The Parish Priest, Fr Hunt, bought a house is 1904, and turned it into a convent for the Sisters of Mercy. A school was added to the convent, and St Gerard’s School was opened with 49 children on 5 February, 1912.

The first teachers were Sister Bernard, Sister Columba, Sister Genevieve and Sister Claver.

The Sisters were not paid for their work as teachers. Sister Claver taught music to children after school, but this was the only money the Sisters had to live on. So they had to rely on the kindness of the local Catholic families to provide them with food and other things they needed. The community organised concerts and school fairs to raise money to keep the convent and the school going.

As the town of Alexander grew bigger, more and more children enrolled at school at St Gerard’s.

In 1945 three classrooms and a hall opened in 1945. Over the years more classrooms have been added to the school.

In the 1950s the construction of the Roxburgh dam meant a big increase in families in Roxburgh, which is a town South of Alexandra. As it was too far for children to travel to Alexandra each day to attend St Gerard’s, the Sisters caught the Dunedin bus to Roxburgh on Saturday mornings. There they taught Religious Education to large groups of children. They would then catch the bus back home late in the afternoon.

The above is an abridged version of the full text. For the full text please read:
St Gerard’s School, Alexandra – Full Text