St Edmond Turns "60"

            The fall of 2015 marked the 60th birthday of the opening of Saint Edmond High School. It was 1955 when the shiny new central Catholic High School opened its doors. Until that time catholic high school students attended Corpus Christi or Sacred Heart High Schools in Fort Dodge or St. Mathews in Clare. In 1947 Bishop Edmond Heelan announced plans to build this centralized Catholic high school to serve Webster County.  Two major fund raising campaigns ensued, raising the necessary monies to purchase the 22 acre tract of land as well as building and equipping the school building itself.

            Over the years there have been many stories of sacrifice and blessing’s. One of those concerned the building contractor, Mr. Robert Hermans. Mr. Hermans was the general contractor on the Saint Edmond project. In a tragic development, Mr. Hermans passed away during the process. As happens, this setback led to major issues with the finishing of the building and significant cost increases. Mr. Hermans widow, Frances, came to the rescue. Fran Hermans sold a farm and used the funds to defray the cost overruns, thus bringing the building in at the original budgeted price. Saint Edmond owes a great deal of appreciation to the entire Hermans family for this gracious philanthropy.

            Another story of interest concerns the school’s first Superintendent, Msgr. Gerald Kelly. When Msgr. Kelly first saw the design plan, he liked what he saw with one exception. Msgr. Kelly’s vision of the school included a full-fledged auditorium, not a stage in the gymnasium as was common in those days. Then Bishop Joseph Mueller argued against the auditorium, but Msgr. Kelly stood his ground and thus a 500 plus seating auditorium became a part of the building and a major part of Saint Edmond history. For 60 years our students and families have enjoyed musicals, dramas, band and concert performances and most importantly the sacred rite of Mass in our beloved auditorium. Until recently, the auditorium at Saint Edmond was the only one in a Catholic high school in our Diocese.

            Saint Edmond High School saw 69 students graduate from the first Class of 1956. The school showed great growth, with peak enrollment of right at 700 students 9th thru 12th in 1969. In 1963, a convent was added at the south end of the building. The original building saw an addition of a cafeteria, library, chapel, 8 classrooms, a faculty lunch room, a new kitchen and a priest’s residence, finished in 1967. In 1981, a new 40’x20’ addition gave the school a new wrestling room, weight room and 2 locker rooms.

            In 1998, the junior high school or middle school was moved to the second floor of Saint Edmond. Then in 2002 came the biggest addition yet, that of a new elementary school that was attached to the original building. This made the Catholic schools a single site system, which has made an already close knit system even closer. It has also been a godsend for parents who formerly might have to arrange pick up and drop of students at 2 or 3 sites. Our school is now officially known as the Saint Edmond Catholic School System, no longer segregated into individual sites or complexes.

            Through all the years, changes and challenges, the one thing that remains static is the incredible feeling of family that permeates the halls of our school. We believe that we have much to offer our students and families academically, athletically, artistically and with our other extracurricular activities. We also know how instrumental we have been in molding the lives of our alumni.  We are proud of our alumni and the caliber of students that graduate from this school.