Saint Stanislaus College
Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi
College 1870-1923, high school 1854-present
The best source of information about St. Stanislaus Colleges is its own publication: St. Stanislaus College: An Illustrated History 1854-2004. In 2016 the college placed most of its yearbooks and catalogues on line at saintstanislausarchives.com. The Times-Picayune of New Orleans covered many school activities. The seal (right) comes from the 1958 White Cap.
In June 1854 Fr. Stanislaus Buteux brought the Brothers of the Sacred Heart from France to open a boarding school for boys. Classes began in January 1856. In 1870 the state of Mississippi chartered Saint Stanislaus Commercial College to prepare boys for “a commercial state of life.” According to the Prospectus it accepted boys as young as seven, with four courses of study—primary, intermediate, commercial and superior. All courses of study required religion classes.
The commercial course—corresponding to senior high school and junior college-- required classes in composition, rhetoric, elocution, higher arithmetic, algebra, geometry, geography, ancient and modern history, bookkeeping, business, and French grammar. Music classes were available. Graduates received a Master of Accounts degree. By 1900 a four-year classical course with emphasis in Latin, Greek, modern languages, and literature was added. This led to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Letters degree. After 1923 Saint Stanislaus no longer granted collegiate degrees. Today the school remains a very good college preparatory school.
The History notes that student organizations developed in the 1890’s. These included a dramatics club and a literary and debating society. The 1929 catalogue shows the following student organizations: Sodality of the Blessed Virgin, Society of the Blessed Sacrament, two Altar Boys societies, the College Orchestra, the Concert Orchestra, and the Concert Band.
School enrollment continued to rise through vicissitudes such as the Civil War and the Yellow Fever epidemic. By 1900 enrollment was listed as 178. The 1927 catalogue shows 316 students representing eleven states and six foreign countries. The 2010 yearbook shows 415 students.
Bricks and Mortar
The first building at St. Stanislaus, a 2 1/2 story frame structure, was completed in 1856 at a cost of $3,800. It contained three classrooms and a parlor on the ground floor with a second-floor dormitory. As enrollment increased, buildings were added in 1859, 1867, 1882 and 1891. That year a façade with arches was added to unify the four main buildings. The entire structure was burned in January 1903.
New campus buildings were begun on September 19, 1903. With imported carpenters from Alabama, three main buildings were completed by March 19, 1903 at a cost of $52,000. A 1,000 seat baseball grandstand was added in 1916 and a gymnasium in 1924.
Some campus buildings were damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2004.
The new St. Stanislaus campus after the 1903 fire. Image from the 1929 catalogue.
Team name: Rock-a-Chaws
School Colors: originally Pink and Green, these were changed to Cardinal and Black in 1915
History notes that with the increase in student activities in the 1890’s, baseball became the favorite sport among students. “Most students belonged to an intramural baseball team.” In 1903 interscholastic sports began.
With the arrival of Forster Castleman in 1915, St. Stanislaus began sports in earnest. The 1919 football team went undefeated, outscoring opponents 253-28. The 1921 ream went 6-1-1. Jesuit High School and the Warren Easton Boys High School of New Orleans were among the high schools which yearly made up the schedule. College-level opponents included what is today Southern Mississippi and Southwestern Louisiana, as well as the freshmen or reserve team from Tulane and LSU. Big rivals were Jefferson College and Gulf Coast Military Academy.
History shows that the 1924 basketball team finished second in the national prep tournament held in Chicago. The 1929 Rock-a-Chaws duplicated that feat.
Because of the number of younger students, St. Stanislaus fielded interscholastic football and basketball teams in weight classes.
The husky 1927 Rock-a-Chaw basketball team posted a 9-9 record playing a college-level schedule--including Ole Miss and Mississippi A&M. The team wone one game in the national prep tournament in Chicago.