St. Bernard’s Catholic School • 105 Knight Avenue North • Thief River Falls, Minnesota 56701
St. Bernard's School has early and humble beginnings. Father M.J. Noesen considered the possibility of beginning a Catholic school in 1920 and purchased six additional lots of land adjoining the current church's location. In 1922, Fr. Noesen and parishioners purchased the old Knox Elementary School and moved it across the river. The building was cut into two sections and after the first part was moved, the mover quit because of the lateness of the day and left the second part sitting on the river. The next day the second half of the school was at the bottom of the river. They jacked up the building, allowed the ice to refreeze and moved it to its present location. During the summer of 1923, the school was set up and painted. In the fall of 1925 the school was finally put into operation by the new pastor, Father A.I. Merth. The Benedictine Sisters from Crookston who staffed the school were Sisters Secunda Wilshusen, Sophia Malinowski, Margaret DeGagne, Clare Duffy, Cecilia Beaudry, and Philomene Neussendorfer.
The school had eight grades until 1969 when the 7th and 8th grades were discontinued and efforts were made to improve the religious education program for pubic school students by organizing a strong lay board.
St. Bernard's School celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1976. During the celebration many milestones were noted including a new school building in 1949, the addition of lay teachers and the establishment of a kindergarten in 1976.
In 1989, St. Bernard's school was renovated, adding two classrooms, media center, library, and storage area on the second floor as well as principal's office and bathrooms on the first floor.
When School District #564 opened Franklin Middle School, the 6th grade class at St. Bernard's began to struggle with low student population. There was no 6th grade class in 1990, it was resurrected in 1991 for four years due to parent interest, and then discontinued again during the 1995-1996 school year because of low class numbers.
Preschool and Prekindergarten programs began during the 1993-1994 school year and included a 3/4 year old preschool program half days on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as a prekindergarten program half-days on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings or afternoons.
In the summer of 1996, the 75th anniversary of the parish was celebrated which included St. Bernard's School. A lot of alumni visited to see the many changes in the school structure!
All day-every day Kindergarten was added during the 2003-2004 school year. This has been a good move for the students of St. Bernard's School. It allows our kindergarten instructor to spend much more time individually with students who need a little more attention and ensure that all of our kindergarten students will be ready for first grade.
The dictionary defines Legacy as a gift or an inheritance that is handed down, endowed or conveyed from one person to another. It is to cause or allow something originating from an ancestral source to spread between people or provide something freely and naturally.
The Legacy of St. Bernard’s or the possession we hand on lives in each
Technology has come a long way at St. Bernard's School, too! in 1996 we began with about 50 Apple II computers which we built a computer lab with, and through grants, generous donors, and donations from groups upgrading their systems we built a lab that has one staff workstation in each classroom with new up to date computers. All computers are connected to a flat screen monitor, and a LAN was installed in 2003-2004 giving all of our computers access to the internet. A comprehensive TechWorks curriculum was used to instruct students grades Prekindergarten through 5th in the use of computers and age-appropriate mulit-media lessons. St. Bernard's School has belonged to INFOCON (a northwest Minnesota consortium of Catholic schools in the Crookston diocese and a few public schools), which has been very beneficial in helping us aquire at reduced costs a student information system (PowerSchool, which aids greatly in the office as well as is our meals ticketing program) and programs such as SurveyMonkey , NetTrekker, and Atomic Learning. We've also been able to receive grants to purchase an interactive whiteboard, Interwrite pads and clickers.
Through the summers of 2012 and 2013, St. Bernard’s has successfully invested in a full technology overhaul and completely upgraded its infrastructure computer systems. Teachers and staff have all been trained and are excited to roll out the updates this fall to the 2013-2014 classes. Some of the major upgrades have consisted of smart boards, computer lab upgrades, mobile IPad stations, 100% wireless (wifi) capable, secure intranet, server upgrades and installing 24/7 monitoring and video surveillance security system.
In addition to technology instruction, students in grades K - 5 receive Physical Education instruction twice a week in the city auditorium which St. Bernard's School rents, and Music instruction twice a week.
and every one of our students. It is not a monument of brick and stone, nor is it one individual’s accomplishments and fame. The Legacy of St. Bernard’s is left on each and every student’s heart, hands and mind. It lives in the accomplishments and character of its past students, present students, and future students. It continues to live in all the parents, teachers, staff and community that touch this school.
© 2014 St. Bernard’s Catholic School