Our History

Over 50 Years of Faith-filled Education

Planning for the addition of St. Dennis School began in 1959 under the direction of Father Joseph C. Niglis. The parish was three years old, and had more than 600 families with 1,100 members under the age of 16.

The property was donated by Miss Esther Dempsey and the original design consisted of eight classrooms, an auditorium, cafeteria, kitchen, gymnasium, school library and office. Construction began with a groundbreaking ceremony on August 9, 1959, with Father Niglis turning the first shovel of dirt. Construction was completed in June 1960.

Bishop William P. O’Connor dedicated St. Dennis School on September 4 and the first day of school was September 7, 1960. The first year there were 172 first and second graders, with the intention to add new grades each year. Principal Sister Angela Merici Donovan, O.P., Sister Johanna (Sheila) Griffin, O.P. and two lay teachers staffed the classrooms.

In just three short years, St. Dennis School had outgrown its facilities. On June 1, 1963 construction began on a one-story addition—completed in March 1964. The school enrollment was 553 students in grades 1st through 6th. In the 1966-67 school year, enrollment hit an all-time high of 564 students.

I enjoy sharing good nutrition and healthy lifestyle lessons with the students at St. Dennis.

– Randy Helgerson, Teacher

Visit Us!

  • St. Dennis School
  • 409 Dempsey Road
  • Madison, WI 53714


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