All Saints School
On September 1, 1873, four Sisters of Charity opened St. James School in Bay City, Michigan. It was the first coeducational, 12-year, tuition-free parochial school in the United States. Initial enrollment was 120 pupils but the number grew to 400 by the end of September. S. Mary Louise Hebert, an early student, described the circumstances: “Owing to the lack of space the blackboards were hung on hinges to allow two pupils to work at one time. Pokes at each other were frequently exchanged when the teacher was not looking. … In three of the rooms were tall stoves once used in the church in which logs 3 feet or more stood upright. For the fourth room, the Kilduff’s donated a stove from which issued volumes of smoke for an hour or more. What became of the heat is still a matter of conjecture.”
Sisters of Charity continued to teach in both the elementary and high school through years of growth in enrollment, new facilities, and changing educational conditions. By the late 1960s a merger of several parish high schools, including St. James, resulted in the formation of All Saints High School. Sisters of Charity continued to teach there until 1972. Sisters of Charity continue to serve in the elementary school, today also known as All Saints – a total of 144 years!