In 1994, St. Bridget Church co-pastors Rev. James Gunnoud and Rev. Brian Monnerat planned thoroughly and worked tirelessly with a group of parishioners to establish an elementary school in the same building that once housed a Catholic junior high-school. Saint Bridget School opened on August 30, 1994 as the only parochial school in the town of Cheshire, Connecticut offering programs for pre-kindergarten, full-day kindergarten and first grade. Mrs. Sharon Derr served as principal.
The plan, approved by the Archdiocese of Hartford, provided for the growth of the school by one grade each year until children in pre-kindergarten through grade eight would be served. The school was dedicated to being an educational facility which was and would continue to be Christ-centered and modeled on Christian principles and values functioning with the larger scope of the Saint Bridget Catholic Church community.
All went according to plan and on the opening day of the 1997-1998 school year, the 10 classrooms in the original school wing were full. So on March 3, 1998, Archbishop Daniel Cronin presided at the ground-breaking ceremony for a new 12-classroom wing, which was needed in order to provide for the school’s growth through eighth grade. On August 28, 1998, the Certificate of Occupancy was delivered, and the new wing, which houses the primary grade classrooms and computer labs, opened for the new school year. On November 1, 1998, the dedication of the new wing was celebrated by Bishop Christie Macaluso.
Full accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges was awarded to Saint Bridget School in the fall of 1999. The first eighth grade graduation ceremony took place in 2002. After 8 years of service, Mrs. Derr retired and Mrs. Susan Tarrant, a teacher at the school since its opening, became the new principal. Since its opening, the school has flourished and enrollment has grown. In April of 2005, Archbishop Henry Mansell presided at the groundbreaking of Phase I of a three-phase capital improvement plan. Phase I was a 2,200 square foot addition to the library and school office which was completed in the fall of 2005. The second phase of the plan provided many building improvements and repairs, including a new roof for the original wing.
In 2005, Rev. Robert Ricciardi became the new pastor of St. Bridget Church. In 2007, we wished Mrs. Tarrant Godspeed as she began her new ministry and welcomed Mrs. Margaret Whalen, formerly the assistant principal, as the new principal. That same year, a second Pre-K class was offered, due to the increased enrollment in the Early Childhood Program. In the fall of 2008, Phase III of the improvement plan was begun. This part of the plan called for upgrades to the gym including new bleachers, art and music classrooms, a kitchen, a cafeteria/meeting room, and two offices as well as a baseball/softball and soccer field behind the school.
Enrollment for the 2009-2012 school years has remained consistent even in the midst of the economic downturn. Saint Bridget School continues to provide a quality Catholic education to students from the town of Cheshire as well as many surrounding communities.