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A Short History of St. MM School

St. Margaret Mary Catholic School was founded on March 14, 1956, and opened its doors in September 1956 to 746 students. It was staffed by the Felician Sisters and nine lay teachers in fourteen classrooms. In September 1969, St. Margaret Mary was accredited by the Texas Education Agency. Every member of our staff is committed to teaching the critical skills necessary for the students to become citizens in a never-ending technological and multicultural society.

Extra-curricular activities include Band, Choir, Student Council, National Junior Honor Society, CYO Sports, and Safety Patrol. Students also participate in band concerts, spelling bee, science, and academic fairs during the school year.

St. Margaret Mary Catholic School is open to the message of Jesus Christ found in the Gospels, to building upon the message through the formation of community, to witnessing the message through service. The school as an important part of the Church community, and as an extension of, and complement to the home, seeks to provide meaningful experiences in academic, social, religious, Civic, physical, and conscience development.

 

History of St. Margaret Mary Catholic School

After St. Margaret Mary officially became a parish in its own right, it was quickly evident that a parochial school was needed.  The pastor, Rev. Edward Dworaczyk, initiated a pledge system for funds in 1956, and before long the groundbreaking took place.  On March 14, 1956, the $350,000 project of a school and convent building was begun.  On October 21, 1956, the dedication took place with Archbishop Robert E. Lucey officiating. This building, containing fourteen classrooms, cafeteria, and convent was ranked among the largest Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of San Antonio.  When the school opened in September 1956, 746 pupils were enrolled.  Five Felician Sisters and nine lay teachers were the initial instructors.  The peak enrollment was 1,000 students by 1960.

The structure has undergone many changes since that initial venture.  When the cafeteria became too small, the parking area for the school buses was walled in and the kitchen and cafeteria locality was moved to this site. The original kitchen eventually became the Teachers’ Lounge and Principal’s Office.  The other area was made into classroom space.In September 1969, St. Margaret Mary School was accredited by the Texas Education Agency, after the addition of a science laboratory and expansion of the library. In 1972, the kindergarten, which was being held in Gevers Hall, was closed.  It was not reopened until 1981 when a new wooden structure was built adjacent to the school.  The building was a labor of love because much of the work was done by volunteer parents.

In 1980 a Day Care Center was opened for children attending St. Margaret Mary School.  This after-school facility stayed open until 6 PM and was housed in the cafeteria. It soon became obvious that the structure used by the cafeteria would have to be abandoned because of the stress on the foundation of the building.  After a two-year feasibility study, it was decided to construct four new classrooms and storage areas on top of the one-story structure that housed the fir and second-grade classrooms.  The new classrooms were then assigned to the third and fourth grades, while the cafeteria was now relocated to the site of the original first and second-grade classrooms.

In 1995, St. Margaret Mary School had approximately 500 students. There were still two Felician Sisters on staff, one who was a full-time teacher, and another who was a part-time aide in the kindergarten.  The principal was and still is a layperson.  The faculty had increased to twenty-one teachers with a support staff of thirteen.  The curricular offerings were vastly improved with a Title I program still available for students needing remediation in reading and/or math, a computer program offered at all levels, and electives offered to grades six, seven, and eight.  The band was still offered to students in grades four through eight. In October 1995, the convent space was vacated.  Early in 1996, the school received permission to reclaim that space. Renovations were underway that included new library space, a chapel that could be used by students, faculty, and staff, and a room that could be used for parent-teacher conferences, and a new teachers’ lounge.

In the ensuing years, the enrollment gradually dropped.  The closing of Brooks and Kelly Bases was greatly to blame for this decline.  So were the economy and the opening of Charter Schools in the area.  Nonetheless, St. Margaret Mary School continued giving a good education. In 2002, the school building took on a new look as parents, faculty, and administration took brushes and painted the entire exterior of the school.  The faded beige gave way to a rich grade enhanced with burgundy trimming. A special event took place in the year 2003.  The St. Margaret Mary School Band along with the principal marched in the Battle of Flowers parade. The same year, the control of the cafeteria was transferred from the parish to the school. The new enlarged computer lab was opened with eighteen Dell computers and a master control unit.  This lab was used by the upper grades while the younger children continued to use the Mac lab established in the eighties.

2005 saw the restrooms re-tiled by the principal, maintenance person, and a pair of parishioners who volunteered their service. Better drainage was installed in the original kindergarten building area and other sites around the school which were prone to flooding.  The entire playground area was surrounded by fencing, and two new pieces of playground equipment were installed.  The equipment which was considered safe and kept was repainted. The school joined the Southside Consortium when it was formed, and remains a member today.  The school has also been dubbed a “designated school” because of the steady drop in enrollment.  However, this past year saw a slight upsurge in enrollment. The portable building which housed the library became too small, so the library was relocated into the old convent building in what had been the Sisters’ Community room.  The band then moved into the old library building where it is still held today.

One of the parents who were also the Title I teacher died of a brain aneurysm. In her honor and in memory of her, a Memorial Garden was built at the central stairs.  A statue of Our Lady was placed in this garden.  This has become a site for some of the prayer services held by the students. In the 2006-2007 school year, and additional kindergarten class was opened to accommodate a large number of students who enrolled.  Currently, there are two kindergarten classes. The current enrollment stands at almost 170.  Efforts are being made to do better and more widespread marketing of the school.  Each year efforts are made to make at least one improvement to enhance the program offered by the school.  In 2006, it marks the 50th year of the school’s existence.  Many activities are being sponsored, and the major celebratory feast is scheduled for June 2007.  In this age of scarcity of religious women/men to staff the Catholic Schools, St. Margaret Mary is blessed to still have two Felician Sisters on staff:  one a full-time teacher, the other a part-time Counselor.

The School was Permanently Closed in the summer of 2017 Due to Low Registration Into the 2017-2018 School Year.

 

 

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