1914 – Archbishop Henry Moeller ordains Rev. Henry Waldhaus, and asks him to care for the deaf in the diocese. Fr. Waldhaus forms the Sts. Mary and Joseph Society to support his work, and buys two farms for his school. Archbishop Moeller asks the Sisters of Charity to provide teachers for Fr. Waldhaus’s school.
1915 – St. Rita School for the Deaf opens. St. Rita is chosen as patroness at the suggestion of Mother Mary Florence, SC. The first students include those from the recently closed Notre Dame Academy deaf classes.
1915-1924 – Two farm houses serve as both school and residences.
1916 – The first Annual Visiting Sunday was held – a picnic to allow visitors to see the work being done at St. Rita’s. Visiting Sunday evolved into the present St. Rita Fests.
1919 – Turtle soup was introduced by the ladies of Sts. Peter & Paul parish.
1919 – A week after Visiting Sunday a great fire destroys most of the farm buildings barns and other out- buildings. Barney Kroger leads the first Capital Campaign to provide modern brick school buildings.
1921 – Ground is broken for the new buildings.
1924 – Construction is completed and students move in.
1924-1935 – The Pious Union of Our Lady of Good Counsel, a semi-religious group of deaf women, is established to provide domestic and clerical needs for the school. In 1929 they are merged into the Sisters of Charity. In 1935, the Sisters of Charity discontinue accepting deaf candidates into their community
1927 – The first high school students graduate. St. Rita receives full state accreditation, becoming the first Catholic high school for the deaf in the country.