St. Thomas Aquinas School was built in 1961 and became the Catholic high, junior high and elementary school on Red Deer’s southeast side. In 1967 Maryview Elementary School was built, leaving only junior and high school students in the building. A year later in 1968, Camille J Lerouge took over as Red Deer’s Catholic high school. St. Thomas was a dual track junior high school, housing both a French and English language program until 1995. The Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division changed its junior high philosophy to a middle school one in 1999, which resulted in the now St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School name. When St. Francis of Assisi School was built in 2003, 1/3 of St. Thomas’ population went to this new school, reducing its population from approximately 600 to 400 students. Currently, the enrolment in the school is consistently at the 400 student mark and its catchment areas include sub-divisions north of 39th street and extending to Red Deer’s north side.
The core building of the school has gone through two major renovations; one in 1988 after a fire and the most recent completed in 2009. While the outward school footprint has changed minimally since 1961, the interior would be unrecognizable to many of its former graduates. As stated, in 2009 the school had a complete internal renovation; replacing walls, ceilings, communication systems and equipping classrooms with the latest teaching technology. Surfeits to say, St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School is now one of the most advanced schools in the province and able to equip students with all the 21st Century skills needed to be successful in the world today and tomorrow.
St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School is named after St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Catholic Church, patron of all universities and of students. His feast day is January 28 and he was born toward the end of the year 1226. St. Thomas was one of the greatest and most influential theologians of all time and as a tribute to him a statue was built the middle of the school’s courtyard.