The tradition of Saints Peter Paul School began humbly in the early 1860’s when a small wood-frame schoolhouse at 83 East Main Street in the village of Hamburg was opened. Mr. Pius Schwert of East Eden was the first teacher. As enrollment grew, a larger brick schoolhouse was built at the corner of East Main and Pine Streets. Father Vincenz Scheffels dedicated the new school on August 27, 1874 under the motto: “Give me the youth and I will give you the future.” At the same time, Sister M. Juliana and Sister M. Robertina of the Third Order of Saint Francis took charge of the school ushering in a tradition of Franciscan sisters teaching at Saints Peter and Paul that would last for more than 100 years.
20th Century Growth
In June 1921 under the leadership of the Rev. Anthony Veit, plans were made to build a new school at the current 68 East Main Street site. The cornerstone was laid on November 13, 1921 by Rt. Rev. Msgr. Nelson Baker then vicar general of the Diocese of Buffalo. The new school building began operations on September 22, 1922. It also for the first time included a high school. The first graduating class for the high school was in 1926. By 1933, with continued enrollment growth in the elementary school and new options for Catholic high schools in the south towns (Saint Francis High School and Immaculata Academy), Saints Peter and Paul discontinued the high school. It’s last graduating class was in June 1933. In 1953 as enrollment continued growing, plans were made for an expansion of the school. In September 1954 classes began in the newly enlarged building. By September 1956, school enrollment exceeded 1000 students!
In 1981 a lay principal took over administration of the school and in 1989 with their congregation diminishing in number, the last Franciscan sister teacher left the school completing a more than 100 year legacy of service by the Franciscan sisters at Saints Peter and Paul School.
Looking toward the future
In the spring of 2001, with an eye toward the future, planning began for a parish center and school renovation that would include a new, ‘high school size’ gymnasium, new stage, computer lab, library and reading resource lab. The new parish center and school renovation were dedicated on October 8, 2006 by bishop Edward U. Kmiec. The science lab was upgraded in 2013 followed by an upgrade of the cafeteria in 2015.
In the fall of 2014, a consolidation of elementary schools took place in the Diocese of Buffalo resulting in the creation of Saints Peter and Paul, a Catholic Community School serving the south town’s communities of Hamburg, Boston, Orchard Park, Eden, North Collins, and surrounding areas. Today under the leadership of principal Sister Marilyn Ann Dudek CSSF and the pastor Rev. Arthur Mattulke, a dedicated group of lay teachers and staff continue the work of providing an academically rigorous, well rounded, Catholic education at Saints Peter and Paul, a Catholic Community School.