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 in Fridley 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.

Our Catholic Identity

Totino-Grace is an educational ministry of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and shares in the teaching mission of the Catholic Church. As such, the school is dedicated to the religious formation and instruction, academic preparation, and cultural development of young people. Totino-Grace invites and challenges students to make his or her faith living, conscious and active, preparing them for leadership in the Church and the world.

Realizing that parents and guardians are the primary educators, Totino-Grace - through its administrators, teachers, staff, coaches and moderators - works diligently with parents and guardians to help our youth grow in their faith.

We are a community of faith and zeal

  • Guided by the life and Gospel of Jesus Christ
  • Emphasizing the inalienable dignity of each person
  • Fostering a love for wisdom and truth through the tradition and teaching of the Catholic Church
  • Striving to develop authentic personal relationships through trust and mutual respect 

We are a community of prayer and worship

  • Gathering regularly for the celebration of the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation
  • Praying together each day as a school, in classes, and as teams and clubs
  • Providing opportunities for frequent practice of traditional Catholic devotions

We are a community of service

  • Living our commitment to service and the common good
  • Providing opportunities for students to assume leadership for strengthening and nurturing their faith
  • Exercising a preferential option for the poor

Our Lasallian Tradition

Totino-Grace High School is an Archdiocesan Roman Catholic educational community where students are loved, instructed, and guided according to the traditions of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and the charism of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, Founder of the Brothers and Patron of Teachers.

A Totino-Grace education, inspired by St. John Baptist de La Salle, patron saint of teachers, touches the heart of each student, inspiring them to surpass their own expectations, achieve academic success, and experience personal and spiritual fulfillment within a safe, nurturing community.

As a Lasallian high school:

  • We educate in the Holy Presence of God, striving for excellence by instilling Gospel values in all we do and by inspiring academic and spiritual growth.
  • We believe that teachers and staff stand in a providential and grace-filled relationship with students. Totino-Grace students benefit from the witness of a caring, concerned, and dedicated faculty, administration and staff.
  • We are committed to create and sustain respectful human relationships in community. Within such a setting, Totino-Grace seeks to challenge its students to serve others, especially the poor, and to deepen a sense of responsibility in the world community.
  • We seek to serve and embrace students with varied academic needs and diverse social, cultural, and economic backgrounds and do so in partnership with families and all those who are committed to living the Lasallian mission.

Our Founders and Patrons


St. John Baptist de La Salle (1651-1719) is the Founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. He was born into a wealthy family in Rheims, France and ordained a priest of the Diocese of Rheims in 1678. De La Salle became aware of the fact that the children of the poor and artisans had no access to education. In 1689, he founded the Brothers of the Christian Schools teaching community to give a Christian education to the youth of the poor and the working class. De La Salle had great love for Holy Scripture, a great sense of always being in the presence of God, a deep sense of prayer along with a spirit of faith and zeal. Today, they are found in 85 countries around the world and working in all aspects of education. Pope Leo XIII declared De La Salle as a saint in 1900. His feast is celebrated on May 15. De La Salle is the Patron Saint of Teachers and is regarded as the father of modern pedagogy. He is respected as the innovator of many teaching techniques that are still in use today.

"To touch the hearts of your students with the Christian spirit is the greatest miracle you can perform."

Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger (1797 - 1879) is the Foundress of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Bavaria in 1833. Blessed Theresa was motivated by a desire to provide an education for poor girls and young women. She trained her sisters to empower women to be a success in the world while growing closer to God. In 1847, the School Sisters of Notre Dame came to the United States and have continued to minister to the needs of women and the poor. Today, the Schools Sisters of Notre Dame minister in 31 countries. Pope John Paul II declared Theresa Gerhardinger as Blessed in 1985. Her memorial is celebrated on May 9, and the cause for her canonization continues.

"Love is the sign through which the world should be convinced that we believe in Jesus."

Our Patrons

Archbishop Thomas L. Grace, O.P . (1814-1897) was the second bishop of the Diocese of Saint Paul, serving from 1859 to 1884. He was ordained as a Dominican priest and served the Church in Pennsylvania and Tennessee before coming to Minnesota. Grace was a staunch supporter of Catholic education, who invited many religious orders to Minnesota, including the Christian Brothers. He was a leader who believed in planning for the future. He was also known for his concern for the poor and needy. Grace advocated for human rights, especially for Minnesota's Native American population. Archbishop Grace provided stability and guidance as the Church in Minnesota grew rapidly due to an influx of European immigrants. When this archdiocesan school opened in 1966, it was decided to name it in his honor.

Jim (1911 - 1981) and Rose (1915 - 1994) Totino were great benefactors of this school especially after they sold their now famous pizza recipe to Pillsbury. Both Mr. and Mrs. Totino valued Catholic education and did whatever they could to help it flourish. They were children of Italian immigrants, and epitomized the American Dream. The Totinos opened a restaurant in northeast Minneapolis and worked tirelessly toward its success. They also created a frozen pizza business. The Totino's success was phenomenal. Love of God, love of life, love of young people and love of the Christian message motivated them to generously share their treasures with Grace High School.