Holy Redeemer School

Holy Redeemer School History

 

Marshall's first Catholic church was built in 1884. Six years later a rectory was built and Holy Redeemer Parish was given its first resident priest. Soon after, in 1889, the mayor invited the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet to come to Marshall and open a school.

Once in town, the sisters wasted little time. St. Joseph's Academy (later to become Holy Redeemer) opened its doors on September 1900 to forty students in grades five through eight. By 1911, St. Joseph's Academy was housed in a new building and had met state requirements allowing it to offer students an education from first to twelfth grade.

In 1942, the first lay teacher was added to the school's staff. This was a small change compared to the ones to come. Soon after World War II, plans were set to build a new school for the Parish of Holy Redeemer. Because of crowded quarters, the high school had been closed for years. Old photographs of the building show that St. Joseph's Academy was in poor condition. On September 24, 1950 Archbishop Murray dedicated Marshall's new Catholic school with a new name - Holy Redeemer.

Originally, the building housed grades one through nine, but high school classes were soon added. In 1956, with increasing enrollment, an addition was built. Total school enrollment reached 573 in 1966. Because of overcrowding, the high school was closed during the same year. The extra classrooms were filled with grade school students.

1971 proved to be a hard year for Holy Redeemer School. In July many Sisters of St. Joseph left Marshall. With much hard work and sacrifice, the school was kept open. However, many members of the parish needed to be convinced that the school was going to remain a valuable asset. By the end of the year, the school had lost 117 students for a total of 375 students remaining. The faculty of sisters and lay teachers worked to create a Christian environment, set realistic goals, and made the philosophy of the Catholic school a vibrant, living force.

To visualize their beliefs, a motto, "Spirit, Growth and Service" was adopted. A logo depicting the motto was designed by the students and put onto banners and painted on the walls. Even the school's stationery sported the new thought. Within the next few years, the enrollment climbed to former levels, and the future of the school seemed assured.

A kindergarten was reopened in 1975. Sixty-four years had passed since the first kindergarten, then called a charter class, had started. Two sessions were held each day, morning and afternoon, with an enrollment of 42 students. The 1983-84 enrollment of 59 made it necessary to open a third section.

The early eighties proved that Holy Redeemer could bounce back. In 1982, twenty faculty members and eleven paraprofessionals taught classes to 451 students.

Enrollment took a drastic decline in the 1986-1988 years. There were two reasons for this decline. First, it was necessary for Holy Redeemer Parish to ask parents and/or parishes of students of non-parishioners to subsidize the tuition. This was difficult for some to find financing. At this same period of time the state and federal regulations did not allow special services to take place in the school building. Enrollment gradually increased, and during the 1992-1993 school year, enrollment increased to 372 students.

In the 1999-2000 school year, full time kindergarten was introduced as well as the implementation of a middle school concept in grades five through eight. In the fall of 2000, HRS celebrated its 50th anniversary with various special events. The school's facilities were improved in many ways including: the chapel, library, science lab and playground. The last decade has seen many advances in technology. HRS is equipped with two computer labs and computers in each classroom with Internet access and SMART boards. In the 2005-2006 school year, the school began using a system allowing parents to access their students' grades and assignments online. HRS enrollment has been stable between 250 and 260 students for the last five years.

Through all the ups and downs in the history of Holy Redeemer School, one thing has been constant, the passing on of the Catholic faith. We trust that God will continue to guide us through all that lies in front of us.

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