St. Edmond Catholic School: Proud of its students

Ground to be broken on new church building in the spring

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Kim Galles, a first grade teacher at St. Edmond Catholic School, asks her class if they can identify what day it is.

St. Edmond Catholic School students have much to celebrate after they scored higher than the state average on ACT testing.

According to St. Edmond President Mary Gibb, students have had the highest composite ACT score over the past five years, since she’s been with the school.

“We had a 24 on our ACT composite,” Gibb said. “And the state average is 21.9.”

St. Edmond Principal Linda Mitchell said this past year was the first that St. Edmond offered an ACT prep course in conjunction with the Fort Dodge Community School District.

“We offer the version where they come for five Wednesday nights and they pay for an instructor to come in,” Mitchell said. “We have an instructor that comes in and leads them in, step by step, the ACT test process. So hopefully they get over some of the anxiety of taking a standardized test.”

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Ella Vandi, 6, a first-grader at St. Edmond Catholic School, reads a book aloud during reading time in class.

Fort Dodge Senior High students are able to come to St. Edmond to take part in their class. At the same time, Mitchell said the public school’s ACT prep course is open to St. Edmond students.

The high scores show the students’ desire to learn.

“They care, and they’re planning for the future,” Mitchell said.

“And they take their learning seriously,” Gibb added.

“I think the kids take pride in what they do,” Mitchell continued. “Whether it be academics or athletics.”

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Alivya Rokes, 9, left, and Nora Kate O’Connor, 9, fourth-graders at St. Edmond Catholic School, go over a lesson in class. St. Edmond students scored high on the ACT last year.

In fact, according to Gibb, students saw success in athletic and extra-curricular activities.

“We also had more successes in our football program, our volleyball program,” she said. “Our cross country girls went to state, our summer softball was really good.”

Academics and athletics show how skilled St. Edmond students are.

“All those things just contribute to the students being very well-rounded,” Gibb said.

And it’s not just academics the school is excited about.

In the coming weeks, ground will be broken on a new church on what is now the St. Edmond football field.

The proposed 26,000-square-foot church would be located on the north end of the field and track just east of the school. It would be reached via one driveway from Martin Luther King Drive and some entrances from Sixth Avenue North.

The church will replace Corpus Christi Church, 402 N. Eighth St., and Sacred Heart Church, 211 N. 13th St.

Gibb said this will be beneficial to the Catholic community of Fort Dodge and Webster County.

“I think it’s very exciting for our St. Edmond Catholic community and our Holy Trinity Parish,” she said. “Having those two come together on one site is exciting.”

Mitchell agreed.

“You’ll see a lot of construction here in the spring.”

The school is also making preparations for the opening of the Prestage Foods of Iowa plant in Eagle Grove.

“We’ve also been looking at forming some different committees in regards to if we do have an influx of new students that might come here with the pork processing plant here,” Gibb said. “We try to prepare and be ready for that in case it happens.”

“You just don’t know how many are going to come to Webster County,” Mitchell added.

While it’s difficult to gauge how many people associated with Prestage may send their children to St. Edmond, the school doesn’t want to be caught off-guard.

“You just don’t know,” Gibb said. “But you have to be prepared.”

Mitchell agreed.

“You just don’t want them to come and haven’t put any thought into it.”

Other new plans for the school include an improved alumni program, which Gibb said will be used to better track St. Edmond alums and get them more involved with the school.

“As always, classroom updates, curricular updates,” Gibb said. “We just have to continually improve.”

In fact, Mitchell said this year is the first full year of the school’s five-year long range plan.

“We’ve been trying to do our academic ones right away and our building needs,” she said.

In addition, there are some students who are planning on traveling overseas.

“We do have our Spanish group that is going to Nicaragua for service over spring break,” Mitchell said. “We also have a group of students from the diocese, not just St. Edmond but from the schools in the diocese, that are taking a Rome pilgrimage in the summer.”

There’s also some students who have expressed interest in traveling to Kosovo, which contains Fort Dodge’s sister city of Gjakova.

Mitchell said those students have met with the Fort Dodge Senior High students that have already visited to learn about their experiences.