Catholic School Background
Catholic schools have a long and proud tradition in the United States. The first Catholic school was established in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1727. Since then, the United States system of Catholic schools has become one of the most integrated education systems in the world.
The top 10 reasons to choose a catholic school education
- Catholic tradition and academic excellence in a community grounded in faith
- Balanced curriculum that includes art, music, and fitness
- Emphasis on moral development, service to others, and leadership skills
- A 99% graduation rate
- Strong preparation for further education
- Safe and disciplined environment
- Exceptional faculty who help students reach their highest potential
- Individual attention in a caring community
- Commitment to technology use to enhance education
- Good stewardship of resources
St. Mary’s Catholic School History
With an initial enrollment of only 12 students, St. Mary’s School was established in 1954 after Sr. Hilary of the Order of the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart realized her dream of opening a Roman Catholic school on Kodiak Island. This first school was located in downtown Kodiak in a Quonset hut, and was relocated to its current location following the 1964 earthquake and tsunami.
Sr. Diane served as principal at St. Mary’s Catholic School from 1968 to 2009, with other members of the Order of the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart serving as the primary faculty. Under their guidance, enrollment grew to 200 students.
In 2009, the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart Sisters were called elsewhere. Since then, St. Mary’s School lay personnel endeavor to build upon the strong foundation the Sisters endowed.
St. Mary’s Catholic School Today
In the present, the faculty and board of advisors are lead by two Co-Principals, both with history in the school–Brian Cleary, alumnus father and former School Board member and Teri Schneider, alumna and alumnus mother. Using their combined knowledge of the history of St. Mary’s School and the connection they have fostered through the years, every single person in the school brings robust and diverse educational experiences, providing a healthy framework for future growth. You can learn more about our Faculty, Staff, and Board of Advisors, in our Staff Directory and our Board Members Page.
In keeping with the St. Mary’s Catholic School’s strong history of family involvement and community integration, the school welcomes parental and community contributions and insights in shaping St. Mary’s School’s future. You can learn more about giving on our Volunteer Page.
Our Patron Saint
St. Mary’s Catholic School is named for Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary was born to St. Ann and St. Joachim in Jerusalem. In the Gospels, Mary was approached by the angel Gabriel, who told her that she would become the Mother of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Mary supported Jesus throughout his life and was there when he died on the cross.
In Kodiak, we honor Mary with the special title of Our Lady of Kodiak. There is a statue of Mary, holding the child Jesus in one hand and a boat in the other, which pays homage to our fishing community
Our Lady of Kodiak Prayer
Lady of Kodiak, walk with us across our island. See our trees reaching for the heavens, our flowers blooming brilliantly to light our way, our boats sailing proudly out to sea. When you look upon this beauty that is ours to care for and treasure, we thank you for these gracious blessings. Dear Lady of Kodiak, accept our island and keep it ever close to your heart. Amen.