River Town Family Dentistry donates to St. Mary School

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Alicia Walke, DDS, River Town Family Dentistry, has donated $2,500 which will be used toward St. Mary's tuition, and $500 for home furnishings for a family in need. From left are Alicia Walke and St. Mary's administrative secretary Erin Schmelzer. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

Alicia Walke, DDS, River Town Family Dentistry, recently donated $2,500 dollars to St. Mary Immaculate Conception School (SMIC) in Guttenberg. She was inspired to give back to the community that has graciously welcomed her. 

"It has always been a dream of mine since I was in middle school to own my own dental practice," Walke shared. "When John Barron chose me to be his successor, it was both exciting but also intimidating to take over his successful long-standing practice in a small town where all of his patients loved him. I had big shoes to fill. Guttenberg and the surrounding area have been very welcoming and supportive of the transition in the last year, and for that I am so thankful to the community.  I wanted to pay it forward and to show my support for those in our community most in need." 

Walke chose SMIC because she is a member of the faith community. "My family and I are members of the St. Mary Catholic Church and we truly believe in the power of faith and the desire of the church to support its community," she noted. "There is a need for St. Mary's mission in the community for education. We knew that these funds would be used to directly influence the lives of those needing a little extra assistance, especially the futures of young people." 

Walke encourages others who are able to embrace giving opportunities. She listed, "First, donating time, treasure, or talent to those in need has long been instilled by my family and faith growing up. Now that I have a better opportunity to do that, I see this to be a natural deed. Secondly, by donating publicly River Town Family Dentistry hopes to create more awareness about needs in our community. St. Mary School is a perfect example of a wonderful altruistic organization that has the ability to get our community's young members off to a great start in their education and faith. Our hope is that through our donation we will inspire others to donate what they can to a cause of their choosing." 

St. Mary School history

St. Mary Church was established in 1851 with the school opening in 1853. Laity staffed the school in the early years. In 1870, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA) from LaCrosse, Wis., arrived and began what would be 98 years of FSPA teaching ministry. 

The most significant pastor, in relation to St. Mary School, was Rev. J. H. Brinkmann who built the current Junior High structure in 1894, and the former High School addition in 1921. The High School would close after the Archdiocesan reorganization of schools in 1968. 

Currently St. Mary School offers classes in Pre-K through 8th grade. The Catholic identity is foremost in the school's environment. The curriculum is strong in basics and enrichment activities, and meets or exceeds state standards. The fine arts program is built on the rich tradition of the past. Technology opportunities enhance all programs, and students continue to succeed beyond the school's campus. 

St. Mary Alumni

An alumni development office has been established to connect with sources of support, and invite alumni to return treasure, time and talent for the firm educational foundation received – offering the next generation an opportunity for a Catholic school education.

Erin Schmelzer, St. Mary's administrative secretary, accepted Walke's donation. "In general, Catholic Schools do not receive any money directly from the government/taxpayer dollars," noted Schmelzer. "Instead, we rely on donations like this, student tuition, and support from our three linked parishes. Catholic school is more than an academic institution. We believe all children deserve a safe, healthy learning environment – to educate the whole child, academically, spiritually, morally, socially and physically. When children go to a Catholic school, they develop a strong bond with other students, their school, their church, and their home to create a strong sense of community. With a good moral base, students can grow up to be productive community members who are committed to the greater good. We hope Dr. Walke's generosity will encourage others to make a difference and donate within their communities."

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