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Saint Michael School History
When St. Michael Parish was nearly ten years old, one of the greatest desires of the people of the parish was to establish a school.
In 1886 Father Berg, St. Michael Parish pastor (at the time), obtained two Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Hearts to teach in the lower grades of the village school. Sister Elizabeth and Sister Josephine were housed in two rented rooms in the home of Nicholas Scherer. Later, church members converted a 16 x 20 foot barn into the first sister’s home. This enlarged building served as their home until their residence was built in 1914. Today this building houses the church’s administration offices.
In 1893 the parish purchased a 20 x 24 foot section of the old public (village) school and moved it north of the St. Michael cemetery. The sisters utilized this one room building for religious instruction only. St. Michael Parish children who were attending the village school then came up from the public school after lunch for one hour religion classes and then returned to the public school. Children who attended small outlying schools came on Sunday afternoon for religious instructions.
In June 1900 the pastor of St. Michael Parish announced to the congregation that the time had come for a parochial school to offer all subjects. St. Michael Catholic School opened as a high school.
Two years later the school expanded into a full elementary school. With an ever increasing enrollment, two additional classrooms were added in 1908. These children, our ancestors, played under an old oak tree that used to be located on the west part of the playground / parking lot.
Classes continued in this four-room school until 1916 when construction of a new brick school was begun. In 1925 St. Michael Catholic School offered ninth and tenth grades allowing the students to receive ten years of formal Catholic education. This continued for eight years until 1933. Many of our grandparents and great-grandparents graduated from St. Michael’s during this time and they reminisce with great pride.
St. Michael Catholic School continued to grow. One of the highlights of the school’s extra-curricular events was the annual Thanksgiving Parade. Led to two older students hold prize turkeys, the children marched up and down the streets of Schererville, each carrying a gift of food to be presented to the sisters and the priest.
By 1950 the school was bulging with children A survey in 1953 revealed that not enough classroom space was available to accommodate the following year’s enrollment; therefore ground was broken for the school addition in July 1954. In February 1955 the new addition was opened. The office, Kindergarten and First grade classrooms are presently this new addition.
Enrollment continued to increase and there was no longer a sufficient number of Sisters to staff the entire school. Thus, the first lay teacher was employed in 1954.