Historical Tidbits from St. Michael’s High School

The 1924 Freshman class at St. Michael’s High school in Santa Fe.

The Catholic feast day of St. Michael is next week on September 29th. I thought some history on the Santa Fe school bearing his name would be apropos to honor his legacy. Brother Paul Walsh was the principal at St. Mike’s from 1992 to 1997. Brother Paul died in 2020 after spending 81 years as a Christian brother. These tidbits of St. Mike’s history came from Brother Paul:

In the Beginning

St. Michael’s opened on November 9th, 1859. Four Christian Brothers from France : Hilarion, Gondulf, Galmier Josep and Geramius from Clermont-Ferrand, arrived, along with an American Brother, Optacien. The first boarders were Juan Perea from Bernalillo; Benito, Florencio, Amado and Luis Baca, from two different families in Las Vegas, N.M.; and Ladislao Gallegos of San Miguel. By November 22, 1859, there were 25 boarding students and 66 day students. At first the school became El San Miguel, then El Colegio San Miguel, then St. Michael’s College and, in 1947, St. Michael’s High School.

The Cost of Education

El Colegio San Miguel had three classes of boarders and day scholars in the 1870s. At the same time there were two classes of other day students who attended tuition-free. Both groups had separate rooms in one-story adobe buildings. Barter arrangements were often accepted in kind for the tuition. For example, $42.10 was credited to tuition in exchange for a cow, a calf and a steer; $52.00 for wood; $28.12 for
2,250 pounds of potatoes and $16.50 for 5.5 fanegas (1.6 bushels) of corn.

Sports & the NM Constitution Convention

Football began at St. Michael’s in 1924 and by 1928, the team’s name became the “Horsemen.” When the New Mexico Constitutional Convention met in 1910, one third of the delegates were graduates of St. Michael’s, a greater percentage than Yale and Harvard graduates present for the drafting of the
Massachusetts constitution.

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