Guardian Angel – St. Boniface School today is a parochial school system which offers educationally sound curricula in elementary grades Kindergarten through 8 to families of Uniontown, Colton, and surrounding areas. Fully approved and accredited by the Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the school is currently staffed by a well-qualified lay faculty. The student-teacher ratio at the school is approximately 5 students per teacher, facilitating individualized attention to particular learning capacities and levels, as well as providing multiple learning experiences for students enrolled.
1927 Graduating Class
The parochial schools have been a part of the communities of Uniontown and Colton since their founding. In the 1800’s some of the first German immigrants to settle in this area brought with them a conviction that children should be educated in schools where religion was the soul of the curriculum. They wanted their children prepared to take their place in the Christian world as well as in the socio-economic-political world. Uniontown and Colton were small, quiet towns in 1881. They were surrounded by fertile farmland, and consisted of scarcely more than a few scattered farm homes of hard-working peaceable, rural German families. They believed so strongly in the Catholic school alternative in education that the goal of establishing a Catholic school in the area came second only to building a church.
By 1886 the families of Uniontown realized their goal and welcomed the Benedictine Sisters, who came from Switzerland, to staff the first St. Boniface School.
During the first two years, only boarding students attended the Catholic school while the Catholic children of Uniontown attended the local public school taught by Sister Rosalie until 1888. When the new pastor arrived, he opposed the idea of a nun teaching in a public school and thereby commanded Catholic parents to enroll their children in the convent school. As the convent school grew, an addition was constructed in 1892. Suddenly, in 1894, the convent school closed when the Benedictine Sisters moved to Colton. However, Fr. Faust, the parish priest in Uniontown, invited Sisters of the Divine Savior to continue staffing the Uniontown parish school. Later, in 1911, Fr. Metz, the parish priest, welcomed the Sisters of St. Frances to the school were registration of 80 pupils was recorded the first week. By 1928, the Uniontown parish conducted both a grade school and high school with an enrollment of 130 students. In 1932, the Sister of the Holy Names arrived in Uniontown to replace the Sister of St. Francis. They continued to educate the children of Uniontown and constructed a new building in 1959.
In 1894, the forerunner of Guardian Angel School began at Colton, just 3 miles away, in a one-room brick building. Both schools were highly appreciated by the local pioneers, and attendance grew rapidly. Mr. Michael Schultheis, one of Colton’s first settlers, was perhaps one of the most influential in encouraging others to come to the area. Aside from the farming opportunities of the location, the persuasive force for many was the Catholic school education which the area could offer families who were searching for place to put down their roots. A large three story building was completed in 1894 on land donated by Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Becker, Sr., and his brother John K. Becker in Colton. The new building provided a convent for the Sisters, a chapel, dormitory space for the girls, and several classrooms. Also constructed was a two story building below the convent. This building became Fr. James Frei’s residence with dormitory space for boys and additional classrooms. In 1902 a few high school courses were added, and in 1912, a comprehensive four year high school was started.
The last class graduated in 1931. At this time, the Benedictine Sisters were called back to the mother house in Cottonwood, Idaho. Some of the Sisters continued to teach at the parish parochial school until 1937 when the School Sisters of Notre Dame purchased the school. In 1948 the Notre Dame Sisters opened Notre Dame Academy for high school girls. In 1960, due to fire safety regulations and the prohibitive cost of renovation, the Academy was closed, never to reopen.
In 1917, a new two story Guardian Angel School was built. The old church building then served as a gymnasium until 1930’s. The present school and gymnasium was built in 1960 and the new convent in 1961 when the two story building was demolished.
The School Sisters of Notre Dame taught in Colton until 1994. Due to the absence of teaching sisters, the school is currently staffed by lay faculty.
Because of rising costs of quality education and to more efficiently utilize the resources available, Guardian Angel School in Colton and St. Boniface School in Uniontown consolidated into a one school system in 1968. Grades 1 through 4 attended St. Boniface in Uniontown, with grades 5 through 8 at Guardian Angel in Colton. In the fall of 1982, the two schools were further consolidated into one building when grades 1 through 8 attended Guardian Angel – St. Boniface School in Colton.
Currently, a share time arrangement with Colton Public School exists with programs in band (grades 5-8), physical education, science & agriculture (grades 7-8) are available. After school sports programs include students from both schools (all grades).
Over 119 years of Catholic School tradition is revived each morning when the school bell rings, and Guardian Angel – St. Boniface students begin their day with opening prayer. Though “youthfully” unaware of the precious heritage they share, the majority of pupils who are currently enrolled represent third, fourth, and even fifth generation families to attend the school. The school’s philosophy goes a step beyond basic educational objective. It is dedicated to providing a Christian atmosphere in which students may learn to develop a realistic appreciation of their own worth and respect the dignity of others.