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Local High School Celebrates Half a Century!

Corpus Christi / F.J. Brennan GRAND RE-OPENING & 50th REUNION (Thanksgiving Weekend October 10-12, 2003)

Click here to view the schedule – PDF

Windsor experienced an extensive school construction program during the great expansion period of the 1920s. Then there was a long dry spell. It was 1953 before another high school was opened and that was in the form of F.J. Brennan Catholic High School, first called Corpus Christi High School. Brennan was the first high school built in Windsor since the opening of Kennedy Collegiate in 1929.

The property on which the school stands was bequeathed to the Ursuline Sisters of the Diocese of London in 1920.  A section of the property was donated by the Community for Our Lady of Guadeloupe Church, and later another section was given for the construction of Corpus Christi High School. Under the leadership of the late Bishop Cody the decision was made for the Diocese of London to fund this first Catholic co-educational secondary school in Windsor. Mother Gerald (Sister Gerald McCann) was its first Principal. 

Corpus Christi High School opened in September of 1953 with a staff of eight Ursuline sisters and 102 students. The original building consisted of the present west wing and gymnasium of the "old building.” An increase in the enrollment after only one year, made the first addition a necessity. The north wing, consisting of four classrooms, a larger cafeteria and dressing rooms were constructed. In 1959, another addition – the present far east hall of the ”old building“ and the north cafeteria – was added, creating a "square" of classrooms with an enclosed courtyard. The school at this time had only three grades: 11, 12 and 13, and received its funding through the contributions of the Ursuline Community, the Diocese of London, and student tuition.

During the school year of 1965-66, the newest part of the building consisting of the present main hallway, the south gym and cafeteria and two floors of classrooms was added. At this time, the school's name was changed to honour Monsignor Francis J. Brennan, a Windsor priest who had served for several years on the Advisory Board of Corpus Christi High School and who, as editor of the Catholic Record, had been a strong factor in shaping the Catholic educational system in this Province. In September of 1965, with a much larger building and a new name, F.J. Brennan Catholic High school welcomed students form grades nine through thirteen. 
The grade 9 and 10 students had been at "junior high schools" throughout the east end of the city – St. Alexander, St. Clare, St. Joseph and St. Louis.

During the 1960s and 1970s under the leadership of Rev. J. Doyle (now Bishop of Peterborough Diocese), Frank Burke, and Jim Kennedy, the school reached an all time high population of over 1800 students, making it one of the largest Catholic High Schools in the province.

In the 1980s, under the leadership of Rev. Fred Zakoor, C.S.B. (principal from September 1980 until January 1989) Brennan entered a new decade of expansion and development. On June 12, 1984, Premier William Davis made a historic declaration of the government's intention to extend full funding to Catholic Secondary schools in Ontario. Tuition payments for students were phased out and by September of 1986 Brennan became a publicly funded school.The current enrollment at
F.J. Brennan is approximately 1000 students.

Click here to view the schedule of the Corpus Christi / F.J. Brennan GRAND RE-OPENING & 50th REUNION (Thanksgiving Weekend October 10-12, 2003) – PDF

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