There has been a Catholic School System in Fort Dodge for almost as long as this town has been in existence. There are other Messengerland towns that can make a similar claim.
Catholic education got under way in Fort Dodge more than 150 years ago. The first Catholic school came into being during the dark days of the U.S. Civil War. While many Iowans were serving their county in the Union Army, Corpus Christi Parish, in 1862, put the finishing touches on its first school building.
It would be easy to recite the landmark events in Catholic education in Fort Dodge and Webster County and other areas of north central Iowa. In a century and a half there have been a great many.
Catholic Schools Week is a good time to reflect on the important place Catholic schools have in our community.
Fort Dodge and other area towns have excellent public school systems, but the Catholic schools offer a special blend of educational excellence and religious instruction. They provide an alternative approach to education that many in our communities prize highly.
For many centuries in Europe, and later the Americas, churches played a central role in educating young people. Catholic schools preserve that important tradition in a much more secular era. In so doing, they enrich the diversity of educational opportunities available.
Catholic schools deserve praise for the excellence they bring to the educational marketplace. Here and throughout Messengerland, Catholic schools are valued parts of their communities.