A History of Our School

History St. Mary’s Parish School with St. Rose’s Garden Childcare

(Formerly Ursuline Academy)

Our parish school in Moscow has a very rich and long history. In 1908, Ursuline nuns from Ohio under the direction of Mother Rose Galvin, osu 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 in 110-year 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 for an education. Through World Wars, the Great Depression, epidemics, good times and bad, the Ursuline Sisters and their many co-workers educated hundreds 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 kindergarten and preschool—both were not 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 on their own auspices, so they undertook the aid of St. Mary’s parish. They sold the property for the new school for $100 to the parish in May 1956. 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), parish events (until the parish built its own center in 1980).

By 2002 the discussion for a new gym and additional rooms reached a climax when the School Board did initiate a Feasibility Study. Through many ups and downs dealing with the raising of funds, neighbors, city council, 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.

As of 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 have plans to create Archimedes: A Center for the Arts.

And as of fall 2018, St. Rose’s that has provided early childhood education since 1940 in the convent, has moved into St. Mary’s Parish School. Now, St. Mary’s provides education for ages 3 and 4 (with childcare) and grades K through the Middle Grades.

The School has undergone many changes too in logos and mascots. Each one speaks to its history: SERVIAM crest of the Ursuline Sisters (“I will serve”) to the logo of a lion—a symbol of strength and leadership to dragonfly, a symbol of hope and life.

Today our logo/motto speaks of our focus for now and into the future ---Crest (in the shape of the Ursuline SERVIAM) speaks of the 3 R’s that we strive 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)— this is truly the Way of Life we strive to live in St. Mary’s Parish School Community.

Respect (for self and others), Responsibility (for and to other others); Resourcefulness (using one’s gift to build a better world)— this is truly the Way of Life we strive to live in St. Mary’s Parish School Community.