In the late 1940s, Tucson’s parochial grammar schools only had nine grades. The desire to build a Catholic high school for these students prompted the Diocese of Tucson to purchase a 40 acre parcel near the University of Arizona.
The Diocese broke ground on September 19, 1949 and began construction of Salpointe High School. The Most Rev. Daniel J. Gercke, Bishop of Tucson, laid the cornerstone and blessed the school, naming it for the first Bishop of Arizona, Most Rev. Jean Baptiste Salpointe (1825-1898).
Salpointe High School began in 1950 as a modest school consisting of the freshman patio and original cafeteria building, plus nine classrooms, a library and administrative offices. A back room next to the cafeteria housed a small locker room and showers for students taking physical education.
Salpointe’s first school year began on September 11, 1950, with 170 students consisting only of freshmen and sophomores. The faculty included Sisters of Saint Joseph, Mother Seton Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Principal Fr. Victor Stoner and Procurator Fr. Edward Carscallen.
Tuition was $10.00 a month. In the first school year, maroon and gold were chosen as the school colors and the Lancer became the school mascot. The first clubs to be established included Sodality, men’s and women’s Glee Clubs, as well as the Library, Science, Spanish and Latin Clubs. Students enjoyed P.E., league and interscholastic sports led by coach Larry Baroldy.
The first stage production, Waltz Time, was a musical comedy presented to the public under the direction of Sister Catherine Louise, S.J. The first issue of The Crusader newspaper was published on October 31, 1950. The May Crowning and rosary became long-standing Lancer tributes to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.