History and Heritage

In the late 1950s, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in Minnesota sought to expand the number of Catholic high schools in the Twin Cities area. At this same time, Monsignor Joseph Lapinski, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Columbia Heights, purchased some land in nearby Fridley in the hope that the Archdiocese would build one of these new high schools there. Approval for a new high school was soon given, and in 1965, the Christian Brothers accepted responsibility for administration of the school. The School Sisters of Notre Dame joined the Brothers in this task, and opened Archbishop Grace High School in September 1966, with 175 freshmen. The first graduating class was the Class of 1970.

From its very beginning, the Brothers and Sisters welcomed the presence of laymen and laywomen as their colleagues in every area of the school's operation. To this day, these men and women have provided the continuity of spirit and tradition that is one of the school's strengths. The school grew throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1970, the Christian Brothers informed the Archdiocese that they could no longer be personally responsible for the financial operation of the school, and a lay Corporate Board was begun to formulate policy for the school.

The school was originally named to honor Archbishop Thomas L. Grace, an early Minnesota bishop who was a pioneer in education. In 1980, the name of the school was augmented to Totino-Grace to honor the generous benefaction of Jim and Rose Totino, entrepreneurs in the frozen pizza business. Today Totino-Grace is one of the largest (with a student population of approximately 800) of the thirteen Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The school's long association with the Christian Brothers and its support of the Lasallian educational mission led Totino-Grace to declare itself to be a Lasallian School in 1997. Totino-Grace is now part of a worldwide network of Lasallian Schools with approximately 5000 Brothers and 70,000 lay colleagues teaching nearly one million students in eighty-two countries. Lasallian educators believe that to touch the hearts of the children entrusted to them is the greatest miracle of all.

When Totino-Grace opened its doors in 1966, the Christian Brothers and School Sisters of Notre Dame introduced our community to the people we now call our Founders -- not because DeLaSalle or Blessed Theresa ever walked the halls of Totino-Grace, but because their faith in God, their calling as educators, their love of students is what inspired the Brothers and the Sisters in those early years; it’s what still inspires us today.

Together we continue to honor St. John Baptist de La Salle and Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger and all the men and women who came before us to continue their tradition of faith, love, and education.

The Totino-Grace High School Crest


The Crest
A crest or shield is the oldest mark of identity and one that immediately results in a sense of belonging. The crest is a symbol of the strength of the Totino-Grace community and the feeling of family people experience.

The Chevron
The chevron is a series of inverted V’s on the left side of the crest. The chevron conveys the lasting impact of St. John Baptist de LaSalle, founder of the Christian Brothers, and highlights the school’s commitment to carrying on the Lasallian mission.

The Cross
The cross states clearly that we are a Catholic school. Jesus Christ is at the center of our identity.

The Flame
The flame atop the crest is the lamp or light of learning. In the spirit of Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger and the School Sisters of Notre Dame, we are an educational community committed to learning and faith. We are people of faith called to be light for others.

The colors of blue and gold are the historic colors of Totino-Grace and are colors of the De La Salle family crest.

The Date
1966 is the year Totino-Grace was founded. It reminds us that although we may be young in terms of years, we nonetheless proudly celebrate our tradition of rigorous academics, faithful service, and excellence and equity in all programs.