Celebrating 150 years of Service, Commitment and Education

This article was posted on: August 10, 2020

St. Peter Catholic School in Tilden is celebrating its 150th anniversary. The school building proudly stands as a cornerstone of our nation’s history, offering the same academic excellence established by its founders generations ago. St. Peter School has been continually blessed with a staff of highly qualified teachers who have sown the seeds of knowledge and the Catholic Faith to the many students who have walked through its doors throughout the last century and a half.

The legacy began in 1850, when pioneers settled in the Tilden area. Strong Christians who had left their homeland in Europe built a church to praise God for their safe journey. The settlers’ thoughts next turned to the need of education for their children. The first classes were held in the church and the one teacher traveled between Tilden and Chippewa Falls. When the rectory was built, a classroom was added. Within three years, two Notre Dame Sisters were sent to Tilden for the 48 students. By the end of the next year, there were 114 students. The enrollment continued to increase.

In 1906, a three-story school was built. The third floor was used for boarding the students, classrooms were on the second floor and the lower level was a lunchroom and activities room. Students were dropped off after Sunday Mass and picked up the following Friday afternoon. The same school stands today, thanks to the excellent craftsmanship and sacrifices of the parish and community members. The school has received several upgrades, including electricity, heating and indoor plumbing. The teaching staff have always insisted on offering quality education, with special attention to the individual needs of each student. Their core values being Faith and family.

St Peter’s Mission Statement:
Teaching in partnership with parents and the parish community. St Peter’s provides academic excellence based on family, faith and God

By 1957, the enrollment had increased to 130 students and its high point was 184 in 1965. Gradually, lay teachers were added to the staff. Today, the parish school is totally funded by tuition, donations and grants. Staffed by four full-time and one part-time teachers, a secretary and many alumni, parents and parishioners who volunteer to take care of playground supervision, janitorial and maintenance needs of the school. This year, there are 58 students in grades 1-8. The students are offered a full curriculum including music, drama, speech, computer lab and an opportunity for sports participation. Many of the students are sitting in the same classrooms their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents did.

When asked about their hope and goals, the teachers and alumni say they would like to keep St. Peter School open for many generations to come. Principal Tammy Christopher said, “My dream is to someday add a gymnasium to the school for the students and community use.”

After graduation, the students go on to achieve high academic scores in high school; several have earned the honor of valedictorian. Many go on to college, while others stay in their hometown and continue the heritage of Faith and family established by their ancestors.

The dedicated parents and teachers of St. Peter School believe that religion should be taught in such a way it becomes a part of how you live, evident in your actions, speech and how you treat others.

St. Peter Parish and School is an example of a Catholic community working together and putting into action Psalm 78: 5-7 “… He commanded our ancestors, they were to teach their children; that the next generation might come to know, children yet unborn, in return they to recount them to their children, that they too might put their confidence in God and not forget God’s deeds but keep his commandments.”

Story by Anne Petroff
Member of Notre Dame Parish, Chippewa Falls
Published July/August 2020 Catholic Life issue

St Peter’s Mission Statement:
Teaching in partnership with parents and the parish community. St Peter’s provides academic excellence based on family, faith and God

Come Join St. Peter School as we celebrate 150 years

• Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020

• Mass at 4 p.m., followed by a tour of the school

• For more details, call 715.288.6250

The Catholic Diocese of La Crosse
3710 East Ave. South
La Crosse, WI 54601

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