St. Martin of Tours School Celebrates 95th Anniversary
We are the oldest Catholic school in Montgomery and have a proud, successful history of educating the future.
Please Help Continue Our Legacy
*Donate $95 in Honor of St. Martin’s 95th Anniversary (By donating you become a member of our 95th Club & your name will be listed on our website)
*Donate $25 in Honor of the Year St. Martin’s was Founded-1925
St. Martin’s School Anniversary Prayer
Dear Gracious God,
We give thanks today as we celebrate the 95th anniversary of St. Martin of Tours School and the journey that started so many years ago – and so many plans ago – and so many dreams ago. We celebrate all the joys that have been brought forth in these ninety-five years. We celebrate all the happy times, all the accomplishments, and all the triumphs. Thank You, Lord, for blessing us. We acknowledge that there have been, and will continue to be, struggles and heartaches. Yet we have travelled together under Your protection and love. We ask, Lord, that You would continue to protect us, guide us and sustain us as we go forth from this anniversary celebration. Gracious God, as we celebrate our past and rejoice in our present, we also look forward with eager eyes to the future. Make this school a blessing to those around us, and embolden us to move forward with strength toward what lies ahead.
St. Martin’s School History (an abridged version)
Not long after the founding of our parish in 1920, Fr. John Cuddy started making plans to open a Catholic school. He bought the white convent across the street, now known as Fr. Meyer House and invited the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur to come from Washington to teach the school children. The original St. Martin’s School, which faced S. Frederick Avenue, was completed in 1925 and cost $66,000. The Sisters opened the only Catholic school in Montgomery County on September 14, 1925. Eighty-three students were registered in 1926. Many took the B&O Railroad from surrounding areas in Rockville and Germantown.
By September 1947, the school enrollment reached 200. Two classrooms were added in 1948 when the School Annex was completed to hold the growing numbers of students, 269 in that year. Today the Annex houses the Food Pantry. In 1956, the first African-American students were admitted. Many St. Martin’s students arrived to school in a public school bus and were let off at Gaithersburg High School. There were times when as many as 50 students were in a classroom, with a waitlist to enroll.
In 1970, the Sister announced that the community would be leaving the school because of dwindling numbers of teaching Sisters. Eighty-seven Sisters served St. Martin’s from 1925 to 1973. To help the transition to a lay staff, the parish established a Home and School Association and a School Advisory Board. With the help of dedicated parishioners and school families, the rented PEPCO building at the end of the parish property at Fulks Corner Avenue was refurbished in order to hold the first Kindergarten class in 1983.
With a rapidly aging building and the increased demand for adequate space for education and parish functions, the decision was made to build a new school building. In 1988, a new school and parish center building was opened, through the dedication and efforts of Fr. DiNorcia and Principal Mary Alyce Sullivan. Over three hundred students moved into the new building, which included a gym, cafeteria, and library. Tuition was $350 and uniforms had just recently become a requirement. With the added space a Pre-Kindergarten and Aftercare Program were established. Since then, the school has experienced many changes, but scholarship, faith, and service have continued to be our guiding principles. St. Martin's School commemorates its 95th anniversary in 2020. Our community looks forward to many more years of educating the future, as this school community has done since 1925.
Did You Know?
The original school building was built in 1925 for a cost of $66,000
The school was originally surrounded by farm land
Kindergarten class was held on the stage of the original school building
Uniforms were not worn until just prior to moving into the new building
The nearby bridge, crossing the railroad tracks, was named after Fr. John Cuddy, our first pastor
Homeroom parents kept that responsibility for all eight years
There was no air conditioning in the original building
In a fire drill, there were so many students in the building that by the time the last student walked out, the first students were filing back in
The Sisters wore a “habit”, consisting of a long black dress and a veil which fully covered their head
The church office was the original rectory, which is home to the priests
The Food Pantry once held first and second grade classes because there was no room in the school
There was no Public Address (PA) system, so notes were carried from room to room
Many St. Martin’s students arrived to school in a public school bus. They were always seated in the back and were let off at Gaithersburg High School. Crossing guards walked them across the street
There were times when as many as 50 students were in a classroom, with a waitlist to enroll
The current building was built in 1988
In the new building, the hand cranked copy machine was replaced with an electric version
The Aftercare Program is thirty-one years old, founded in 1989
Our HSA President, Mrs. Abudayeh graduated from St. Martin’s, as did several other parents
Mrs. Garfield, a fifth grade teacher for many years and now a popular substitute, received the first “teacher of the year” award from St. Martin’s
The class of 2004 boys’ basketball team won the City Championship