St. Sebastian Parish School is dedicated to Christ and committed to excellence in education. We honor the Catholic traditions of the past, work to develop our talents today, and prepare for Christian service in the future.
St. Sebastian Parish School: Celebrating 90 Years of Catholic Education in Akron
From 1910-1920, Akron experienced a population boom of more than two hundred percent, and by 1928, Akron's St. Vincent Church had again become too overcrowded - despite the establishment of the nearby parishes of St. Bernard, St. Mary, St. Paul and St. Martha. In July of 1928, the Diocese of Cleveland selected Rev. Hilary Zwisler to start a new parish to serve the West Hill area. Father Zwisler rented Rankin School gym from the Akron Board of Education for the celebration of Mass while plans were being made for the first building. The first Mass at Rankin was celebrated on August 5, 1928.
In 1929, construction began on a new building, a combined church and school. Father Zwisler made the school building a priority and hoped to have it ready for the start of the school year. The school was not completed until November 1, 1929, so for the first few months of the school year, the children had classes under the instruction of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary in a Knights of Columbus building on West Market Street. Since its establishment, St. Sebastian Parish School has been home to more than 5,500 students. The church was completed soon after the school, with the first services held November 28, 1929, Thanksgiving Day.
Milestones in School History
- 1929: The original St. Sebastian Parish building -- a combined church, school and convent -- was built. The original student-teacher ratio was 220 students to six sisters.
- 1938: The rectory and brick parking lot are constructed; the playground is established.
- 1950: Due to swelling enrollment, a convent was built on church property to house the sisters who taught the school's 650 students. Their quarters had previously been in the eastern wing of the school building.
- 1952: A recreation center was built across the street. The center, which is now called Byrider Hall, houses the school's gymnasium and meeting rooms.
- 1957: Fr. Hilary Zwisler is made a monsignor by Pope Pius XII.
- 1960: The new church, built to seat 1,000 people, is dedicated. The old church became the school lunchroom and social hall, now known as Zwisler Hall.
- 1969: A junior high wing was built.
- 1970: The school library was established.
- 2000: Principal Sr. Mary Pat Leopold retired, marking the departure of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary after more than 70 years of faithful service to the school by 150 sisters.
- 2001: The parish finishes remodeling the convent building to house the new Beringer Center for Early Learning, which includes a preschool program, kindergarten classrooms and auxiliary services. Also in 2001, a new computer room was created in the basement classrooms of the main school building, and the Victor E. Buehrle, Jr. Science Wing was dedicated.
- 2003: Zwisler Hall was completely remodeled, adding a full-size catering kitchen to support various school and parish events.
- 2011: The school library is completely refurbished and rededicated as the Helen Barry Hamlin Library. The St. Sebastian School Garden, an outdoor classroom, is established.
- 2013: The Academy of Culture and Arts is established.
- 2019: St. Sebastian Parish School Celebrates its 90th Anniversary!
The enrollment of St. Sebastian School for the 2020-2021 school year in grades kindergarten through Grade 8 is 325 students. All employees and volunteers who have contact with students undergo thorough screening, including background checks through the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation & Identification (BCI&I) and VIRTUS training. For complete information on screening policies, see the revised Policy for the Safety of Children in Matters of Sexual Abuse.