Catholic Schools have been serving families in the Sioux Falls area for more than 100 years. In 1991, Sioux Falls Catholic Schools was formed. The consolidation of schools was an effort to assure the strengthening of our Catholic schools and their strong existence far into the future. In 2019, the school system changed its name to Bishop O'Gorman Catholic Schools.
The name change helps people in our community understand that we are a full preschool-12th grade school system, meaning a student can start in preschool and stay within one cohesive education path all the way through high school graduation.
With six elementary schools, a junior high and a high school, we serve more than the Sioux Falls population and would like our system name to reflect that we welcome children from all communities. Students attend our schools from many cities and towns across the southeast part of South Dakota and even into Minnesota, including Brandon, Harrisburg, Tea, Lennox, Canton, Hartford, Humboldt, Dell Rapids, Montrose, Crooks, Renner, Valley Springs, Beaver Creek, Canistota, Hurley, Lyons, Madison, Parker, Worthing and Sioux Falls.
We are blessed at Bishop O'Gorman Catholic Schools to have a strong community of parents, volunteers, friends and supporters who are all driven by our mission. The experience of shared community can be witnessed at our Masses, special events, activities and service opportunities. Students, parents and faculty alike gather in prayer, serve our community and support each other in athletic, academic and artistic endeavors. We have been especially blessed by a strong support system of dedicated faith leaders and generations of alumni and friends. We are a community like no other.
The roots of our current Catholic school system can be traced back over 100 years.
In September of 1905, six Dominican sisters began classes for 195 students. Classes were held in the nooks and crannies of St. Michael’s Pro-Cathedral for about a week until a new school building was completed. A group of dedicated women formed the St. Michael’s School Society which through its activities, made free tuition possible for parish children.
In 1913, the Dominican Sisters began instruction for their first freshman class, inaugurating the expansion to secondary education. In 1917, the first class of high school students graduated.
In October of 1926, the cornerstone for Cathedral High School was laid in a ceremony attended by nearly 2000 people. Classes began in September 1927.
A Catholic school system, Sioux Falls Catholic Schools, was formed in cooperation with all of the parishes of the city, allowing the schools to coordinate curriculums, purchasing, human resources, lunch programs, guidance services and other programs. The consolidation of the current schools was an effort to assure the strengthening of the schools and their strong existence far into the future.
Thomas O'Gorman was born on May 1st, 1843, in Boston, MA, to John and Margaret O'Gorman. He and his parents moved to Chicago, Illinois, when he was still a child, and then to St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1853, he and John Ireland were chosen by Bishop Joseph Crétin to study for the priesthood in France. Upon his return to Minnesota, O'Gorman was ordained a priest on November 5, 1865. He served in a variety of parishes and, in 1885, he became the first president of the newly-established College of St. Thomas where he also served as professor of dogmatic theology. He was named professor of church history at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1890. During his tenure at Washington, he wrote, "A History of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States."
On January 24, 1896, O'Gorman was appointed the second Bishop of the entire state of South Dakota by Pope Leo XIII. He was later installed at Sioux Falls on May 1, 1896. During his 25-year tenure, he increased the number of priests and Catholics in the diocese, and erected numerous churches, schools and hospitals. He dedicated St. Joseph's Cathedral in 1919 and founded Columbus College in 1921. Bishop O'Gorman later died in 1921 at age 78.