The Early Days
Christ the King Catholic School
(excerpts from Silver Years, Christ the King Parish, 1959 – 1984)
December 15, 1963 - Due to an unusual break in the weather, ground breaking for the parish school on this date. Fr. Whalen asked the congregation to pray for low bids. The firm of Brockamp and Jaeger was awarded the contract. Both John Brockamp and LeRoy Jaeger were parishioners.
The school was built around a courtyard with an outside corridor connecting the office and classrooms. The main purpose of this layout was to cut down on heating costs and noise. “This construction was innovative at the time, giving the children and staff a chance to breathe our refreshing rain-cleansed Oregon air,” commented Fr. Whalen.
August 23, 1964 - Archbishop Howard dedicated and blessed the school. Fr. Martin Thielen, Archdiocesan Director of Education, delivered the sermon.
September, 1964 - Grades one through four began their session. The school was staffed by the Sisters of Saint Mary of Oregon. The first principal was Sr. Mary Joseph Lorine, who also taught grades three and four. Sister Mathew Marie taught grades one and two. The enrollment for the first year totaled sixty-seven students. Many of the parish children who had been attending St. John’s, transferred to Christ the King School.
September, 1965 - A third classroom opened.
September, 1966 - By the fall of 1966, there were four classrooms accommodating eight grades.
Christ the King Parish School
1. Which former CTK parishioner’s daughter served as the first principal of our school? Answer: Sr. Barbara Jean Laughlin, SSMO, is the daughter of Joseph Laughlin, formerly of our parish (he has moved to be closer to his children in the Beaverton area). Formerly known as Sr. Mary Joseph Lorine, she opened the school in September 1964, and also taught grades three and four. She is currently the Superior General of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon based in Beaverton.
2. Which priest once lived in the school building?
Answer: Fr. Theodore Weber, while teaching at Central Catholic High School, was in residence at CTK Parish from September 1962 to August 1965. He occupied the school health room (now an office in the school!) during school construction in the early ‘60’s while awaiting the completion of the rectory addition, as there was no room for a third priest!
3. What now-defunct facility most recently on the parish property was once the school library? Answer: The trailer that housed our St. Vincent de Paul ministry, which was torn down when the new Helping Hands warehouse was built in 2007. It was originally donated by Dee’s Mobile Homes for the first school library (see in background of photo below). Men of the parish under the direction of Gary Bullock, Home and School Association president at the time, remodeled this facility to accommodate the students.
4. What was the original tuition cost per family to attend our school in 1965?
Answer: According to a handwritten history written in 1989 regarding the early days of our school, tuition was set at $75.00 a family for those who used tithing envelopes (regardless of the number of children enrolled), and $150 per family for those not using envelopes.
5. When were parishioners “encouraged” to write on the walls of our school?
Answer: Following the completion of the school addition in 1991, parishioners were invited to write their names on the south wall prior to final painting, thereby permanently sealing their signatures into the structure!
6. What alumni school parent and current parishioner was famous for her homemade strudel, helping fashion an original school fundraising event with her expertise and appearing on TV for this talent?
Answer: Millie Manion! She helped lead the popular “A Night In Germany” fall fundraising dinner during the early days of our school featuring her famous strudel for dessert. According to the publication “CTK Silver Years: 1959-1984” Millie demonstrated the strudel-making several years on a TV cooking program. The profits from the event were used to purchase educational equipment for use by both the parish school and the CCD (now called RCIA) program.
7. Which current parishioner’s company served as general contractor for the original school building project?
John Brockamp, principal with Brockamp & Jaeger, was awarded the contract for the school and began construction following groundbreaking in late 1963. According to church history, founding parish pastor Fr. Whalen asked the congregation to pray for low bids and their prayers were answered with John’s proposal.
8. When was the school officially dedicated, and who presided over the ceremony?
Answer: Christ the King Parish School was dedicated and blessed on August 23, 1964 by Archbishop Howard. Fr. Martin Thielen, Archdiocesan Director of Education, delivered the sermon.
9. What building formerly served as the convent, housing the religious order of sisters who taught at Christ the King School during the 1960s-70s?
Answer: Currently known as the Griffin Center, the building to the south of our school was the original convent.
10. When was the school Kindergarten started, and who was the first teacher for this program?
Answer: The CTK Kindergarten was opened as a half-day kindergarten in 1988, and expanded to a full day program the next year under the expertise of Kindergarten teacher Eileen Weaver and Mary Quiray. Former principal Patty Blackburn declared of Mrs. Weaver and Mrs. Quiray’s long-standing service in 2004, “16 years + all day with 5-6 year olds = Sainthood.”
11. What years were the school 6, 7 & 8 grades housed at La Salle Catholic College Prep?
Answer: Due to rising enrollment and lack of space, from 1988-1990, our middle school students attended classes at La Salle next door. The new school wing with three multi-use classrooms, library and computer lab was generously funded by a parish capital campaign, with completion for use Fall, 1991.
12. What did our original parish kitchen dishwashing machine (circa 1964; replaced in 2006) have in common with the one at Timberline Lodge?
Answer: They were both twins, “born” in the same year! Our school had to replace the original when parts were no longer available for repair.
13. What did the original school with two classrooms cost to build in 1963?
Answer: Just over $150,000!
14. What is the name and color combination of the original uniform tartan originally worn by Christ the King school girls in the 1960s-70s?
Answer: The plaid was turquoise, gray and white (shown in photo below), and was called Wellington. Currently, students wear a Blackwatch plaid uniform in navy and hunter green.
15. When was the first school advisory council (school board) established?
Answer: February, 1978. This leadership group joined the already functioning Home & School Association to help assist in directing the future of the school.
16. What was the original mission of the Home and School Association?
According to original by-laws, the HSA was formed for hospitality and to support the spiritual mission of the school. One of the first official functions of the HSA was to host Coffee and Donuts after Sunday masses. Parents of both the school and religious education program were members of HSA.
17. Who was the original architect for Christ the King Parish School? Answer: Elmer G. Zeller, AIA.
18. What have been some of the more memorable items brought to school for “Show-and-Tell” over the past 40 years?
Answer: Mrs. Blackburn, former 7th
grade teacher and principal, notes one student’s parent allowed their child to bring a boa constrictor in a suitcase (unannounced) to school one morning. Mrs. Weaver, retired Kindergarten teacher, also recollects a student proudly pulling out a jar in class featuring her recently removed tonsils!
19. When and how did the CTK Endowment for Education Fund begin?
Answer: The Endowment was founded in 1988 by Fr. Richard Rossman with a $5,000 gift from the relative of a graduating CTK student. The fund has increased annually through private donations and bequests from area parishioners and community members, as well as though sales of retail scrip (Good As Gold Program). As of 2009, the fund is valued at over $600,000.
20. On what date were the footings laid for the first parish structure, and what was it?
Answer: On June 19, 1960, construction began on “a gymnasium-type building” to serve as the new parish church. Later, the original church was converted to the current parish hall, which also serves as the school cafeteria and gym. The photo below shows founding pastor Fr. Whalen (right) and Asst. pastor Fr. Brennan (left) standing beside the original structure on the church property in the late 1950's. The building was initially used for the CTK Religious Education program.
21. In what year was the CTK School 6th grade classroom added?
Answer: In 1982, the school added a 6th
grade classroom to prevent the fourth/fifth and sixth/seventh grade teachers from having both “split grades” and almost 40 students per grade! After the room was built, CTK had six classrooms for grades 1-8 with splits remaining in some grades, according to former 6th
grade teacher and principal, Patricia Blackburn.
22. What was the cost in 1958 of the 16 acres of land originally purchased to found Christ the King Parish and School?
23. Who was the first lay principal at Christ the King Parish School?
Answer: Ms. Leslie Gilsdorf, who served from 1984 – 1992.
24. How many years after the parish was founded did CTK open a school?
Answer: Just 3 years! The parish was established in September, 1961 with initial masses at the Harmony Road Building (at the corner of SE Harmony & SE Fuller). With the help and dedication of many current parishioners, our school opened in September, 1964. The original church was our current school gym; the current church was built in 1976.
25. Although our school opened in 1964 with grades 1-4 taught in two classrooms, how many grades and subsequent classrooms were added by 1966? Answer: There were two additional classrooms built by 1966, allowing Christ the King Parish School to offer instruction in grades 1-8, with enrollment at 161 students.
26. What was the original school mascot?
Answer: A dragon. Over the years it was changed to the current mascot, a lion.