Our parish school in Moscow has a very rich and long history that began in 1908 when Ursuline nuns came from Ohio under the direction of Mother Rose Galvin, osu. They answered the call by Bishop Glorieux of Idaho to come to Moscow to open a school for the young people of the Palouse, so that they would receive a well-rounded Christian education. The school has undergone many changes during its history.
The original Ursuline Academy was housed in an old farmhouse in 1908. Many add-ons occurred in the next 50 years to meet the needs of the students. Those who were able to come to the school were educated; those who needed to be boarded, due to distances, were given the space to live, eat, and study. Through World Wars, the Great Depression, epidemics, good times and bad, the Ursuline Sisters and their many co-workers educated countless numbers of elementary school students through the years. High school education was added when it was needed. In 1940, the University of Idaho employees expressed the need for quality education and childcare before elementary school. So, the Ursuline Sisters established St. Rose’s for Early Childhood students (Kindergarten and Preschool) — both were not as common then as it is now.
Ursuline Academy continued until the 1950’s when student population was booming and building codes were changing. The Sisters knew they could no longer do their education work under their own auspices, so they undertook the aid of St. Mary’s parish. They sold part of their property for $100 to the parish in May 1956 for the new school. Groundbreaking and raising funds for the new school began in May 1956. By September 1956, students from Grades 1 through 8 moved their books and desks from Ursuline Academy into the newly built and paid for St. Mary’s Parish School, across the street on North Monroe.
The school continued to flourish and grow but there were a few bumps in the road. There was the promise of a new gym, which did not materialize until 2008. Grades 7 and 8 were closed in 1966 after Moscow Junior High/High School switched to a 3-year configuration (grades 7, 8, 9 for Jr. High). This allowed the school to convert two rooms into a multi-purpose room. This room was used for: PE classes, music, assemblies, lunchroom, Mass (on inclement days), and parish events (until the parish built its own center in 1980).
By 2002, the discussion for a gym and additional rooms reached a climax when the School Board initiated a Feasibility Study. Through many ups and downs dealing with the raising of funds, neighbors, city council, the Diocese, and the architects, the building began in July 2007 and the gym was able to be occupied by the 100th Anniversary on September 14, 2008. It was totally completed and paid for by the fall of 2013.
In 2017, the Ursuline Sisters had decided it was time for them to no longer own and manage property. So, after a search for the best use of the convent, it was sold in the summer of 2018. The new owners operate Archimedes: A Center for the Arts.
In the fall of 2018, St. Rose’s, that had provided early childhood education since 1940 in the convent, moved into St. Mary’s Parish School. So, St. Mary’s Parish School now provides education starting with Early Childhood (age 3) through Eighth Grade.
The School has undergone many changes with its logo and mascots. Each speaks to its history: the crest of the Ursuline Sisters is SERVIAM (“I will serve”) to the crest that is used in the school today (in the shape of the Ursuline SERVIAM). This crest speaks of the 3 R’s that that school strives for every student to possess: Respect (for self and others), Responsibility (for and to other others); Resourcefulness (using one’s gift to build a better world).
A logo the school has had for many years is that of a lion—a symbol of strength and leadership
The dragonfly has been a vital symbol of hope and life for the school community.
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