The parish was founded in June, 1962 to meet the growing needs of families in the Township of Franklin. On March 1, 1963 groundbreaking for the construction of a 16 classroom school and a "temporary" church which was to serve as the school's auditorium/gymnasium when a "permanent" church would be constructed. Just two years and two months later on September 8, 1965, Saint Matthias School opened its doors to 350 students in grades one through four with the intent of adding another grade each year. By 1969 the school housed all eight grades. Sister Mary Janice, R.S.M. was the first Principal of Saint Matthias School and the faculty consisted of four Sisters of Mercy, four lay teachers, assisted by a secretary and a custodian. A Home School Association was organized to assist in facilitating the school's needs and to provide financial support through fundraising projects.
In the early 1990's the faculty, students and parent initiated the Self-Study Process for Evaluation by the Middle States Association. In 1992 Saint Matthias School earned accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; it enjoys a reputation as one of the finest schools in the Catholic Diocese of Metuchen.
As the Somerset section of Franklin Township, a suburban community, increased in population so did the number of families in the parish and the number of children in Saint Matthias School. The student body, like the parish and surrounding community is socially, economically and ethnically diverse. Since 1962 the Saint Matthias Community has grown from 800 families to almost 3,000 families in 1996. Today there are 570 children learning in an atmosphere of Faith, Caring and Excellence at Saint Matthias School.
It was the dream of many in the parish to establish a pre-kindergarten and kindergarten program. In May 1995 there was a groundbreaking for a new addition housing four classrooms, a parish meeting room, and space for the largest library/media center in the diocese. For the 1995-1996 school year the kindergarten was temporarily housed in two classrooms which were built in the cafeteria while the pre-kindergarten children occupied the renovated garage and a meeting room in the parish office building. In September 1996, the addition was ready for occupancy. The building was successfully completed without a major fundraising campaign.
The four bright, spacious classrooms are a perfect setting for the kindergarten and pre-kindergarten children who come to us daily. The new library space provides us with the opportunity to bring the library's resources into the "Information Age" by fully computerizing library functions, thereby expanding the selection of resources. A committee of parents, faculty, staff and administration had determined that to effectively serve Saint Matthias School and other parish ministries, the library will computerize its catalog, circulation and other functions and employ other technologies to help students access information with and outside the walls of the library.
In 2001, Saint Matthias was the only Catholic Elementary School in New Jersey to be named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, the highest honor a school can receive from the US Department of Education. The federal reviewers, who spent three days at the school, were thoroughly impressed with the school’s academic performance and strong community spirit. This recognition means that Saint Matthias is not only an excellent Catholic School, but also one of the most exceptional elementary schools in the United States.
In an ambitious move that has turned into a major success story, Saint Matthias School gained its Middle States accreditation for the school year 2002-2003 by implementing S*T*A*R*S, a breakthrough character education program that will last five years. Strategies Towards Achieving Real-Life Skills or S*T*A*R*S is designed to nurture such values as respect, peaceful conflict resolution, caring, honesty, responsibility and patience. In connection with the S*T*A*R*S program 18 eighth graders and 18 fourth graders have volunteered their time and talent to serve as peer mediators in the mornings and during lunch/recess time. Their purpose is to help students resolve disagreements in a peaceful manner. The administration and faculty believe that as Catholic educators they are called to nurture and support the development of a strong character based upon religion, respect and responsibility. The teachers share with parents the responsibility of forming Christian character in their children.
Saint Matthias School is blessed with a dedicated faculty that appreciates the richness of a culturally diverse student body. Each member of the school family from administration to parent volunteers is fully aware that theirs is a ministry of loving service, and they joyfully share in the teaching mission of Jesus and His Church. The larger Catholic Community of Saint Matthias is enriched and enlivened by its children who will someday, as adult parishioners in the 21st century, carry on the loving ministry of the Church in the tradition of "Faith, Caring, and Excellence" which they are now receiving.