Our History

The history of St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic School goes back to the turn of the century. Established by Ursuline nuns in 1900 as a boarding school for wealthy young ladies, St. Angela Academy received its name from the Ursulines’ founder, St. Angela Merici. In 1906, at the request of their bishop, the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy from Charleston, South Carolina, assumed the school’s operation. The school then served the educational needs of female boarding students as well as both male and female day students. In 1939, Bernard Baruch, a friend of James Byrnes, helped the Sisters finance a red brick building, an addition to the old school that is now a part of St. Mary Help of Christians Parochial School.

When the Savannah River Plant came to Aiken in 1950, the Catholic population skyrocketed. Bishop Emmet Michael Walsh wanted a parochial grammar school established. Accordingly, the brick building on York Street became St. Mary Help of Christians Parochial School supported by student tuition and the hard work of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy. Thus, St. Angela’s private grammar school ceased to be, and only the high school retained that name.

The Sisters continued in the grade school, a parochial school under the jurisdiction and support of St. Mary Help of Christians Parish. In 1955, the Dominican Sisters from Adrian, Michigan took charge of St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic School, staffing it until 1970 when they left. Again, the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy assumed the administration and continued to provide a Catholic education to those parents seeking one for their children at St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic School until the close of St. Angela Academy in June 1988. Since that date, the administrative duties of the school have been the responsibility of a Catholic lay principal.

For more than a century, St. Mary’s School has fostered faith while cultivating curiosity and character in every student. Today, St. Mary’s School continues its mission of Preparing the Way with its addition of the Science and Engineering Academy and its continued commitment to excellence.


St. Mary’s maintains accreditation by AdvancED/Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Accreditation by AdvancED indicates that St. Mary’s meets staffing and curriculum requirements, undergoes a periodic, comprehensive self-study, conducts annual updates, and hosts an accreditation review team of professional educators every five years to visit the school, assess the accuracy of the school’s self-study, and provide recommendations for improvement. St. Mary’s has been accredited since 1974.

Our Staff

Laura Webster
Principal and Teacher

8th Grade ELA

Matthew Kuhn
Assistant Principal and Teacher

6th Grade ELA

Kathy Sowards

Monica Ibarra
Officer Manager

Very Rev. Richard C. Wilson, VF

Professional Staff

St. Mary’s primary and elementary or early childhood teachers are certified and have bachelor’s or master’s degrees, many with coursework beyond the master’s degree level. Junior high and “special area” teachers are either certified in their subject areas or are “highly qualified,” meaning they have at least a bachelor’s degree and have majors or minors in their assigned subjects. St. Mary’s professional staff (teachers, librarian, and principal) participate in at least five days of professional development training each school year. Full-time teachers are available at least one morning or afternoon each week to work with students who need additional time or assistance.