By Victoria Grabner | Courier Press

Last year, the total enrollment at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic School was 480 students.

That’s a far cry from the roughly 50 who sat down for their first class at the school 140 years ago.

But it’s likely that the Rev. Thomas J. Jenkins would have wanted it that way.

Appointed the pastor of Holy Name Church in 1871, Jenkins could also be called, two authors said, “the father of Catholic education in Henderson.”

The school was formed in 1872 when four nuns from the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth arrived from Nazareth Academy in Nelson County.

“It is believed that (Jenkins’) zealous arguments in favor of parochial schools had considerable impact on the ultimate development of Catholic schools far beyond this community,” Charles H. Davis and Judith A. Hayden wrote in “In Celebration of Holy Name’s Centennial: 1886-1986.”

This Saturday, alumni, parishioners and others will have a chance to celebrate those 140 years at the school.

The celebration will benefit the Holy Name School Endowment Fund, and it will begin with an alumni vs. friends basketball game at 11:30 a.m.

Celebrity coaches will be Henderson Mayor Steve Austin and Father Ed Bradley, and residents can join a team by calling Terra Hurtte in the school office at 827-3425.

“Anyone that’s wanting to play, they can play,” Hurtte said.

Concessions will be offered by the Athletic Boosters.

Later, at 5:30 p.m., there will be a cash bar, appetizers and a Men’s Club steak dinner in the Holy Name School cafeteria.

Masters of Ceremonies will be former principal Daryl Hagan and current principal Sandy Fleming.

The Holy Name Children’s Choir will perform, and archives from the Henderson County Library will be on view. Tours of the school will also take place.

Tickets are $30 per person and $50 per couple and may be purchased at the school up to Friday.

Already, more than 150 tickets have been sold for dinner.

“We were shooting for about 200, and I think we are probably close to that now,” Hurtte said.

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