History & Tradition
Although Our Lady of Victory Catholic School dates back to a meeting held in 1954, its actual origins can be traced to 1952. In that year, the Archbishop of Baltimore summoned Fr. John B. Peacock for the purpose of founding a new parish. The parish would be named Our Lady of Victory and would be located at the site of St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. The industrial school, which had been attended by Babe Ruth, had closed its doors in 1950.
The Wilkens Avenue site served its purpose well. Before long, the parish was knocking down walls to accommodate its quickly growing population. The parishioners became actively involved in the workings of the parish, and were determined to make Our Lady of Victory a success.
By 1953, the first Parents’ Club was formed to resolve a major concern of the parish because the parish was new, there was no parish school. The parents of Our Lady of Victory Parish met to decide where the children of the parish would attend school until sisters could be obtained to staff a school of their own. It was decided that St Edward’s, on Poplar Grove Street, was that best choice.
The parents didn’t have long to wait. In 1954, the Archbishop again summoned Fr. Peacock. This time the Archbishop was asking him to begin work on a new church and school complex. This was a task Fr. Peacock was eager to undertake. In fact, it had been a dream of his for quite some time.
Fr. Peacock began by purchasing four acres of land from Ascension Parish. The land was originally intended to house a satellite parish or mission for the Ascension. Because this land was situated on Wilkens Avenue, Fr. Peacock sought out the owners of St. Charles (St. Mary’s Seminary College) in order to buy some adjacent acreage. He was able to purchase ten acres. With fourteen acres, he was sure to have enough land to build for the future.
Soon after the land was purchased, Fr. Peacock employed architects to design the church and school complex so that construction could begin as soon as possible. In 1955, plans were submitted by Howard G. Hall for a structure that would house 8 classroom, an auditorium, and a church that would seat 480 people. A parking lot that would accommodate 300 cars was also part of the plan.
Construction began on January 29, 1956, when the groundbreaking took place. By July 26, the cornerstone was laid. Construction ran smoothly, and Fr. Peacock scheduled the school opening for September of 1957. He planned for the school to be staffed by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, with Sr. Mary Dennis (now Sr. Rose Lafferty) as the school’s first principal. Our Lady of Victory School would open with grades 1-4, and plans were to add one grade each year until a total of eight elementary grades were reached.
The Parents’ Club in its present form was organized in 1959. By April of that year, the club began a fundraising campaign based a weekly bingo which would aid the financial needs of the growing school.
In October of 1961, another architect, Mr. Ferdinand Kelly, was engaged to develop plans for 8 new classrooms and a multi-purpose assembly hall.
Construction began on April 1, 1962, and by November 26th of that same year, the building was ready for occupancy.
1962 was an important year of OLV School for two other reasons as well. That year saw the beginning of both the school’s first kindergarten and its first graduating class from Our Lady of Victory School. At that time the school had 16 classrooms, a library, St. Joseph’s Hall, 8 sisters, 6 lay teachers and 600 students.
The school continued to expand, and by 1964 it was necessary to add classrooms in the basements. It has grown into it’s present form which includes 19 classrooms, learning center, Sr. Ruth Hindley Hall, a library, a health room, offices, and a faculty and staff which help to ensure that Our Lady of Victory Catholic School is truly “an experience in Christian living.”