History

“Education is not the piling on of learning, information, data, facts, skills, or abilities – that’s training or instruction – but is rather making visible what is hidden as a seed” St. Thomas More

First photo of Church For over 60 years, St. Thomas More School has provided education focusing on Gospel values and academic excellence to children from Decatur, Georgia and surrounding communities. Our enrollment has grown, but we’ve been blessed to sustain our tight-knit neighborhood character.

In 1948, the Diocese of Savannah-Atlanta purchased land for the eight-year-old parish on West Ponce de Leon Avenue in Decatur. A convent, school, church, and rectory were constructed. St. Thomas More School opened on September 1, 1950, with approximately 140 children in grades 1-5. The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur staffed the school. Grades 6, 7, and 8 were added in successive years.

In 1955, the lower school building was constructed. This facility relieved some overcrowding and provided space for a kindergarten. Even so, classes averaged 50-60 children until the opening of two additional Catholic schools in the 1960’s and 1970’s reduced enrollment. By the end of the 1980’s the number of students again created a need for expanded facilities. Mulhern Hall provided space for a faculty room, music room, a stage and a cafeteria auditorium. The former stage/cafeteria area was remodeled into four large classrooms and one smaller room. In addition, administrative and clerical offices were added. In the summer of 1994, two rooms were built in the convent basement to house the kindergarten.

Nun with students from 2000
Photo by Michael Alexander

The year 2000 brought some bittersweet changes to St. Thomas More School, as the last of our teaching Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur retired. However, the sisters returned in the fall of 2000 as our special guests to help St. Thomas More Catholic School celebrate its 50th Anniversary. Students, their families, parishioners, alumni and special friends joined together to celebrate this wonderful occasion. The school presented a musical and also hosted an open house for friends and alumni.

The climax of the celebration was a special Mass, officiated by Archbishop Donoghue. Most of St. Thomas More’s teachers, past and present, processed into the church holding candles to symbolize their mission of bringing the light of Christ to STM students. A reception on the plaza completed this wonderful celebration!

2002 brought an exciting development to our school community: the Notre Dame de Namur Center, our multipurpose building which houses a full sized gymnasium, stage, and music and band rooms. This building was officially dedicated on October 26, 2002. Our administration offices have also been enlarged and remodeled and the front of the church underwent a face lift that included the narthex, portico and the Chapel of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration.