For over 130 years, St. Anne Catholic School has carried the torch of bringing quality, faith-filled education to the next generation of students in Somerset.
Our history begins with the first settlers of Somerset, who were French-Canadian and very devoted to their Catholic faith. One of their first tasks on settling the village was to build a log cabin church in 1856, which was located high on the bank above the Apple and St. Croix Rivers.
Within twenty years, the growing congregation had outgrown the first church, and a new brick church opened in 1875 in its current location. Some of the first settlers disapproved of the new church, for they had built the first church with their own hands. And so, in 1886, the original church was dismantled and the timbers were used to build a school alongside the new church. How proud these settlers were that their church was now the beginning of Catholic education for their descendants.
The school opened in the fall of 1890 with the first teachers being from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas. The sisters lived in the school building with about forty students occupying the two school rooms.
By 1905, a new school was needed, and an impressive three-story structure complete with its own chapel, six classrooms, and living quarters for the sisters was opened in 1908 at the cost of $18,000. 185 students were registered when the school opened, and they were organized into four classrooms and taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph from Cincinnati, Ohio. These nuns stayed until 1909 and left because they found teaching in a totally French school rather difficult because they were mostly Irish and German. The next teachers came from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Crookston, Minnesota, who remained a presence in our community until 1998.
In 1956, plans were announced that a new, larger school would be built at St. Anne’s. Enrollment had continued to rise, and 236 students were now attending St. Anne’s. The ground breaking took place during the grand celebration for the triple centennial of St. Anne Church, the Village of Somerset, and the Township of Somerset in June of 1956.
On August 29, 1956, the current school building was ready to open with 263 students! The old three-story brick school was demolished in 1959.
St. Anne’s continued to teach and nurture the children of St. Anne’s Parish. Lay teachers were added to the staff when the Sisters of St. Joseph could no longer accommodate all the needs of the school. In the late 80s, Kindergarten was added to encourage families to start their education at St. Anne’s, and in the 90s, pre-kindergarten was offered.
In 2000, a Capital Campaign began to add on a middle school wing to the school. Seventh grade was added in 2001, with the new wing opening in 2002 with the addition of 8th grade.
St. Anne Catholic School has a long tradition of faith-filled education of which we can all be proud! Thank you for partnering with us as we strive to be a light in our community and shape our students in our values of faith, service, and community.