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St. Mary's School renamed to Aquinas Catholic Elementary
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St. Mary's School renamed to Aquinas Catholic Elementary

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Catholic Schools Week at St. Mary's

Students at St. Mary's Catholic School spend the first week in February partaking in special activities to celebrate Catholic Schools Week. St. Mary's recently underwent a name change and is now known as Aquinas Elementary School.

The Catholic school system in David City is adjusting its name.

Previously known as Aquinas & St. Mary's Catholic Schools, the school system has changed its name to simply Aquinas Catholic Schools. The name change accompanies a St. Mary's School Council and Aquinas Board of Advisors decision to rename St. Mary's School as Aquinas Catholic Elementary.

"I think it was about a year ago that we started discussing it," Aquinas Chief Administrative Officer Sean Timmerman said. 

Timmerman said some parents had brought up the idea of renaming the elementary school, 1026 Fifth St. in David City, a year or two before that.

"This past year we started talking to our school councils about it and the board of advisors and everyone was supportive of the idea," Timmerman said.

In some ways, the new name may be more appropriate, given that Aquinas & St. Mary's Catholic Schools have been a single school system for more than 30 years.

A June 1 press release from Aquinas Catholic Schools said St. Mary's Catholic Parish opened St. Mary's Grade School in August 1899. St. Mary's High School opened several decades later in 1954.

"After five years of operation, a new Catholic High School was built in David City," the release said. "On June 12, 1960, it was announced that the name of the new high school would be Aquinas Catholic High School."

Aquinas Catholic Schools

Deb Svec, left, and Father Sean Timmerman, right, pose for a photo by a sign for Aquinas Catholic Schools. Previously known as Aquinas & St. Mary's Catholic Schools, the entire K-12 system now goes by Aquinas Catholic Schools.

In 1986, a middle school was added to the system.

"(In) September 1990, the Council of Administration at Aquinas Catholic Middle School-High School, the Parish Council of St. Mary’s School and the pastors of the David City Deanery announced the unanimous decision that Aquinas and St. Mary’s were merged into one school system," the release said.

Since 1990, the elementary school has been part of more than St. Mary's Catholic Church, 580 I St. in David City.

Timmerman said St. Mary's Catholic Church is just one of the David City Deanery's 13 parishes that support Aquinas Catholic Schools.

"Probably about 50% of our budget is from the deanery Catholic parishes," Timmerman said.

The decision to rename the elementary school will not affect the Holy Family Learning Center, 622 J St. in David City.

Aquinas logo

The new Aquinas Catholic Schools logo no longer references St. Mary's Elementary, which has been renamed Aquinas Catholic Elementary.

"Technically Holy Family Learning Center is...a separate entity, but it's still part of our school system," Timmerman said.

The key difference is that the Learning Center is not financially supported by the parishes.

Timmerman said the elementary school and school system name changes are good for the community and schools.

"It brings some visible unity for both buildings in our K-12 system," Timmerman said.

Molly Hunter is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach her via email at molly.hunter@lee.net

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