The History of Catholic Education in Mitchell
For over 100 years Catholic Education has played in integral
role in the religious formation, and the academic and personal development in
students. This opportunity for growth
has been made available because of the generosity and commitment of the
Presentation Sisters, dedicated priests, and caring parish families.
In 1886 meetings were held to build a Catholic school to be under the
direction of the Sisters of Charity from Fond du Lac, WI. On May 23, 1886 the school cornerstone was
placed. The school was opened on
September 6, 1886 with 46 students. In
1895 four Benedictine sisters from Yankton were sent to staff Holy Family
School. They taught there for three
years. In 1898 the Presentation Sisters
of Aberdeen sent four sisters to continue Catholic education in Mitchell.
In 1912 a decision was made to tear down Holy Family School and build a
new one. The Notre Dame Academy was
started in 1912. The first graduating
class of 1914 consisted of two members.
In 1918, Notre Dame Junior College opened in Mitchell. The East wing of the Notre Dame Academy
building was added in 1921. The
Presentation Sisters nurtured these schools for many years by providing nuns
for teachers, administrators, and helping in the overall operations of the
building. As time passed, the Sisters
envisioned a growing need for expanding the opportunities for college students. These needs were met by merging Notre Dame
Junior College with Presentation Junior College of Aberdeen in 1951. Notre Dame Junior College graduated 1,376
students during its 29 year existence in Mitchell.
In 1954 the Holy Family gymnasium was built across the street from the school,
and new additions to the Notre Dame Academy building were completed in 1955 and
1960. In 1962, the steady growth of the
Mitchell community led Holy Family parish to split. Holy Spirit Parish was formed and in 1964
Holy Spirit School opened its doors to students in grades one through
Notre Dame High School moved to the former public high school building on East
Fifth Street in the winter of 1963.
Students from both parishes took advantage of this opportunity to
continue their Catholic education at the new location. Financial woes began to plague the high
school operation in the late sixties, and in 1970 the difficult decision was
made to close Notre Dame High School.
In 1987 Holy Family and Holy Spirit Schools joined to form the Mitchell
Catholic School system. With the departure of the Presentation Sisters from Mitchell, the schools would
be without religious sisters for the first time since the school’s inception.
Over the next several years, Holy Family and Holy Spirit schools streamlined
their operations by eliminating grades seven and eight while adding preschool
services. The Holy Family site housed
grades three through sixth, and the Holy Spirit site housed Preschool –second
grades. Combined school enrollment at
that time was 293.
In 1999 Holy Family and Holy Spirit parishes made the decision to combine the
Catholic School System into one facility; with the encouragement from the
Bishop, Pastors, parents and school personnel.
An intensive fundraising campaign was launched to fund the new
construction. On May 1, 2000, the new
John Paul II Elementary school held its groundbreaking as an addition to the
Holy Spirit School. Holy Family School
was closed and classrooms were moved into the new John Paul II facility. On January 2, 2001 all students started school
at John Paul II Elementary School.
In 2005 the abandoned yet venerable Notre Dame Academy was demolished to make
way for the new addition of Holy Family Church.
Today strong Catholic Education opportunities are still available because of the faithful
support of the Holy Family and Holy Spirit parishes along with the administration, staff and
families of John Paul II School.
would like more information on how you can support the continuation of Catholic
Education in Mitchell contact Nicole Fuhrer, Development Director for the
Mitchell Foundation for Catholic Education
at 605-999-9127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
OUR FOUNDATION HISTORY
The Mitchell Foundation for Catholic Education was originally the
Notre Dame Foundation, formed in 1991. The purpose of this
Foundation is to create a sound financial base, through an endowment,
to support Catholic education in Mitchell. In addition, through its
financial resources, the MFCE intends to support the spiritual,
educational, and social well-being of our Catholic faith community.
the past 19 years the Foundation has seen many changes
name. Our purpose is the same, the goal of building a
education for our faith community.
Guiding the Foundation is a board of Holy Spirit and
Holy Family laity and clergy. This board oversees all
activity by the Foundation, providing expert and sound
for the Foundation’s assets. The Foundation’s ministry is to enhance
the stewardship of the Catholic
community whereby the faithful share
their expertise, time, talent, wisdom, and financial resources.
We wish to continue to financially assist and lead the
John Paul II Elementary School, the Faith Formation Program,
and the Parishes of Holy Family and Holy Spirit to new
heights of Catholic excellence.
Get your lasting keepsake of Notre Dame Academy,
Mitchell South Dakota,
painted by John Green, a famous South Dakota
Purchase a signed, numbered, and limited edition
16" x 20" print
by calling any of the following Mitchell framers:
James River Gallery - Jim Piper 605-996-5075
John Paul II School 605-996-2365
MFCE office 605-999-9127