About Us » History

History

Over a century ago, West Lawn was semi-rural, especially west of 40th Avenue (later Crawford, and then still later, Pulaski). St. Nicholas of Tolentine School was established in 1909 by the Adrian Dominican Sisters and is the oldest Catholic School in Chicago’s West Lawn neighborhood.  The Sisters saw a need for Catholic education in this area and the school preceded the Church and Parish itself. St. Nick, as it is affectionately known to many, has seen over 11,000 students graduate and move on to the finest high schools in the city of Chicago. It has always been proud to acknowledge a 100% graduation rate. Our students have further extended their education in amazing Universities or the Military and have become amazing participants in society. Many of our alums return to St. Nick as administrators, teachers, and parents sending their children to school here.

 

St. Nick has art classes, music classes, the oldest school band on the Southwest Side, as well as children starting music lessons, as early as kindergarten, on ukulele, violin, piano, and guitar.  It has a belief that education is a living breathing adventure and provides every opportunity possible for both its teachers and students. 100% of the St. Nicholas of Tolentine students receive free breakfast and lunch. Over 80% of the students receive financial assistance, and 100% of the families contribute to their tuition.

In an era when some Catholic grade schools are changing their makeup, St. Nick enrolls as many as 400 children. St. Nick is an All Are Welcome School, offering an Inclusive Catholic Education to students of all backgrounds, races, and educational learning needs.  We are proud and happy to serve this community.