On February 13, 1949, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Mission broke ground on West 70th Street and Detroit Avenue to build the future church and school combination. It had taken twenty-three years for these parishioners to construct their own school since their little chapel opened on West 69th Street on March 26, 1926. Established to meet the needs of the growing Italian community, Our Lady of Mount Carmel was a mission of Saint Rocco’s parish. In 1966 the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland erected Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish.
September 6th, 1949, marks the opening of the doors of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School to fifty-three boys and girls for first and second grade under the direction of Father Vincent Caruso, O de M. and Trinitarian Sisters Mary Valentine and Mary Mercedes. Due to financial constraints, the building was designed to house only four grades on its north side and a temporary church on the south side. On April 23, 1953, the new church opened and renovations immediately began for the additional four grades. The Kindergarten class was housed in the church hall until April 1959, when the school’s addition and new convent opened on the south side of the original building. This addition included the opening of the school’s first library.
With the purchase of additional property in 1963, Father Vincent continued to build to the original building –this time on its north side-. Pope John XXIII Hall opened on May 10th, 1964. The hall contained a complete gym with separate locker rooms for both boys and girls and a full service cafeteria. Hot lunches were served to all students for 4 cents each full meal. Since the opening of OLMC, enrollment continued to climb for grades Kindergarten through eighth until it reached its peak in 1965 with 375 students. Enrollment began to drop for the next six consecutive years and plummeted to 193 in 1974. It continued to roller coaster until it once again reached 262 by 1991. Presently, enrollment has climbed to 270 students with 190 families. Father Vincent Caruso served as pastor until December 1970. Father Marino Frascati, assistant pastor since 1957, succeeded him and served as pastor until May 1995. Since that time to the present Fr. Richard S. Rasch has been the head of OLMC.
After forty-seven years of dedication, the Sisters of the Most Holy Trinity notified the parish on April 20th, 1996, that they will be withdrawing from the school due to a lack of vocations. In the eleventh month of his pastorship, Mercedarian Father Richard S. Rasch turned to the Mercedarians Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for assistance. On July 10, 1997, four Mercedarians Sisters arrived under the direction of Sister M. Rosario Vega, HMSS. The Mercedarian Sisters shield, a monstrance above the Mercedarian shield, became the official logo for Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in August 1998. The fact that Our Lady of Mount Carmel is served by the same religious family in both the parish and the school has strengthened the spirituality of this community.
Between the summers 1998 and 1999 each classroom and office was renovated. The Early Childhood program for four-year-old was added in August 1998 and housed underneath the convent. A year later when the three-year-old program was opened, the classroom was relocated to the former Day Care building, first opened in 1987.
Many clubs and activities were established in conjunction with more basketball teams and cheerleading squads. The Holy Name Society, the adult men’s group within the parish, now completely furnished equipment and fees for the athletic program. Under their direction, the athletic program remains successful. In November 1997 the Mission Statement for the school was written by the Executive Board (Fr.Richard, Fr. James, Sister Jeanette and Sister Rosario) and Faculty. The School Advisory Board was organized and established on April 1998. The Parent Teacher Unit (PTU), an organization founded with the school in 1949, formally changed their name to the Home and School Association in July 1999. Catholic Schools Week was first introduced to the school community. This celebration included an open house and a special Mass, a volley ball game with the students and faculty, a family picnic and a talent show.
During the school year 1998-1999 the Foreign Language program (Italian and Spanish) was included in the curriculum for grades 3rd-8th. The Italian Club and the Mercylog yearbook club started under the direction of Brother John Michael, O de M. The EYM (Eucharistic Youth of Mercy) spiritual program was initiated by Sister Jeanette and Fr. James. The school day was prolonged fifty minutes a day and a new daily uniform color and style was in transition for this school year. School colors went back to their original gold and blue. The Student Council purchased a Tiger Mascot outfit to use at special events and activities. A School Spirit Day organized by Frank and Donna Dubecky, sports and cheerleader coaches, started the Sports season. A Christmas Pageant was first presented on December 1998 with participation of children from grades PK through 8th directed by Sister Rosario. OLMC participated at the city’s Columbus parade.
By the later part of 1998 several opportunities for parents input were established. A five year planning board was formed and seven committees were established to support and help with the vision of the school. The committees were: Development, Alumni, Curriculum, Finances, Student Services, Catholicity, and Enrollment. As a result of this planning the Foundation for the School was organized and founded on August 1999 by Dr. John Judge, Matthew Zone and Frank Cihlar. The sports program this year included the second and third grade boys (Pee-Wee’s) coached by Mr. Matthew Zone. A group of girls from first through third grade began the Pep-Squad coordinated by Mrs. Rene Cruz, Dawn Davila, and Chris Webb. This year a new set of thirty Mac I computers were bought for the lab and the existent equipment was placed in each of the classrooms. On February 2000 the Diocese approved the wiring of a T-1 line for our school as well as cabling for our television sets in the classrooms. Spelling Bee and Science Fair were part of the school for the first time.
The Early Childhood building, also housing the Kindergarten class, was completed on March 7, 2003. The highlight of this building is the indoor playground. The present library moved into the former Kindergarten room and shares space with the present Computer Lab, originally opened in August 1997, to create a Media and Technology Center. The Clinic and Atrium Entrance renovations were completed during the summer of 2007.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish School has had 1,140 students graduate from 1956-2002, with the first graduating class in 1956 consisting of 22 students.