The history of St. Bernard School began with the discovery of oil in Bradford in the 1860’s. On April 7, 1870, Bishop Tobias Mullen purchased land on East Corydon Street for the purpose of founding a parish. There was no pastor but a small group of Catholic held religious services in an old wooden schoolhouse located on the purchased land.
In 1876, Father Michael Flood became the first pastor of St. Bernard Church. That same year, the first child was baptized and a wooden parsonage was built on the corner of Webster and East Corydon Streets.
Father William Coonan was appointed pastor in October of 1877. He would service the young parish for 38 years and oversee its huge transformation.
In the spring of 1878, Father Coonan began construction of a large wooden church, and, in 1880, a wood schoolhouse was built near the church. The first school was staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph from the Villa Maria Motherhouse in Erie, Pa. Five years later, in 1885, a section of the building became St. Bernard High School.
In 1890, land was purchased on Webster Street for the construction of a brick schoolhouse. The schoolhouse would remain at the Webster Streetlocation until 1972. During those 62 years the school building was enlarged as its population grew. In 1926, the high school had 133 students and the elementary school had approximately 264 students. By 1950, the high school had 170 students and the elementary school had 336 students.
On December 7, 1932, the cornerstone was laid for a new auditorium/gymnasium. Work was completed the following May and the new building became a welcome addition to the parish and school community.
In 1946, St. Bernard parish was divided into 3 parishes: St. Bernard, St. Francis, and Our Mother of Perpetual Help of Lewis Run. The three parishes were to sponsor a new Central High School. Ground was broken for the high school on December 4, 1960 and the new school opened in September, 1962 with 234 students. Bradford Central Christian High School would replace St. Bernard High School. St. Bernard School would continue to operate as an elementary school, housing grades kindergarten through eighth.
In 1972, a new elementary school was built on the site of the former social hall and was attached to this auditorium/gymnasium. A cafeteria was soon added and St. Bernard Elementary School was enhanced as the educational and social center of the parish.
In 1982, the seventh and eighth grades from St. Bernard School were moved to Bradford Central Christian High School.
In 2000, Bradford Central Christian High School was closed and St. Bernard Elementary School moved into the West Washington Street campus.
It has weathered many changes through the past 128 years and has been a dynamic and vital part of the town and parish community. However, on June 6, 2019 St. Bernard Elementary/ Middle School closed its doors for the last time. Due to changes in the community, a continual trend of lower enrollment and higher overall costs, the difficult decision was made to close the school permanently.