STERLING – St. Mary’s Catholic School is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
The school opened Sept. 8, 1913, with 180 students enrolled in first though seventh grades.
That building was torn down in 1982, and today, the school’s 182 students, enrolled in prekindergarten through eighth grade, attend class in a $3.2 million building built in 1997.
After the original building was torn down, the school moved to the Community High School building.
The school, its building and the parish have changed over the years, but the Rev. James Keenan said their place in Sterling has remained constant.
“It was a vital part of the community,” Keenan said. “Catholic education is a vital part of the community. And for this area, which was a very blue collar, working area, many of the families sent their children here to school, and made sacrifices to send their children to school here.”
To celebrate the anniversary, the school held a breakfast Sept. 8 and a rededication ceremony Sept. 9, both at the parish’s Bales Hall. They were attended by current and former students, faculty and teachers, Keenan said.
The celebration will end with a 4-day Centennial Carnival Sept. 19-22 in Rock Falls.