School Connects Past With Present

Holy Name alumnus Mandy Leach has a reading/discussion session with a group of second and third graders. (Pat Blair Photo)
Holy Name alumnus Mandy Leach has a reading/discussion session with a group of second and third graders. (Pat Blair Photo)

Sheridan's Holy Name Catholic School is a connection between the present and those who built the school nearly a century ago.

The statement comes from President Mary Humstone of the Alliance for Historic Wyoming. She was the keynote speaker during ceremonies Friday morning that honored the school as a National Historic Place and as one of the few historic school buildings in the state still used today.

She told an audience of faculty, students, parents and alumni that Holy Name is the only school in Sheridan on the historic register.

The presentation included a prayer by Father Louis Shea, and performances by the school's band and choir. The program was followed by a reception and tours. School Principal Mary Legler talked about the importance of Holy Name to the community and the history of its two buildings.

She said the primary building was built in 1914 at a cost of just under $20,000 and has classrooms for pre-kindergarten through third grade, along with a computer lab. The 1952 building has classrooms for grades 4 through 8, along with band, music, art and Spanish. Religion classes are held in both buildings, she said, which remain mostly in their original condition.

Holy Name is the second-oldest continuously operating Catholic school in the state. Construction was financed by an $8,000 loan from the Diocese of Cheyenne, plus donations and assessments from the parish. According to a history book by Barb Ketcham, the school opened with a faculty of three nuns and enrollment of 68 in first through eighth grades.

A school census in 1924 showed an enrollment of 182 students, taught by four nuns. The school currently has 111 students and two pre-kindergarten teachers, one teacher for each grade kindergarten through eighth, plus teachers for art, music, physical education, religion and Spanish.

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