The Rich History of St. Mary of the Mills School
St. Mary of the Mills School, founded in 1893 by Father Caughy, had a modest beginning. Using the newly enlarged sacristy of the church, 40 students were afforded the opportunity to learn in the Catholic tradition. A rising enrollment necessitated a move, in 1917, to the “Jenkins House”. This lovely stone house was formerly owned by the widow of Dr. Theodore Jenkins, the generous benefactor of St. Mary’s Chapel. Initially, the building was named St. Mildred’s Academy to honor the sister of the pastor at that time, Father Joseph A. Myer. The stately home was remodeled and used as the grade school until the completion of the present stone and brick structure on the same site in 1953.
As the town of Laurel grew, so did St. Mary’s Parish. In the late 1980′s the decision was made to expand St. Mary of the Mills School, and a plan for a new Parish Education Center was formulated. In 1990 a parish wide building fund effort was launched in order to raise the capital needed for this new center. Ground breaking for this three-part addition took place in August of 1993 and the Myers wing was completed in 1999. At the present time the school has the capacity to enroll over 500 students and is used parish wide for Religious Education, scouts, and various other parish functions.
St. Mary of the Mills School enjoys a long and continuous tradition of excellence from those who devoted themselves to the Catholic education of the young people of Laurel. In 1917, the Sisters of Mercy provided their educational leadership to the school community. From 1921 to 1934, the school was staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. The Pallottine Missionary Sisters of Huntington, West Virginia have served the school as both teachers and administrators from 1934. Today we still enjoy a working relationship with this order. In more recent years, many lay women and men have dedicated themselves to continuing the legacy of excellence established by our predecessors.