Our History

“Therefore, when we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight, nor for present use only; let it be such works as our descendants will thank us for, and let us think as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them.”

(Ruskin, from original school campaign brochure of 1953) 

On August 2, 1953, parishioners of St. Mary’s Church held a kickoff dinner for a fundraising campaign and candle-lighting ceremony in the old Church Hall. Their purpose was to raise $100,000 to build a new Catholic elementary school.   One year later, on September 8, 1954, the new school opened its doors with 150 students enrolled in Grades 3 through 8. Pallotine Sisters Thomasine, Emilia, Magdalena, Perpetua, and Annette came to live and work in Spring Lake. 

There were only 260 registered families at St. Mary’s Church when the school was built, which was only about one-fifth the size of St. Mary’s Parish today. Together these people sacrificed to build a school that continues a mission of quality, Christ-centered education today. It is a living monument to the work of the faithful. 

In 1955, grades 1 and 2 were added. Enrollment increased every year to a peak of 330 students enrolled in the 1965-1966 school year. In 1962, the junior high wing of three classrooms was added, at a cost of $54,000. 

In 1988, the Pallotine sisters left St. Mary’s after 34 years of faithful service, and the Dominican sisters of Grand Rapids began their service to St. Mary’s Parish. 

In 1995, St. Mary’s School became accredited through Michigan Nonpublic Schools Accrediting Association (MNSAA).   The school was most recently accredited in 2022.

A playground for the younger students was added to the original campus in 1996. 

In 2002 the gathering space, kitchen, and gym were built to support the growing needs of the parish and school.

In 2009, a preschool and childcare program were added to provide parents access to excellent early childhood Catholic education. 

In 2013, fundraising efforts to replace our original school buildings began with the launch of the Mary, Seat of Wisdom Campaign. A new state of the art education center that brings preschool-eighth grade learners together cohesively was completed in the fall of 2016.