Catholic Schools are a familiar institution throughout the United States. Normally, where ever there is a Catholic Church there is also a Catholic School.
Marceline’s first Catholic School was a private school known as St. Rose’s Hall. It was located on the present site of the Davis Paint Store. The first teachers were Miss Bernadette Lodgson, Miss Nore Trew, and Miss Anna Menke.
With the close of St. Rose’s Hall some years later another school was opened. It was located where now stands the Walsworth Publishing Company. Miss Nora Trew also taught in this school as did Miss Verna McKenna and a Miss Foley.
It was in 1918 that the first Parish Catholic School was established by Father Peter Cullen. He purchased the Eagle Lodge Hall for this purpose and gave the school the same title as that of the Catholic Church, namely St. Bonaventure.
St. Bonaventure was a priest who belonged to the Order of St. Francis. Since the Church was named after this Franciscan Saint, it was only fitting that the Sisters of St. Francis should teach in the school. The first sisters who taught in St. Bonaventure were from Clinton, Iowa. Through the efforts of Father McCartan in 1942, the school Sisters of St. Francis from Savannah, Missouri, took over the teaching in this school.
Because of the success of the grade school, St. Bonaventure High School was opened in 1922. For 21 years it operated successfully under the administration of the local pastor and because the school was small it could not compete with the larger high schools. It was prudently closed in 1943.
The present Catholic Grade School in Marceline was given the name of Father McCartan Memorial School as a token of high esteem and reverence for Monsignor T. J. McCartan, who generously served the parish as pastor 30 years. It was dedicated in the fall of 1957 and, in this Diamond Jubilee year of Marceline, has a present enrollment of 108 pupils. It is one of the finest equipped private grade schools in the state and has received recognition for its Reading Laboratory Program.