Cedar Rapids, All Saints School
All Saints School was dedicated August 28, 1994. The school opened in September of 1949, with 134 pupils in kindergarten through eighth grade with seven Sisters of Mercy from Cedar Rapids on the faculty. Sister Mary Laurentina Barron was principal and also taught seventh and eighth grade. Sister Mary Monica Ryan taught seven grades; Marie Damian Dougham taught grades three and four; Sister Mary Gerald Fogarty, grade two; Sister Mary Leonice Derga, grade one; Sister Rose Marie Corkery, kindergarten; and Sister Mary Cecilia Soreghan taught music. Assisting the Sisters were Robert Jennings and Mrs. William Fletcher who taught physical education. Since there was no convent in the parish, the Sisters lived at the motherhouse and commuted by bus to the school.
Because the building of a new rectory in 1951 gave more space for classrooms, the third and fourth graders were housed in a separate area. Continued increasing enrollments emphasized the need for two additional classrooms which were added in 1956, to permit separation of grades four from five and seven from eight classrooms, kitchen and cafeteria were ready for use under the pastorate of Monsignor Edmund Becker, and in November of 1958, the school lunch program began. Many mothers in the parish donated their time in helping with clerical work and supervising the cafeteria and playground.
In 1959, crowded conditions at the motherhouse made it necessary for the Sisters of Mercy faculty tom move to Marion where they occupied one wing of Our Lady of Mercy Novitiate. In 1963-64, the Sisters lived at Immaculate Conception Parish convent.
Students who finished eighth grade at All Saints attended Regis High School which opened in 1958. All Saints Parish, cooperating with four other parishes in the Cedar Rapids area, contributed fourteen percent ($179,788) of the total $1,383,000 cost of the building program. A parish-owned bus and a larger bus from Chartered Coaches, Inc., transported parish students to All Saints and to Regis. Children in the upper grades participated in the Great Books Program initiated in 1961. In addition, Knights of the Altar, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Campfire Girls were active in the parish.
In 1965, the All Saints School enrollment totaled 375, instructed by nine Sisters of Mercy and nine lay teachers. In 1966, All Saints dedicated its new church, unique in the Christ-centered design which had been Monsignor Becker’s dream-a church fashioned around a crown. Parishioners, students, and guests to the church admired the unique architectures which provided a physical structure to remind them that Christ was to be the center of their lives.
In 1974-75, the faculty consisted of six religious, twelve lay teachers and 414 students, making All Saints the second largest of the Cedar Rapids Catholic elementary schools at that time. In 1984, All Saints had a Sister of Mercy as principal for the last time.
During Monsignor David Wheeler’s pastorate, increased enrollment caused the need for additional space. In 1992, additional classrooms, a gym, and a parish room were added to the complex. Due to a mushrooming day-care program, the parish room plus a portion of the cafeteria were soon utilized to accommodate that program. Father Charles Lang became the pastor facing the challenge to bring the All Saints complex up –to-date in the area of technology. All Saints was one of the first schools to hire a part-time technology director.
In 1999, All Saints educated and served 471 students, with 307 in grades kindergarten through eighth grade, 103 in preschool, and sixty-one in the child-care program. A lay staff of forty-four and one Sister of Mercy staffed the school.
On April 17, 1999, the All Saints community celebrated the school’s fiftieth anniversary. Mass followed by dinner was attended y many former faculty, Sisters, and lay persons.
As the 1999-2000 school year came to a close, All Saints discontinued sixth, seventh and eighth grades in their building. With the opening of school in the fall of 2000,k those All Saints grades six through eight students along with the students from St. Matthew and St. Pius began the new Regis Middle School at the former Regis High School campus. All Saints was to continue as a kindergarten through fifth grade elementary school with preschool and child care.