I have only attended two schools in my life. Henessey Catholic School for Kindergarten through fourth grade and Western Dubuque Community School District from fifth grade until my senior year of highschool.
Archbishop Hennessy Catholic School was founded in the fall of 1987 as the result of a consolidation between St. Boniface School in New Vienna and SS. Peter and Paul School in Petersburg. At the time of consolidation, Father Wilfred Johannes was the pastor of St. Boniface parish and Father Albert Manternach was pastor at SS. Peter and Paul. In 1986-87, the pastors, in conjunction with Principals Sister Ruth Schock and Dave Gross, and both parish school boards of were instrumental in the smooth transition from two separate schools to one consolidated school. Following consolidation, Dave Gross became the new principal. At this time, the principal is Vicki Palmer.
Hennessy, at its beginning, educated students from first to sixth grade. In 1991-1992 a kindergarten was started at the New Vienna center and in 1998-1999 a preschool was established at the Petersburg center. There are currently 15 staff members at Hennessy, both full time and part time, with an enrollment of 84 students preschool through sixth grade.
In both of the communities, schools and education have always been an important consideration. When the churches were established, so were the schools. In 1847, St. Boniface School education was held in the homes before being taught in a boarded-off section of the first log church. The laymen taught all classes from 1847 to 1872. In 1870, a frame building was erected which became the school, convent and a boarding place for children. Two years later, when the enrollment reached one hundred, the Franciscan Sisters from Lacrosse took over the teaching. In 1922, the old stone church was remodeled and became the school until the present building was completed in 1924. The Sisters of St. Francis from Lacrosse continued to teach in the school until 1965. At this time, the Franciscan Sisters from Dubuque took over the teaching duties. At present, Sister Janet Bohr, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque, serves on the Hennessy faculty.
In 1925, St. Boniface High School was opened to twenty freshmen. Other high school grades were added and on May 27, 1929, accreditation was given from the State of Iowa. The neighboring parishes from, SS. Peter and Paul, Petersburg, St. Patrick's, Colesburg, and Holy Trinity, Luxemburg were part of the enrollment of St. Boniface High School. The school continued to operate until the consolidation of students into Beckman High School at Dyersville in 1966.
SS. Peter & Paul School was established in 1875. A one-room school building was built and four laymen taught the students from in and around Petersburg until 1890, when three Franciscan Sisters came from Dubuque. The same year, a three-story frame combination school and convent was constructed and the three teachers had an enrollment of 130 students. By 1938, the staff increased to six sisters. In 1949-1952, the school expanded to include the ninth grade.
The three story school served SS. Peter and Paul from 1890-1953. At that time, Father Charles Steinlage planned and helped erect a new grade school. Dedication was on October 29, 1953. The students who attended SS. Peter and Paul, upon completion of eighth grade, attended either Xavier High School in Dyersville or St. Boniface in New Vienna. With the opening of Beckman in 1966, SS. Peter and Paul became part of the five-parish interparochial community.
Following the opening of Beckman High School, students from St. Boniface and SS. Peter and Paul upon completion of sixth grade, had the opportunity of attending seventh and eighth grades at Beckman, allowing a smooth transition into high school.