St. Vincent de Paul School dates back to July 14, 1912, when Bishop Donahue laid the cornerstone. Staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Wheeling, it opened on September 3, 1912, with an enrollment of one hundred students. Because the building was not completed, classes were held in the basement of the orphans’ chapel and in the recreation room at St. John Home. On March 13, 1913, the school was formally opened with Sister Mary Patricia Sturm, SSJ serving as the first principal. Reverend Ernest Pfheger, S.M, was pastor.
The school, a two-story building, had the first floor divided into four classrooms. The second floor was the parish hall. Two additional classrooms were added; one in the twenties and the other in the thirties. The Parent Teacher Association was established in 1943 with Mrs. Andrew Frank as president.
Construction of the new gym and school addition began in July, 1950 with the blessing of the building being held on November 18, 1951. In the mid-sixties, children from St. Vincent and St. John Homes were integrated into the school bringing enrollment to 688 and necessitating the use of four classrooms in the annex. The first school board was established in 1968 and a tuition fee of $90.00 per year began in 1971. Sewing and woodworking were introduced into the curriculum at this time. On March 18, 1977, Father Kerwick, Catherine Braiding, and Dick White held the first session of St. Vincent Bingo which became a substantial support to the school each year.
The nineteen eighties saw the close of the annex and the addition of a science lab, computer education, a kindergarten, and a preschool. On May 2, 1986, Bishop Francis Schulte approved plans for an adjoining one-story building to house four classrooms, offices, and lavatories. Construction began on June 2, 1986, under the direction of Father Ben Kasteel, S.M., Pastor. Kindergarten and first grade classes occupied the building beginning September, 1986. The dedication ceremony was held September 24, 1986 with the ribbon cutting by Mayor Stella Koerner and the blessing of the building by Bishop Schulte. A liturgy on March 13, 1988, marked the seventy-fifth anniversary of the founding of the school. Father Robert Arkle, Director of the Department of Catholic Education and Formation, concelebrated the Mass with Fathers Ben Kasteel and Mario Rizzuto.
St. Vincent students have won math, poetry, art, composition, history, and science awards at local and state levels. They participate in the Golden Horseshoe Contest, Ohio County Math Day, Math Counts, Science Fairs, the Pittsburgh Spelling Bee, and the Wheeling Peaceful Horizons Contest. Through the work and support of the Athletic Board, students are top performers in sports and cheerleading competition.
The success stories of the hundreds of students who have been educated at St. Vincent since 1913, speak for themselves. Many graduates remain in the Wheeling area and have seen their children and grandchildren occupy the same rooms as they themselves did. Many St. Vincent graduates have reached positions of national distinction in their respective careers.
To insure that the school is available for future generations, St. Vincent School Board established a Development Program in January, 1992, the goal of which is to provide for the financial stability and future direction of the school.