergone many changes throughout its history. From its beginnings as a convent school, St. Mary's has transformed itself many times. Not only has the focus and purpose of the school evolved over time, so has its physical shape changed.

The evolution of the school has been traced below. But this in no way is a complete history. The full history of the school lives on in the memories and legacies of former students. The spirit and traditions of the alumni continues in the students of St. Mary's today. We honour the sacrifices and the dedication of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, the founders of St. Mary's High School.


(as recorded in the SMH Yearbook, 1961)

Volume 1 (1907)

St. Mary's High School, at the corner of Weber and Ontario Streets, Kitchener, offers a Catholic High School Education to prepare students to continue their education at college, to enter the professions or the business world; in short, to make worthwhile contributions to sound Canadian Catholic life.

How did this institute come into being and develop to its present status? Originally, the school was established as a preparatory school for girls interested in becoming School Sisters of Notre Dame. However, from the very beginning, it also admitted Catholic girls interested only in abtaining a Catholic High School Education.

The school first opened under the name St. Anne's Convent School. Sister M. Lioba, the first principal, laid the foundation of St. Mary's High School which has continued uninterruptedly to offer the opportunities of a Catholic high School to girls of Kitchener.

Volume 2 (1930)

The opening of Notre Dame Academy, Waterdown, offered superior facilities to the students attending St. Anne's School. The school was transferred to Waterdown on February 14th, 1927.

In September 1928, Sister Mary Petranda, the principal of St. Mary's High School, realizing the need for secondary school education for girls in this city, offered the Grades 9 and 10 courses until better accommodations were available. Two years later, St. Mary's Parish placed at the disposal of the Separate School Board, 4 classrooms, which had been added to St. Mary's Parish Hall and gymnasium. This allowed grades 9 to 12 courses to be taught at the "new" facilities. Sister Mary Alberta, the first principal of this new unit saw the school grow in numbers, but also in facilities. In 1938 Commercial, and in 1939, Home Economics were added.

Other principal's who gave leadership to the school were Sister Mary John, Sister Mary Antoinette, and Sister Mary Euphrasia. Two additional classrooms were provided in 1944. Ever widening facilities were added from year to year. The first formal graduation exercises gave tangible evidence of the high standards, which the school maintained.

Volume 3 (1955)

St. Mary's High School which had uninterruptedly served the Catholic parishes of Kitchener for 48 years, enlarged its accommodations and added to its curriculum as the need arose and standards of education advanced. But the mounting enrollment figures taxed the second unit beyond capacity, so that an additional building became imperative. Accordingly, the board of Governors, consisting of the pastors of the Twin-City parishes, provided a new building, which, on December 13, 1955, was blessed by his excellency, most Reverend J.F. Ryan, Bishop of the Diocese.

The new building contained 12 regular classrooms, a small library, a principal's office, 2 teacher's rooms, and a bright, spacious lower-floor cafeteria able to accommodate 450 persons. The home Economics and Commercial Departments as well as the Science Laboratories were enlarged, equipped and modernized in keeping with the trends in education and business.

No one was happier on this occasion than the principal, Sister M. Loretto, who had served the school for 20 years, first as a teacher, then as a principal. When she was elected Provincial Superior of the school Sisters of Notre Dame in Waterdown, in 1956, Sister M. Stella, the present principal, was named her successor.

Volume 4 (1961)

The final stage of a long-range plan to connect all buildings compromising St. Mary's was reached, when, on September 18, 1961, Reverend R.M. Haller, representing his Excellency, Bishop Ryan, cut the ribbon at the Ontario Street entrance of the new wing of St. Mary's High School.

Pastors and parents had made a superlative effort to provide adequate classroom space, enlarged and improved facilities in the library, the science labs, the guidance and commercial departments. The intercommunication system, a gift of the students, which had been installed in the 1955 addition, was enlarged to connect to all units of the school. All these improvements are in keeping with the aims of St. Mary's --to give its students the best in academic proficiency, in moral excellence and in social amenities.

Much of St. Mary's High School story will never be recorded. It is, however, being written in the lives of its graduates, who are continually spelling out our motto, "VIRTUS ET SCIENTIA."


1907 1910 1927 1928 1929 1930 1934 1938 1939 1941 1944 1954 1955 1959 1961 1967 1971 1974 1978 1979 1980 1990 1995 1999 2002 2003 2004 2005 2007
St. Ann's Convent School. Preparatory school for candidates interested in becoming School Sisters of Notre Dame and girls eager to obtain a Catholic High School Education. First class opened with nine students in the Old Pierce Terrace(White House) later referred to as the Choir Studio. First Graduating Class prepared for Teacher's College School transferred to the new Mother house Academy at Waterdown, Ontario. Grades 9 to 12 opened in St. Mary's Elementary School. Classes were also taught at Sacred Heart and St. Louis Schools. Grades 9 to 12 accommodate in four classrooms offered to the Separate School Board by St. Mary's Parish. These classrooms had been built above the Parish Hall and Gymnasium. School became known as St. Mary's High School and opened its doors to 45 students. Grade 13 established with Grade Nine graduates. Commercial Department incorporated onto the curriculum Home Economics course introduced. Classes again held at Sacred Heart School. First Formal Graduation exercise held. Two additional classrooms provided over Rosary Hall, the original White House. A new uniform---blue blazer, grey skirt, and saddle shoes. Blessing of the west wing which incorporated a new school front, library, offices, classrooms, and cafeteria for 400 students. First Year book The centre wing was opened with enlarged library, labs, and commercial department. Chapel created. Kilts became a part of the uniform Extra classrooms obtained in elementary school. Portable unit housing four classrooms built in the quadrangle Additional space acquired in St. Jerome's and portables on that property. Demolition of the Pierce building and construction began on new south wing. New South wing opened with enlarged gym and stage. 260 graduates donned caps and gowns. SMH becomes co-educational. First Lay Principal. Classes in five different buildings. St. Jerome’s Campus opens including English, Art, Business, History and Technolgy departments. Library is also relocated to the second floor Major changes and additions to teaching staff and administration We say goodbye to our 85 year old home and move to our new site.
New shool opens at Block Line Road. Five portables are included at the new school because of increased enrollment. Student uniform changed to reflect the new school
The school is dedicated by Bishop Anthony Tonnos and an open house welcomes new community members as well as returning alumni.
Eight portables are added to the site as enrolment grows.
Subject Awards for the top student in each class are instituted.
Kitchener Public Library opens the Country Hills branch at St. Mary's.
The kilt is discontinued as part of the school uniform for new grade 9 students.
Enrolment continues to grow to over 2,000 students. A self contained portable unit with a hallway, 11 classrooms and washrooms is installed on the west side of the school over one set of tennis courts. Enrolment continues to grow to over 2,200 students. Two additional portables are added to the east side of the school.