Sacred Heart Catholic School (SHCS) has a rich and fruitful history in southern Mississippi. It began in 1900 with 35 students, three Sisters of Mercy from Vicksburg, MS, and a German priest named Fr. Sylvester Greimel. The school grew slowly but steadily and parishioners were pleased to have a school associated with their parish.
During the late 1940s, Hattiesburg, as well as Sacred Heart, was enjoying a post-World War II boom. ln 1948, a building drive began for a new school and $200,000 was raised in cash and pledges—just a foretaste of the many ways parishioners and friends of Sacred Heart would support this ministry throughout the years. The new school was completed in April of 1951. In 1954, the gymnasium was completed under the leadership of Fr. John Martin. School enrollment was up and athletics was growing. Sacred Heart was experiencing God’s grace in all areas as well as the number of proud students, parents and alumni who now called Sacred Heart their alma mater.
Then a slow but steady downturn began during the 1960s and 1970s. The school was scaled down in 1968 to first through eighth grade school, with one teacher per grade level. In the late 1980s, Sacred Heart began to rebound and get a second wind for many and varied reasons. The result was steady growth and a regaining of its status not just as a Catholic school, but as a school revered by many in Hattiesburg and surrounding areas as one of the best schools in town.
In 2004, Bishop Thomas Rodi granted permission to reopen the high school under the guidance of Principal Maribeth Andereck. To accommodate the growth associated with adding a high school, Sacred Heart underwent a $2 million transformation during the summer of 2006. The existing school building was totally renovated, an eight-room modular building was added for the high school and a 7,000 square foot cafeteria was built. With continued growth, the school quickly outgrew these facilities. Efforts began immediately to locate property or a facility for Sacred Heart High School. Three years later a 90,000 square foot building was acquired from the City of Hattiesburg for the high school. Classes began in the new location in August 2010. This historic event allowed our elementary to grow and expand into the space once used by the high school.
With an average annual enrollment of more than 750 students from pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade, and growing graduating classes each year, there is no doubt that Sacred Heart is in the middle of its most successful time as a school. Once again, we thank God for the vision of those three nuns and one German priest in 1900. We are proud that Sacred Heart is a church with a school, not a school with a church. We thank God and all those whom God has worked through and will continue to guide in the coming years for “good ole Sacred Heart”.