For over 100 years the Catholic Education has played an integral part in the religions formation and academic and personal development of students. This opportunity for growth and learning has been provided because of the generosity and commitment of the Presentation Sisters, dedicated priests and caring parish families.
Notre Dame, last known as Holy Family School, serving grades one through eight was established in 1886. Notre Dame Academy was established in 1912. These two schools enjoyed strong growth during their early years. In 1918, a one year Normal School was established and in 1922 Catholic educational opportunities were expanded with the opening of Notre Dame Junior College.
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. In 1951, these needs were met by moving the Junior College to Aberdeen, South Dakota. This college was named Presentation Junior College.
Holy Family Parish grew larger with the steady growth of the community. In 1962, the parish was split and Holy Spirit Parish was formed. Holy Spirit parishioners also had a strong desire to provide their children with a religious-based education and decided to form their own elementary school. In 1964, Holy Spirit opened its doors to students in grades one through eight.
Notre Dame High School moved to the former public high school building on East Fifth Street in the early sixties. 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 the next several years, Holy Family and Holy Spirit Schools streamlined their operations by eliminating grades seven and eight while adding preschool services.
In 1985, the Holy Family Parish Council approved a renovation of the lower level of Holy Family School. This remodeling was completed primarily through the efforts of many volunteers.
Soon after the remodeling was completed, Board of the two Catholic Schools began to investigate the advantages of shared services. Through these studies it became increasingly apparent that Holy Family and Holy Spirit Grade Schools could better serve their parish families by joining together as one Catholic School System. With the encouragement and support of the Bishop, Pastors, parents and school personnel, the difficult job of joining the two independent schools was completed in 1990. An intensive fundraising campaign was launched to fund the new construction.
In 2001, the new John Paul II Elementary School held it’s groundbreaking as an addition to the Holy Spirit school. Holy Family School closed it’s doors and all students and classrooms were moved into the new John Paul II facility. In 2002, all students started school at John Paul II Elementary. The new building also has a multi-purpose room for use by the parishes as well as the school.
John Paul II Elementary School students and parents are grateful for the support of both Holy Family and Holy Spirit parishes.
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