St. Patrick Catholic School celebrating 175th anniversary

CARLETONSt. Patrick Catholic School began in a log church in the mid-1800s. Today, at 175, the school is educating a fifth generation of students. An anniversary celebration is planned for Sunday.

“We have had a steady increase in enrollment over the past 10 years. This year, we have 128 students attending St. Patrick School, from preschool through 8th grade,” said Nicole Jaskot, president of the school committee, a St. Patrick School alum and mom of four fourth-generation students. “We have 12 fifth-generation students, 10 fourth-generation students, many third-generation students and even more second-generation students. What a testimony to Catholic education and this great school community."

St. Patrick School students Seth Jaskot, then 6, and Ben Illes, then 6, lead the first graders to their classroom in the older St. Patrick School building on the first day of school in 2019. St. Patrick School is celebrating its 175th anniversary.
St. Patrick School students Seth Jaskot, then 6, and Ben Illes, then 6, lead the first graders to their classroom in the older St. Patrick School building on the first day of school in 2019. St. Patrick School is celebrating its 175th anniversary.

St. Patrick School, 2970 W. Labo Road, dates back to 1848, when German and Irish pioneers donated logs to build a church, according to Monroe News archives. Rev. Edidius Smulders was the pastor.

The pioneers then built a separate combined parish school/convent. Three Sisters from Monroe's Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary were the first teachers. The early school had 120 students, according to the history page on St. Patrick School’s website.

“In the beginning, the students were separated by nationality, essentially forming two schools. On the west side was the German school named for St. Joseph, and on the east side was the Irish school, whose patron was St. Patrick. The convent and Sisters' quarters were in the center of the building. The division was made necessary by the number of German-speaking children attending, who would not have been able to absorb much of the teachings in the English-speaking classroom," the school said.

In December 1891, that separation was abandoned. The school’s 150 students were arranged in classes by age and grade, not nationalities.”

The 1911 St. Patrick School First Communion candidates are shown.
The 1911 St. Patrick School First Communion candidates are shown.

In 1909, the combined school/convent was replaced with separate buildings. Six years later, on May 30, 1926, the school was destroyed in a fire. A new school was erected on the old foundation.

“This school now holds grades one/two and three/four, the school science lab, a meeting room, school library/art room, music room and teacher resource room,” St. Patrick School said.

With enrollment increasing, a second building was needed by 1955.

St. Patrick School students in the 1950s are shown wearing uniforms.
St. Patrick School students in the 1950s are shown wearing uniforms.

“This building presently houses kindergarten, grades five/six and seven/eight, extended day and preschool room, computer room and the school office,” the school said.

The last religious Sister retired in 1998. In 1995, the school was accredited by Michigan Association of Non-public Schools, which still monitors the school. The latest accreditation renewal was completed in March and included an on-site visit from the Archdiocese of Detroit.

The St. Pat's Giants run for conditioning before starting field practice outside St. Patrick School in Carleton.
The St. Pat's Giants run for conditioning before starting field practice outside St. Patrick School in Carleton.

Today, St. Patrick Catholic School has 20 teachers and staff members. Airport Community Schools' staff helps with special classes like technology, physical education, art and music.

The school’s largest fundraiser each year is an auction.

“In 2023, we set a new record by generating $114,000 in revenue at the auction,” Jaskot said.

“The one thing that remains constant is the generosity of the community that supports St. Patrick School,” Carl Lenze, current principal, said.

Aaron Jones, father of three current students and four alumni, said St. Patrick School has beaten the odds.

Subscribe Now: For all the latest local developments, breaking news and high school sports content.

"The school has been subject to rumors that it was going to be closed for the past 50 years. Closure must not have been God's plan because here we are 50 years later, still thriving," Jones said. "Our school community is so motivated at St. Patrick, and this is a big reason why this place continues to thrive. As a very small country school, we continue to beat all the odds every year as we continue to grow. Of course, it is easier to have a private school in a large population, but this is a very special place and people can feel it very quickly."

To learn more about St. Patrick Catholic School, visit stpatscarleton.com or St. Patrick Catholic School (Carleton) on Facebook. The school can be reached at 734-654-2522  or contactus@stpatrick.school.

Celebration scheduled

St. Patrick Catholic School's 175th anniversary celebration will take place Sunday.

Mass will begin at 11 a.m. at Divine Grace Parish's Carleton location, 2996 W. Labo Road. The 175th anniversary reception will follow at the school, 2970 W. Labo Road.

In honor of St. Patrick School's 175th anniversary, students assembled to form the numbers 175.
In honor of St. Patrick School's 175th anniversary, students assembled to form the numbers 175.

Offered will be an open house, tours and refreshments. Commemorative items also will be sold, and staff and alumni will share their stories. The public is welcome.

An open house for parents and prospective students will take place 5:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at the school. Attendees can meet teachers and staff, tour the school and learn about admission and curriculum.

St. Patrick Catholic School also is sharing historic photos on social media and its website. Another school anniversary event will take place May 17-19, during the annual St. Patrick Festival. Details will be announced.

This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: St. Patrick Catholic School celebrating 175th anniversary