Mission & History
St. Andrew School provides a classical education built on Catholic faith, academic excellence and community.
Graduates of St. Andrew School are:
- Kind and respectful to everyone
- Imitate the life of Christ, the apostles and saints
- Respect the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit
- Accept responsibility for choices and actions
- Realize the importance of sacramental life
- Understand the teachings of the Catholic Church
- Committed to traditional practices of prayer, mortification and good works
- Espouse Catholic principles of freedom of religion and ecumenical tolerance.
- Read, write and think well
- Utilize the tools of Classical learning (grammar, logic and rhetoric)
- Value the assistance of others in the quest for truth
- Articulate ideas coherently
- Think critically to analyze problems
- Value the time-honored classics of Western Civilization
- Engage the world with an educated charity
- Participate in the democratic process
- Use communication technology incorporating Catholic values to contribute to the positive development of society
- Share their gifts of time, talent and treasure
A recollection of St. Andrew School’s beginnings by Mrs. GG Grotbo, current principal and former parent and teacher who started with the school in 1996.
Mrs. Terry Rose was the instrument God used to start St. Andrew School. Mrs. Rose met others in the community who believed Helena was ready for a Catholic, classical school.
After meeting these other families, it was decided that they would see what the interest in a classical Catholic school might be in Helena. At a word-of-mouth meeting at the old Colonial hotel, enough families expressed interest to move forward. The year was 1995 and in 1996 the school officially opened. The first building to house the school was the First Christian Church. St. Andrew was started with grades 2-8. The first teacher Ms. Hauck was hired on a handshake. All the classes were combined with a couple grades in each. The boys wore white shirts and navy-blue pants, the girls, the same jumpers they wear today (they are indestructible!) with white shirts. The first Christmas program was held in the chapel of the First Christian Church with the students following Joseph and Mary, singing “Once in a Royal David City” all together. It was beautiful and it continues to this day 25 years later.
St. Andrew was and continues to be an independent Catholic school. We are not affiliated with the Diocese of Helena financially. We run the school solely on tuition and donations, and through the grace of God, we have continued to grow because of the generosity of many people throughout the country. The school was considered a “Classical school in the Catholic tradition” because we were not a diocesan school. We did, however, have the support of many of the priests, as well as the Bishop at the time, Bishop Brunett. Father Bernard Sullivan blessed the classes at the First Christian Church and when the new building was bought, he celebrated the first Mass.
After two years, we needed more space and the current building was found and purchased with the help of some friends of the Roses. This building has seen many, many, students walk its halls as well as some incredible teachers. The foundation of the curriculum stemmed from the classic speech “The Lost Tools of Learning” by Dorothy Sayers. As teachers, we were required to read that book when we started here.
Mrs. Rose had high expectations of her students and faculty, but she also had compassion and would stay after to help those students who struggled. She was present in the hallways and taught classes. She had a tight rein on the books that were used, and she continually met with the faculty to learn from them and teach them the beauty of a classical education. English was her subject, and often you would see her diagramming sentences in many of the classrooms.
In addition to Mrs. Rose, there were other very dedicated teachers to grace this school. I cannot name all the amazing individuals who taught here but suffice it to say that no matter how many years a student attended, some part of their life was changed and enhanced by those teachers.
Twenty-five years later, we are still going strong because of the foundation that the school was started on. The Holy Spirit continues to guide us to provide a sound classical and Catholic education for students. The faculty continues to evolve, but the most important lesson we have learned over the years is that this school isn’t great because of one individual or even a team of individuals. This school is great and continues to thrive because God wants it to. This is God’s school and He worked through Terry Rose and others to bring it into being. If those of us who are here now remember the past and the desires of the founders, always keeping the focus on God, St. Andrew School will be around for years to come. We believe no matter what life has thrown at this school, with God’s grace, we can continue to serve Him by educating students at every level.
As we think about the history of St. Andrew and all that has been accomplished by those before us, from starting the school, to earning accreditation in 2014, to now thinking of expansion, our mission is the same: trust in God, listen to His Word, and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance. If we do that, the Lord will make sure St. Andrew School continues the legacy that the founders hoped for. St. Andrew, pray for us.
Founded by a small group of Catholic laity in 1996, St. Andrew is not affiliated with, nor is it officially sponsored by, the Diocese of Helena. However, the Religious Education at St. Andrew is entirely based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and approved by the Diocese.
St. Andrew is a non-profit organization, and welcomes applications from students of all races, ethnic, or national origin.