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THE HISTORY OF ST. THERESA SCHOOL OF LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS

Acknowledgement

The Parish of Saint Theresa 1951- 1973 was used as a reference for this online history of St. Theresa School with the permission of Fr. John Connell, Pastor
of St. Theresa Catholic Church. Interviews with serveral parishoners,
teachers and the staff of St. Theresa School also served as sources of information for this history. With grateful appreciation, the kindness and generosity of these individuals is acknowledged.



The Parish of St. Theresa in Little Rock, AR made the decision to start a school sometime in 1958. This decision was made
by a vote of the members of the Parish. St. Theresa Catholic School began in 1959. Approximately 75 students in the first
through the sixth grades were initially enrolled. Two Benedictine Sisters, Sister Marian and Sister DeSales came to St. Theresa's
at that time to teach the children. The students were housed in two classrooms, which were the kitchen and dining area of the
St. Theresa Parish Hall. The building that was St. Theresa's Parish Hall in 1959 still stands. Those same two classrooms are
currently the cafeteria and kitchen for St. Theresa School.

The first lay teacher was Jane Martin. In 1960, a Music School began instruction, under the supervision of Sister William. In 1960,
St. Theresa School added the seventh grade, and 125 students called St. Theresa Catholic School "their school." 1961 saw
St. Theresa School grow again, as the eighth grade was added. Sister Samuel joined the St. Theresa Faculty in 1961, as well.

The building which currently houses the St. Theresa School Administrative Offices, the School Care Program and the Art
Department, (pictured abvove) was completed in December 1961. Originally, this portion of the school evidently housed
the Upper Grades. About the same time as this building was opened in 1961, St. Theresa Church moved from the original
Church Building, which was a white frame building, to what had been the Parish Hall. The original St. Theresa Catholic
Church became the Parish Hall and cafeteria.

Sister Ruth came to St. Theresa School in 1962. The second portion of the current St. Theresa School was completed in
1963. These two buildings were not connected at that time. It was necessary to go outside in order to go from one building
to the other. 1964 saw Sister Anastasia come to St. Theresa's as the cook. This gave the school six Benedictine Sisters.
Enrollment of St. Theresa School had grown to almost 300 students!
`
Sister William's St. Theresa Music School was evidently a major source of pride. Sister William evidently taught piano, organ,
and music theory. At one time, five pianos were on inventory. Two of these were traded by Sister William for an organ. Mrs.
H. T. Thurman of Benton began helping Sister William with her increasing number of music students. Some of these students
went on to become music majors in college.



The six photos in the group below are from The Parish of Saint Theresa 1951- 1973

The first St. Theresa Catholic School was in the rear portion
of this building, and consisted of two classrooms. This
building still stands today. (Click photo for larger view.)

(Click photo for larger view .)

The First Convent at St. Theresa
(Click on photo for larger view.)

The First St. Theresa Church in Little Rock, AR (1951)
(Click on photo for larger view.)

(Click on photo for larger view.)

(Click on photo for larger view.)



What a proud moment! This photo must have been taken soon after the completion
of this building in December 1961. Sister standing at the open front door of
the school appears to be ready for school to begin.

This portion of St. Theresa Catholic School was completed in 1963- 64. This addition to the school immediately doubled the classroom space at the school. The lower grades were initially housed here. Today, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grades call this building "home."
..................................(Click on photo for larger view. )

..............
The structure connected what were the two separate buildings of St. Theresa School This addition, completed in 1974-75 added another whole perspective to the school.
.........................(Click on photo for larger view. )


St. Theresa Catholic School, as it appeared after the two separate buildings were connected together .
This is also the front of St. Theresa School, as it appears today.

The next building program at St. Theresa School was for a structure which was to connect the two separate school buildings,
which housed a total of eight classrooms. This structure evidently had a lot of forethought and planning. Architecturally, this
addition really added a lot to the St. Theresa School. It not only connected the two buildings, but it also added a lot of artistic
enhancement to St. Theresa Catholic School. The school library was housed here, in additional to several other rooms.
This structure was completed in 1974-1975. The school, as it appeared after this addition, is pictured immediately above.


The present St. Theresa Catholic Church was dedicated in 1973, and
construction began in 1972. The students from St. Theresa School attend
School Masses in this place of worship, and graduation for St. Theresa
School is also held in this Church.

The number of Benedictine Nuns assigned to St. Theresa School had has been decreasing since the mid 1970's. The last
two Nuns assigned to St. Theresa Catholic School were Sister DeChantal and Sister Dismas. Sister Dismas left St. Theresa
School in 1979. She was the last Benedictine to teach at St. Theresa School, or to be the Principal at St. Theresa School.
The next school year began with the first lay principal in the history of St. Theresa School. The number of teaching positions
filled by Lay teachers had been increasing for a number of years. At least one lay teacher had been on the faculty since the
early history of the school. All records indicate that the 1979-1980 school year was the first time that the laity completely
covered the administrative and teaching positions of St. Theresa Catholic School.

Construction for the newest portion of St. Theresa Catholic School took place in 1985 . This exterior of this addition was
completed in 1986, while the interior was completed in three different phases. In 1986 four rooms of the newly constructed
portion of St. Theresa School opened . They housed some of the lower grades, including pre kindergarten, kindergarten,
and first grade. The second portion of the 1986 edition to the school was finished and occupied in 1988. The final portion
of the 1986 addition, which housed the Upper School and Science Lab, was opened to the students in 1993. A wall was
placed in the hallway as each portion of the new building was ready for occupancy.

Photos of the 1985-86 Addition to St. Theresa Catholic School


A view of the 1985 School Building Project. This photo gives an idea
of the tremendous amount of
space in this new construction at
St. Theresa School.


This portion of the 1985 construction was opened first, with classes for the youngest students moving here.

The portion of the 1985 construction in the center of this photo opened in 1988. 
(Click on photo for larger view.)


This portion of the 1985 construction opened  in 1993. It housed the Upper
School and Science
Lab. (Click on Photo for larger view.)

 

 



A new Parish Center was the next project in St. Theresa Parish. The new Parish Center was to serve both the Parish and
the School. Physical education, basketball, volleyball, assemblies, programs, presentations and meetings for St.
Theresa School are all held in the new St. Theresa Parish Center. The dedication of the new St. Theresa Parish Center
took place on September 9, 2001. It was dedicated "In Honor of Rev. Msgr. Rudolph Maus, through the vision of our
Pastor, Fr. John Connell."

Today, all of these physical facilities make up St. Theresa Catholic School in Little Rock, AR. These facilities are a
source of pride to the Parish and the community. Within these fine facilities the motto of ."Quality Education in the
Catholic Tradition" becomes reality.


St. Theresa Parish Center - Dedicated September 9, 2001


PASTORS OF ST. THERESA PARISH
Fr. William Burke
1954-1958
Fr. James Evans
1958-1960
Msgr. Rudolph Maus
1960-1975

Msgr. Leo Reidmueller

1975-1981

Fr. Thomas Keller

1981-1986

Fr. James Savary

1986-1989
Fr. Robert Torres
1989-1990
Fr. James McDougal
1990-1994
Fr. John Connell
1994 - Oct. 13, 2009
Fr. Mark Wood Oct. 19, 2009 -

 

PRINCIPALS OF ST. THERESA SCHOOL
 
Sr. DeSales
1959-1965
Sr. Josella
1965-1968
Sr. Bede
1968-1971

Sr. DeChantal

1971-1976
Sr. Dismas 1976-1979
Richard Emmel
1979-1983

Mrs. Pauline Jegley

1983-1984
Mrs. Patricia Baker
1984 - 2002
Mrs. Judy Davidson
2002 - 2005
Mrs. Marguerite Olberts
2005 -2015
Mrs. Kristy Dunn 2015 - Present


The Following Nuns Have Served St. Theresa School
as Principal, Teacher, or in Other Positions

Sister Anastasia
Sister Annette
Sister Bede
Sister DeChantal
Sister Dismas
Sister Dominic
Sister Etheldreda

Sister Elizabeth

Sister Eugenia
Sister Helen
Sister Josella
Sister Jude
Sister Irma
Sister Ligouri
Sister Louise
Sister Loyola
Sister Marcelline
Sister Marion
Sister Pat
Sister Paul Ann
Sister Pauline
Sister Raphael

Sister Rosetta

Sister Ruth
Sister Samuel
Sister Stella
Sister William