St. Mary’s School dates its beginning early in the history of Kickapoo. In 1862, the same year as the first St. Mary’s Church was built, the Catholic community constructed the first grade school; a one-room frame building located on what is now the school playground. A home for the nuns was also constructed, and later, a two-room school was built.
Records indicate that the school was named St. Anthony’s. Grades one through eight were taught in both German and English. In the early 1900’s, the name of the school was changed to St. Mary’s. In 1864, Sisters Barbara Moes and Alberta Stockof (Sisters of St. Francis) took charge of the school that included students from the Parishes of St. Mary’s and St. Patrick’s. Records indicate that the Sisters of St. Francis taught until 1933, except for the years 1879 to 1882.
A new school building was built in 1933, the first year that Rev. A. L. Mey was pastor. At that time, the Sisters of Notre Dame began operating the school. Another addition was constructed in 1952. In 1971, because of a shortage of nuns, the Sisters of Notre Dame moved away. Closing of the school was a serious consideration. Through the efforts of Father Mey, and the will of the congregation, the school continued to operate with lay teachers.
For the next 28 years, the school continued to serve the parish and the surrounding communities, upholding the century old traditions of a country school atmosphere. In 1999, destruction of the convent began to make room for the latest expansion which included 6 classrooms, a modern kitchen/cafeteria, a parish hall, a gymnasium and offices for the school and Church. This project was completed in 2000.
The graduates of St. Mary’s attend area high schools: Peoria Notre Dame, as well as the public schools of Brimfield, Dunlap and Elmwood.
The continued growth and success of St. Mary’s School bears witness to the great love our God blesses us with everyday. We hope you will enjoy the warmth and comfort of St. Mary’s School.