Catholic education in Hot Springs dates back to 1880 with the Sisters of Mercy opening St. Mary’s Academy, a boarding school for girls and a day coeducational high school and grade school. St. John’s opened its school shortly after in 1908, under the guidance and support of a Benedictine priest, Father John E. Weibel, and two Olivetan Benedictine Sisters. At that time there were eight grades, two teachers, and sixteen pupils attending St. John’s School. In 1921, Monsignor William Carroll, pastor of both parishes, directed that both schools merge and requested that the Sisters of Mercy take over the leadership and guidance of St. John’s School. Class sizes and attendance continued to grow, requiring many transformations and building projects to be organized to provide for the educational needs of its Catholic and other than Catholic community.