Our History

Father McRedmond pointing out the future site of St. Mary’s Church to Ed Westcott’s children, David, Jimmy, and Emily, in 1950. St. Mary’s was the first church to purchase land to build a church. Before that, every denomination held services in the different cafeterias and the chapel, almost every day of the week.
Photo by Ed Westcott.

From the first days of existence to the present time, St. Mary’s School in Oak Ridge,Tennessee, has been unique. Established in 1950 and located in the heart of a scientific boom town developed during WWII as a “Secret City,” it has shared a vital role in the development and direction of the community. (Visit the City of Oak Ridge at http://www.oakridgetn.gov/)

Parish members who established the school came from diverse backgrounds, cultures, traditions, and locations. They came in a time of turmoil, seriousness, and great uncertainty for the future of their work. Yet, each came with faith and trust, filled with dreams and hopes for their children and for future generations.

St. Mary’s School opened its doors to students on September 10, 1950. Directing the school from the first day until the present have been the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia of Nashville, Tennessee. (Visit the Sisters of St. Cecilia at www.nashvilledominican.org)

Initially, the school consisted of grades one to six. Grades seven and eight were added in its second year, Kindergarten began in the 1983-84 academic year, and the pre-Kindergarten program started in the fall of 1985.  The school reached its present completement of grades with the addition of a pre-school, three-year-old program in 2017.

In 1999, St. Mary’s school added a primary science lab and complete primary science curriculum for grades pre-K through four—the only one of its kind in the area and still one of the few in the entire state. A total physical renovation of the school, which included a new gymnasium, was completed in September of 2000.

In 2010, St. Mary’s School was declared a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education, placing it in the top 10% of schools in the nation academically.