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Remembering Resurrection School and Parish

Presentation Presence from 1961-Present

After having conducted religious education classes at St. Philomena Parish in Asbury for 25 years, the Sisters of the Presentation took over the operation of the new school which was built in 1961. At that time the name of the parish, and subsequently that of the school, was changed to Church of the Resurrection. The school consisted of eight classrooms and encompassed grades one through six.

The first sisters to minister at Resurrection School were Sisters Joan Lickteig (who served as principal), Dianne Michels, Donna Determan and Louann Doering. One lay teacher completed the faculty roster. The sisters traveled from the Presentation motherhouse to Resurrection each day. Sister Donna Demmer continues the Presentation tradition, the last of 66 members of the congregation who have served at Resurrection.

By 1964 a second set of eight classrooms had been added, and in 1967 the two sections of the building were connected by a temporary church space, a multipurpose room, restrooms and janitorial space. 1967 also saw the construction of a convent on the parish grounds, and the sisters no longer needed to commute to their place of ministry. This allowed the sisters, in the words of one of the original faculty members, to become “more fully a part of the parish, our parish.”

With the opening of Wahlert High School in 1959, students leaving eighth grade at Resurrection had the opportunity to extend their Catholic education for four more years. Further expansion provided a separate church in 1985, allowing the former temporary quarters to be converted to a gymnasium. Pre-school and day care opened in 1986, expanding the age range of students accepted in the facility.

Delivery of the curriculum varied through the years. In 1972, Individually Guided Education (IGE) was introduced, consisting of multi-age groups of students each learning at his/her own pace. In 1981 the school board voted to enter a shared time agreement with Dubuque Community Schools whereby seventh and eighth grade students spent half of the school day at Jones Middle School where they received instruction in science, math, music and home arts. This arrangement allowed room for a learning center at Resurrection where students received additional assistance through small-group activities.

The now Holy Family Catholic Schools system has its origins in 1981 as the Dubuque Metropolitan System of Catholic Education. This merge placed all the Catholic elementary schools in Dubuque under the direction of one administrator. Eventually, by 2006, all students in sixth through eighth grades moved to Mazzuchelli Middle School on the Wahlert Catholic High School campus.

In addition to serving in the school, Presentation Sisters have been a part of the parish in such capacities as parish minister, Eucharistic minister, youth coordinator, and teacher of religious education for public school students. Volunteers have provided music for the liturgies and joined in parish fundraising activities.

Sister Donna Demmer, presently teaching in the school, remarks, “As a teacher at Resurrection Elementary School I have seen many changes starting with a kindergarten through eighth grade building to a preschool through fifth grade building. When seventh and eighth grades were here I enjoyed just stopping to watch volleyball, basketball and football games. It is always great to see and hear about the accomplishments of students from Resurrection.”

Sister Donna Demmer states, “The goal of Resurrection School today is to be a place that is respectful, reverent, responsible and resourceful. The parish is one which is very concerned about social justice issues and care for the environment. I’m proud to be a part of such a great community.”

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