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St. Anthony School

In the spring of 1916, plans were made by members of St. Anthony Church to start a parochial school. Esther Link was hired to teach the school-age children in the parish. The back of the church was used as a classroom facility for four years.

Esther Link taught in the school for three years before moving to New Mexico. She was succeeded by Miss Agnes Louragon who taught just one year.

In 1920, the parish decided to provide the children with a real school building. An old public school building in Clark County was purchased at a public auction for $525. It was located three miles west, one mile south and another quarter mile west of Minneola on property belonging to a parishioner, Peter Batt. It was moved to Fowler and another room was added to the school immediately to accommodate all the children.

By September of 1920, the parish welcomed the Dominican Sisters who took charge of the school and began what was to become a 50-year ministry of Catholic education in Fowler.

The new school was built in 1950. The architect was Lorentz Schmidt from McVay and Peddy of Wichita. The general contractor was Noland Construction Co., of Dodge City.

Bishop Mark K. Carroll dedicated the school on November 27, 1950. The Fowler Public School band participated in the ceremony of dedication.

The school was constructed at a cost of $61,000, which included all the equipment. It was constructed of brick and measured 84 feet long by 57 feet wide. It had three classrooms, a library, and a large room for serving school lunches that could also be used as a place for recreation when the weather was inclement. The school had a furnace room and restroom facilities for boys, girls and teachers.

The north part of the old school was moved away, and the south part was torn down. The new school was built on approximately the same location as the old school. While the building of the new school was in progress, classes were held in the parish hall. The local Knights of Columbus Council provided all the playground equipment for the new school.

The enrollment in the parochial school in 1951, was 44 students. From 1951 on, the enrollment increased every year until it reached its peak in 1962, with 99 students. From that year on, the enrollment declined. About 50 Catholic grade school students attended the public school. In the year 1966, the seventh and eighth grade began attending the public school. The last year the parochial school was in operation was 1970, with 46 students enrolled. This was two more students than the year the school opened, but it was difficult to operate the school efficiently with such a small number of students. St. Anthony School was in operation for 54 years.

 

 

 

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