St. Francis de Sales School Celebrates 60th Anniversary With September 15th Event

Monday, September 10, 2018 | St. Francis de Sales |


SPOONER, Wis. -- Over the past 60 years St. Francis de Sales Catholic School (SFdS) has provided faith-based education to approximately 589 students leading to varying vocations ranging from local and regional servants, educators, musicians, entrepreneurs to global business employees of Fortune 100 companies.


Then: St. Francis de Sales School began in 1958.  The first Mass in Spooner was celebrated by Fr. Oderic of Ashland in a log school house on River Street.  In 1888, the first church was built on land that was donated by the railroad, using a donation of eight hundred dollars.  This first church was demolished and a new church and school were constructed in 1958.  The new school opened in the fall of 1958 with grades 1-6.

The following fall, school enrollment was expanded to include grade 7-8.  The Servite Sisters initially did much of the teaching at the school.  It wasn’t until the year 2000 that the last Sister retired from teaching and our beloved Sister Dominica is still very active in our Parish community. 


Now: SFdS School currently offers education for grades PK through 8.  The school exists as a mission of the church to serve the children of the parish and the community at large.  The mission of St. Francis de Sales School, in conjunction with the cluster parishes of St. Joseph’s of Shell Lake, and St. Catherine’s of Sarona, is to provide Catholic education of the highest quality to students from three-year-old preschool through 8th grade in Spooner and the surrounding areas.  Welcoming students of all faith, we offer a well-rounded academic curriculum with opportunities for individualized attention in a faith-based Catholic education environment.  With love and respect for each one as a child of God, students are encouraged to develop their faith, talents, Christian character and the virtues of discipline, responsibility and empathy to their fullest potential.  

Our students experience learning in a family-like atmosphere, which provides students with strong core academics as well as Spanish, vocal and instrumental music, computer, art, and physical education.  Small class sizes allow for individual attention.  Strong family involvement is encouraged through an active Home & School Association and parent volunteers. 

SFdS has gone through rigorous processes in order to become an accredited school.   SFdS has proven compliance with WRISA education standards and is a member in good standing.  WRISA’s executive director remarked, “We applaud the accomplishments of the St. Francis de Sales School community and its commitment to ongoing school improvement and high standards of excellence.”

The newly hired principal and former student, Sarah Darwin has aspirations for the school.  Her family represents SFdS parish experience and active participation of 50+ years.  Leveraging this faith-based foundation, and her background education, she hopes to provide strong direction and leadership for the school, working together with the staff and families.  Her background includes Bachelor’s Degree from UW Stout, Master’s Degree from UW LaCrosse, Principal and Director of Instructor Training from St. Mary’s, and has experience in education for the past 21 years in various grades and positions.

Sarah describes the environment at SFdS, “we are a family; working together, praying together, learning together, and playing together.  What my hope for the school is that the students of today can experience the strong educational and spiritual foundation that I experienced as a student here.”

Father Bala Showry, Parochial Administrator of the Parish Cluster, comes from Nalgonda Diocese of Telangan State (South Central India).  He is one of four children.  During this first year of priesthood he worked as a teacher in a diocese minor seminary.  From there he was appointed a traditional parish priest and principal of a school and rector of boarding homes for girls and boys for six years.  He then worked in his home diocese as secretary to the bishop for three years and additionally worked as the deputy general manager of diocese education institutions, where he served for nine years.  During the years as secretary he had a unique opportunity to help as a chaplain of Leprosy Health Centre for one year.  Fr. Bala served his diocese for the next six years as the founder principal of a college where he had again attached boarding homes for girls and boys numbering about 475.  The next post was with diocesan social charities as the director for two years giving service as the chaplain of school for mentally challenged.  In the last years leading up to this arrival in Northern Wisconsin he worked as a parish priest.

Father Bala Showry, Parochial Administrator of the Parish Cluster, eagerly states, “On September 15th we look forward to celebrating our history, successes and future with our Bishop James Powers, alumni, families, students, and surrounding communities with an event-filled day of school tours, games, raffles, and celebration Mass, followed by free meal of a pig roast with the trimmings and music by Tangled Web.”


Father Bala Showry, Pastoral Administrator & Ms. Sarah Darwin, Principal


Timeline of events for celebration:

All are welcome to attend the September 15th event and encouraged to tour the campus while participating in our carnival events. Free will offerings for the meal are appreciated in order to replace the 50 year old heating system and complete updates that are needed.

Saturday, September 15, 2018
St. Francis de Sales School
300 Oak Street
Spooner, WI  54801

Activities throughout the day from 12pm to 10pm

  • 12:00-4:00pm Carnival games, dunk tank, food stand, school tours, music, bounce house
  • 4:30pm Mass with Bishop Powers
  • 5:30pm Ceremony recognizing alumni and staff
  • 6:00-10:00pm Sit down pork dinner with coleslaw, beans, chips, dessert and beverage, live music by Tangled Web, raffles, beer and wine tent

Questions regarding the event or school can be directed to Ms. Sarah Darwin, Principal, 715.635.2774 ext 2.  Stay connected with SFdS School through our social media sites www.we3churches.org and www.facebook.com/sfdsspooner



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