St. Patrick's Hall School Alumni

St Pat's, as it is affectionately called, has a colourful history. It was established in 1826 in a building erected by the Benevolent Irish Society(B.I.S.) and known as The Orphan Asylum school, on land,provided by the British Government at the corner of Queen Street and Garrison Hill. Although technically a non-denominational school, in fact it was frequented solely by Catholic children, since those of other persuasions were accommodated elsewhere. Taught by laymen,it catered to both boys and girls until 1833 when the Presentation Sisters were brought from Galway by Bishop Fleming to teach the Catholic girls. From then on St. Pat's, now a boys' school,continued under laymen with indifferent success until 1876, except for a brief, unsuccessful attempt to introduce the Irish Franciscan Brothers from 1847 to 1850.

In 1876, the B.I.S., with the assistance of Bishop Power, succeeded in inducing the Irish Christian Brothers to take over its management. So successful was this experiment and so many boys demanded entry, that, within two years, the B.I.S., many of its members pledging their own personal fortunes for the cause, erected the large, imposing building on the same site and changed the name to St. Patrick's Hall Schools. In the great city fire of 1892, this building was gutted but quickly rebuilt. Progress continued to such an extent that, on the occasion of the Centenary of the Society's establishment in 1906, a beautiful, substantial addition was added and named “The O'Donel Wing” in honour of Newfoundland's first bishop. By 1935, growth necessitated the moving of the High School to temporary quarters in the Holy Name Hall on Harvey Road. In its next transformation, Archbishop Roche, in February, 1945, moved the entire school to a large, modern building on the property of Mount St. Francis on Bonaventure Avenue.

Here the school continued with great success until, with numbers still increasing, the High School was transferred to Brother Rice School in 1962.When the school population dwindled rapidly again in the early 1990's, St. Pat’s became once more a co-ed grammar school under a lay principal. It continued as such until the loss of the Denominational system in 1998, when it was taken over briefly by the Public School Board and completed the circle of its existence by becoming non-denominational as it was in its first incarnation in 1826.

Because of a now drastically dwindling population, St. Pat's was finally closed in 1999. Four years later, on 17 May 2003, through an act of juvenile vandalism, it burned to the ground, leaving behind only its glorious traditions and its deep bonds of friendship between its ex-pupils and between them and their teachers. Perhaps one day, it will, like the Phoenix, rise from its ashes and regain its full stature.