History of Catholic Central School

Catholic education in Clark and Champaign County began in the mid-1800s and was staffed by the Sisters of Charity for over 100 years. St. Raphael Parish School was the first Catholic school in the region with education beginning in the church basement. The Catholic community continued to experience growth and more schools were founded including St. Mary in Urbana and St. Joseph, St. Bernard, St. Mary, and St. Teresa in Springfield.

In 1929, three parish high schools merged to form Catholic Central High School located on multiple campuses. In 1932, all high school operations were moved to the St. Raphael school building on East High Street. Due to growth in the parish schools and high school, a new building was erected at 1200 East High Street and opened as Catholic Central High School in the fall of 1958.

Financial conditions in Springfield in the 1980s resulted in the merger of St. Joseph, St. Mary, and St. Raphael parish schools and the formation of Holy Trinity in 1985 ( St. Mary site in the West side of the city). Continued financial conditions threatened the future of Catholic education, and in 2005 a complete merger of all K – 12 schools took place in order to sustain this cherished legacy. The merger resulted in the closing of Holy Trinity School in 2005 and St. Mary – Urbana in 2008. This merger formed what is now a comprehensive pre-K through grade 12 school led by a Board of Trustees.

Catholic Central is indebted to the Sisters of Charity for shaping generations of young people into successful men and women of faith who continue to be active in the Church and support the school. The success of Catholic Central today is a tribute to these selfless women, the pastors and parishes who have supported the school, the sacrifices of the faculty and staff, the annual and capital support of alumni and benefactors, and the generations of families who make Catholic Central the true community Jesus called it to be.

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