The history of St. Anthony school begins with the vision of a number of capable Catholic priests. In 1917 the Rev. Henry Parascandola was assigned the Church’s first resident pastor. He acquired properties on the corner of Jefferson and Raymond streets. Rev. James Rogers became pastor in 1919. In 1927 the first school building was built. However, the building was used primarily for church events until 1938.
August 29, 1938 was the official opening date planned for St. Anthony’s parochial school. The announcement was made by Father Martin J. Egan, who was the new pastor having arrived in May.
Three Sisters of the Poor Child Jesus were chosen to conduct the school, assisted by Father Egan. The sisters were members of an educational order, located at Parkersburg, WV. Classrooms in the church and school building, erected several years earlier were to be used.
Because of the limited accommodations and the large number of families who asked to register their children, classes were restricted to the first three grades. In order to determine which children could enter, entrance exams were conducted. Children entering school for the first time were required to be vaccinated.
By early September 120 children were enrolled as the school opened its door. Each grade was limited to 40 students. The curriculum included regular studies, supplemented by religious instruction and Bible reading.
In 1947 Father Robert Weiskercher was appointed to St. Anthony. During the same year, a Kindergarten was established in the basement of the school. Plans were also underway for a new high school.
In the summer of 1953, work began on St. Anthony High School. Its doors opened for two classes, 9th and 10th grades in September 1954. The high school continued to grow as Rev. John O’Reilly, and Rev. John Allison, his associate, added classes. In June 1957 the first senior class graduated. By 1959 St. Anthony had 10 teaching nuns, 408 pupils with 135 of these attending high school.
In spite of the efforts of dedicated parishioners and clergy, the announcement to close the high school was made on February 17, 1964. “The rising financial cost and the trend toward centralization of facilities on the part of school systems were the main reasons given for the closing of the small St. Anthony High School.” St. Anthony had an enrollment of 148 students in high school, and 396 in the lower grades.
Rev. Fr. John L. O. Reilly announced that St. Anthony would merge with Madonna High School of Weirton, WV. Madonna High became the consolidated Catholic High School for both Hancock and Brooke counties. The classrooms at St. Anthony High continued to be used for the Follansbee parochial elementary school.
St. Anthony’s First School Building
*Follansbee Review, “Parochial School Will Open.” Aug. 18, 1938, p. 1.
*Follansbee Review, “120 Students at Parochial School,” Sep. 8, 1938, p.1.
*”St. Anthony’s Church: History of the Parish,” 1992 Celebration of 50th Anniversary of Church Building.
*Steubenville Herald Star, “Follansbee St. Anthony Will Be Closed,” Feb. 17, 1964.
*Steubenville Herald Star, “St. Anthony Alumni to Meet,” Feb. 27, 1964.