Sister Carolyn Zahringer

Zahringer_Carolyn_Sister_100pxFollowing in Father Daems' footsteps

I grew up in the shadows of the Fox Valley in the small town of Stockbridge, two miles east of the shores of Lake Winnebago. Our family shopped in the Kaukauna/Appleton area, and we received our hospital care at St. Elizabeth's in Appleton.

In the spring of 1985, I was invited to look at a first grade teaching position being added at St. John School in Little Chute for the fall. I interviewed and was offered a contract. I moved to Wilson Street in Little Chute in July of 1985, along with two other Sisters. I moved away at the close of the 2001-01 school year. I invested 16 years in the "Heart of the Valley" as a teacher at St. John's. I taught first grade for 10 years. During 1994-95, I researched and designed the kindergarten program that would be added to the St. John's offering in the fall of 1995. I taught for five years in the half-day kindergarten program and one year in the full-day kindergarten program.

During my life in Little Chute, I lived with many of our Sisters as we moved four times in 16 years. Every house became a home and brought many interesting opportunities for personal growth and ministry beyond the classroom.

St. John's Parish became like my "home" parish. It was my longest ministry site. The people of St. John's and the Village of Little Chute became like an extension of my own family.

When our community's founder, Father Daems, came to the U.S. in 1851, he went to Little Chute first then moved to Bay Settlement. I went to Little Chute then came to Bay Settlement also. I am presently teaching second grade at Holy Cross School in Bay Settlement, which happens to be the school that our religious community was birthed to staff back in 1868.

Holy Cross School was among three schools recommended to be closed several years ago in a study group recommendation to then-Bishop David Zubik. Holy Cross School today is very much alive with enrollment increases and is seen as a leader in educational initiatives in the Diocese.

As of July 1, 2011, Holy Cross School became one of the 10 area schools to form GRACE (Green Bay Area Catholic Educational) System.