Students finish final days at three diocesan schools
By KENNY KEANE, Globe staff reporter
Posted May 22, 2003
CARROLL - There are three places that generally remind people of important
events that happened in their lives - their homes, their churches and their
That was a thought that came to mind for Kevin Vickery, superintendent of
schools for the Sioux City Diocese, in reference to the impending closing of
three Catholic schools in Carroll County.
"When we talk about these types of changes - and it's the same for
schools as well as for parishes - the decisions oftentimes have to be addressed
at two different levels," Vickery said. "There's the intellectual
level where we realize where good stewardship is and the quality of programming,
but in our parishes and in our schools we have attached significant, emotional
events in our lives.
"So when those no longer are going to be those places that we regularly
visit, those are the emotional ties that we also have to address and respect.
That's very difficult, and I think the group in Carroll has really truly honored
the emotional pieces and helped people deal with the emotional changes."
For most eighth graders who will soon graduate from Christ the King School (CTK)
in Breda and Holy Trinity School in Templeton, plans were already made for a
trip to Carroll next school year for the next step of Catholic education at
Kuemper High School.
"I am happy because a few years ago I thought I wouldn't be able to
graduate from Christ the King," said eighth grader Jessica Tigges.
"Just being the last class, I will be able to remember it more, and it will
have more meaning to me. I am sad that the school is closing though, too. I feel
sorry for all the kids who are being left behind and won't graduate from Christ
Holy Trinity eighth grader Renee Irlmeier said she is proud to be part of the
last class graduating from Templeton, but she also believes the school is an
important part of the town and is sad to see it close.
"I'm happy we get to graduate because I've been with my class the last
nine years at Holy Trinity," she said. "I liked having a small school
and living not that far from it. I think smaller schools are better because
teachers have the chance to find learning needs of the students, but larger
schools are a good thing, too, because there will be a lot more students to get
to be friends with."
The rest of the students at these schools, however, along with those at the
Mount Carmel Center of CTK, the Halbur Center of Holy Trinity and Holy Cross
School in Vail, must prepare for a change of scenery next fall. Their schools
will close at the end of this school year as part of a consolidation effort at
Kuemper Grade School, which means that for their Catholic education to continue
they would need to make the commute to Carroll.
"I don't think it's fair because all my brothers and sisters got to
graduate from this school, but I won't," said CTK seventh grader Emily
Daniel. "A lot of teachers have put over 20 years into this school, and
it's just being taken from them. Even if a lot is going to be gained by making
the school's merge together, think of what's going to be lost."
According to Stephanie Frehse, who teaches fifth- and sixth-grade at Holy
Cross, what will be lost with this consolidation is the one-to-one attention
that the students were able to receive from their teachers in a smaller class
"I think when they're taking out the little schools that they're going
to end up with bigger class sizes, and the kids aren't going to get the
education that they need or want," Frehse said. "The students are
excited about it, but they're going to be in a class of 20 to 30 people when
they've been in a class of six their whole lives. It's hard for them."
Collin Eischeid, a Holy Trinity seventh grader, said he doesn't like the fact
that his school is closing, but he does see potential for a positive outcome
from this change.
"It feels weird because I have been here for all of grade school, and I
am changing schools in the middle of junior high," he said. "I don't
think much will change because you have to go to Carroll eventually anyway.
Maybe more people will come to Carroll because adding all the students and staff
together will make an even better school."
Bringing everyone together for "Get Acquainted" class days at
Kuemper during the end of this school year was where the Carroll grade school
principal, Mary Dobson, said she saw the most positive aspects of this change.
"Every student who came in went home with a little Kuemper T-shirt of
their appropriate class, starting with the class of 2016," Dobson said.
"As the children were going from room to room and doing activities, one of
the biggest positives that we all saw here was how quickly new friends were made
and how exciting it is to know that there are going to be lots of them.
"I think the reason that we were all looking at it and excited for it in
the first place is that all of the families in the area that had their students
in Catholic education had them there so it could be a strong influence. The way
to keep it a strong influence is to keep together in all of it."