The picture is from the last graduating class from St. Joseph's School in 1974. Thanks to the North Adams Transcript where the picture came from.
Education is vital to immigrants moving into the United States. Learning about the world you are in, and what you need to know to survive are essential. The Irish wanted their religious education; this was no surprise considering the deprivation that the English had enforced on them years before.
As work with the Hoosac Tunnel brought more Irish into town from Canada it also brought a need for education. Father Charles E. Burke decided that a religious school was exactly what the town needed. In 1886 Father Burke opened a Roman Catholic School for all who wished to attend. Males, females, and elemtary students were all welcome into the school. As the years passed, the schools popularity decreased, as did the numbers of Irish in the area. Many of the Irish jobs were replaced with the newist immigrate groups. With lack of overall enrollment and funding the school was forced to close its doors in 1974.