The church completed, Bishop O'Hara of Scranton, seeing the need for a parochial school, proposed that the pastor convert the church club house into a school building and suggested that he invite the Sisters of Mercy to assume charge. On September 4, 1874, Mother M. Agnes McGurn, Mother M De Chantel Geary, Sister M Genevieve Lovet, Sister M. Evangelist Karnes and Mother M Theresa Cantillon arrived from Buffalo and on the first Monday of October, 1874, St. Gabriel School opened in the clubhouse with 350 registered pupils. At the same time, a night school was opened for men and boys who were employed during the day. Initial attendance at the night school was between 40 and 50 pupils. During the strike which occurred in 1875, this number doubled. Sunday schools were opened in Jeansville, Stockton, Humboldt, Frenchtown, and Harleigh. The sisters traveled to these places by horse and buggy to instruct children in the faith.
In June 1900, St. Gabriel's graduated its first high school class, consisting of five members and presided over by Father E.S. Phillips. In 1911, during the pastorate of Monsignor Fagan, the cornerstone of the new brick school was laid. The school was blessed on September 24, 1912 and certified as a high school by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in 1914. During the great flu epidemic of 1918, Reverend James Fagan, pastor at the time, converted the school to an improvised hospital and the sisters cared for the ill during the epidemic. In June of 1950, Monsignor Kane completed plans for remodeling of the old school building and the building of a whole new section which was dedicated and blessed on October 7, 1951. That same building was in use until the fall of 1992, when it was closed and the remaining classes (pre-school and kindergarten) transferred to the lower level of the convent building. Subsequently, the building was demolished in 1998 to provide parking space for the renovated convent apartment and office building.
For St. Gabriel's School records, please contact: Holy Family Academy 610 N. Laurel Street • Hazleton, Pennsylvania 18202 570.455.9431 Fax 570.455.2847