Learning Center History
The Learning Center began on Good Counsel Hill, Mankato, Minnesota, in 1967 in response to the call of the United States Commission on Education to establish reading programs across the nation. Sister Mary Donald Miller requested the use of an empty building to establish a center to meet the needs of students with declining reading scores. "I know the problems children have reading and I can give them the help that they need," said Sr. Mary Donald Miller.
Fifty-seven children and six adults were enrolled in the Reading Center the first year. Individualized programs with certified reading teachers were made available for any student in the Mankato area for a nominal fee. A need for instruction in additional subjects was realized in 1977 and the name was changed to Learning Center. Today qualified teachers continue to serve children K through grade 12. With the increase in the refugee population in recent years, the Center has served a greater number of adult English Language Learners. These students want to learn to communicate in English, to read, write, and learn math needed to become successful in school, get jobs, and strive for General Educational Development (GED). The diploma is key to job potential and employment opportunities, career advancement, post-secondary education and financial rewards.
In over fifty years of operation, the Center has had ten SSND directors and many experienced teachers, Sisters and members of the community. More than 3,000 students have been tutored, either during the school year or through the Learning Center's summer program.
Mother Theresa Gerhardinger, foundress of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, would give thanks to God knowing that her Sisters are still teaching, serving the poor, and having an impact on society today, because "Love gives everything, gladly!"