History of the Piarists
St. Joseph Calasanz, the founder of the Piarist fathers, was born in Peralta de la Sal, Spain in 1556, and was ordained a priest in 1583. Nine years later he moved to Rome and was deeply affected by the children there.
Therefore, with permission of Pope Clement VII, he opened a free school for them in 1597. This school was opened to every child, regardless of their particular religious affiliation, and is believed by many to be the world's first modern elementary school. It stressed piety and learning, thus the Piarist motto, "pietas et litterae".
On March 25, 1617, with the permission of Pope Paul V, St. Joseph Calasanz and fourteen other men became the first members of a new religious congregation. In 1621, Pope Gregory XV raised this congregation into the rank of a religious order under solemn canonical vows, calling it the Order of the Pious Schools. The abbreviation "Sch. P." following the name of a Piarist comes from the Latin words "Scholarum Piarum" (of the Pious Schools). St. Joseph Calasanz died in Rome on August 25, 1648. Each year the church celebrates his feast on August 25.
In the late 1940's many Piarists from Eastern Europe emigrated to the United States. With the help of Bishop John O'Hara of Buffalo, they established their first American community in Derby, NY in 1951. Within the next decade, they established Piarist schools in Buffalo, NY and Devon, PA, a diocesan school in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and a provincial House of Studies in Washington, DC.
Piarists profess the three evangelical religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In addition, they profess a fourth vow to dedicate their lives to the education of youth. Today, there are over 1,650 Piarists teaching 115,000 students in 26 countries around the world.
In August of 1990, the Piarists opened a college preparatory high school in Floyd County, KY, in the city of Martin. The school began with one freshman class, and added a class each year until the 1993-1994 school year, when the school had its first four year program. Then, on May 28, 1994 the school graduated its first class. In 2009, the Piarist School began a middle school program, initially adding a seventh and eighth grade, and a sixth grade the following year.
The school moved from its Martin location to the present location in Hagerhill, KY in Johnson County at the completion of the 2014-2015 school year. The Piarist School is accredited by the Kentucky Department of Non-Public Schools and is a member of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.
Type of School: Private, College Preparatory
School Colors: Blue and Gold