St. Michael's junior high joins Blessed Sacrament
By KENNY KEANE, Globe staff reporter
May 29, 2003
This past school year, St. Michael School in Sioux City was without a grade
level for the first time in the school's 50-plus years of existence. Next fall,
two more grades will be absent from St. Michael's, as each of these grade levels
will now reside at Blessed Sacrament.
The sixth-grade class made the transition this year, and when classes start
up again next school year, the seventh- and eighth-grade classes will move over
to Blessed Sacrament as well.
"For educational opportunities for the students, it's just a better
outlook for them - bigger class sizes for them to get more involved with other
students and activities," said Brenda Ferrie, St. Michael's principal.
"So I think it's wonderful for the kids.
"The children have visited Blessed Sacrament twice this year and have
enjoyed both visits over there. We took them over to meet the teachers and to
meet the kids who they will be in classes with, and everything has gone well. It
also has gone well this year for my sixth-grade students who were over
Even though the sixth-grade class was the only grade level at Blessed
Sacrament this year, the junior high boys from both schools combined on the
football field. All other sports for the boys and girls stayed separate at each
school this year but will obviously combine at Blessed Sacrament next year.
"For football you need more boys. We didn't have enough so we had to
co-op with someone," Ferrie said. "The previous years we've joined
with Sacred Heart. We just thought it would be easier to be combined with
someone closer to our area, especially being that Holy Family joined Sacred
Heart last year."
As for the students who have to make this change of schools, it may be
difficult to leave familiar surroundings.
"I'm not really looking forward to it because it will only be for one
year, and my class is familiar with St. Mike's," said Kayla Hansen,
currently in seventh grade at St. Michael's. "We have been at St. Mike's
for eight years. It is home.
"My class and I have discussed this a number of times. Maybe having a
few more kids would be better, however, I think you learn more with a smaller
According to Kirk Poss, another St. Michael's seventh grader, missing out on
graduating from their school is another aspect that he and many of his
classmates find difficult.
On the flip side, those who were in eighth grade this year now have an added
significance to their graduation from St. Michael's.
"I'm glad that I was able to finish grade school with the same people I
started kindergarten with nine years ago," said eighth grader Anthony
Oberle. "I also think that being the last graduating class from St.
Michael's makes our class special because we were the last people to represent
our school in extracurricular activities."
Another eighth grader, Joe Smetter, said he feels honored to be part of the
last graduating class at St. Michael's.
"I want our class to be remembered as one of the best classes, and I
feel that we are a good, responsible group," he said. "I think that
the class of 2003 represents St. Michael's in a positive way. My time at St.
Michael's has been a good experience for me, and I will miss the way that
everyone at St. Mike's felt like a family to me."
For the teachers, they will be losing the family's oldest members, the
upper-class students, who helped them with certain duties and were mentors to
the younger children.
"Those are some of the things that will be missed on a day-to-day basis
- having them be servers in the lunch line, having them be patrol and just
everything you require your upper grades to do," Ferrie said. "We're
going to actually transition our fifth grade into it. Our seventh and eighth
graders have been mentoring our fifth graders to do it for next year.
"They're going to take some responsibility. In previous years they were
used to doing that anyway, but it will be new to this class."
Even though St. Michael's will be losing grade levels that it has had for
more than 50 years, Ferrie said she believes the transition will go really well.
"It's a huge transition for the teachers who have been here for a long
time," she said. "However, they're looking forward to having a younger
atmosphere or environment. St. Michael's is pretty excited for it to happen -
especially for the kids to give them a little bit more variety of things that
they can do."