Saint Vincent de Paul Parish School and St. Vincent Church are the oldest Catholic Church and school in Akron. The first St. Vincent de Paul Parish School came into existence in 1853. It was built next to the first St. Vincent Church which was located near the canal on the west side of Green Street, opposite what is now Wood Street. In the fall of 1856, a stone school house was built in the rear of the churchyard. This building was soon overcrowded. The present church property was purchased around 1855 with the hope to build a permanent church and school in “the most picturesque spot in Akron.”
The church was completed and formal dedicating of the new Saint Vincent Church took place on Sunday, October 20, 1867. In the meantime, the site on Green Street grew into an educational campus. The school became known as Green Street University. Even the old parish church was made over into classrooms. More additions were made in 1881 to satisfy the educational needs of the parish families. This school continued until 1892.
In 1892, a red brick school of “generous dimensions” was built behind the new church at 17 South Maple Street. The year 1907 marked the beginning of the high school program. The first classes were held on the third floor of the grade school. This arrangement prevailed until 1915 when the chapel that was formerly behind the rectory was transformed into the new high school.
The parish school was enlarged and the first gymnasium was built in 1927. The section of the school built in 1892 was in use for 64 years until 1956. During the summer vacation, the school was torn down and the new one was built for occupancy in September of 1956. Five religious communities of women have served Saint Vincent School during its history. They were in order of arrival: Sisters of Holy Cross, Sisters of Notre Dame, Sisters of Saint Joseph from Baden, Pa., Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters, and Sisters of Saint Dominic.
The enrollment of the grade school/high school grew until it reached its peak in 1959 with a student body of 791. St. Vincent-St. Mary High School moved in 1974 to its present location across Market Street. In 1974 the Conry Library was completed and a kindergarten program was implemented. The gymnasium balcony was converted into an audio-visual center in 1975 and the renovation of the two oldest classrooms and gymnasium was done in 1976.
Beginning in 1985, the Accelerated Reading Program was introduced to students on Apple computers. WICAT (World Institute for Computer Assisted Teaching) software was introduced in our computer lab in 1987. The Parents’ Association in 1994 had PC installed every classrooms. Also, the first preschool was opened in 1994 followed by a new playground in 1996. In 1998, the Internet was installed in the school with new server and management software, and it was funded by Time Warner Cable. All computers in the lab were replaced with 30 Dell Dimension computers in 2005 thanks to generous funding from Parents’ Association. Currently, there are three Ipad carts in which every learner in our school has access.
St. Vincent de Paul Parish School has had and continues to have tremendous value for the Akron community. Situated in an inner-city area the school has maintained a cosmopolitan composition. Here children from all social, ethnic and economic strata live and work together in a loving and supportive atmosphere. The dedicated staff is enriched by the generous services and support of parents.