William Cardinal O’Connell founded Cathedral High School 1926. He was able to do this with the help of funds donated by the estate of Mary C. Keith. Cathedral first opened its doors on September 14, 1927 to 44 students with a mission “to develop students spiritually, intellectually and socially, and to train Catholic leaders.” While the wording of the mission may have changed over the years, the mission continues to reflect the vision at the time of the school’s founding. The school was originally opened in Boston’s South End primarily to educate the sons and daughters of the new immigrant community. Although the ethnic and racial profiles of Cathedral’s students have become more diverse, the school continues to serve this community.
Cardinal O’Connell called on the Sisters of Saint Joseph to take responsibility for the education of Cathedral’s young men and women. Today, Cathedral High School is staffed primarily by dedicated lay men and women; however, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston continue to maintain a presence at CHS with five members of their community. The staff is also comprised of a Brother of the Sacred Heart, a Franciscan Sister and a School Sister of Notre Dame.
Over the years, Cathedral’s student population grew from the initial class of 44 students to over 800 students in the 1960’s. In order to accommodate the expanding enrollment, an addition to building was completed in the early 1950’s. Currently, Cathedral serves a student population of 300 students in grades 7 through 12. The Junior High Division was added in 2010.
There are a number of factors that have contributed to the evolution of Cathedral High School as it exists today. One such factor was Cathedral’s status as a parish high school changing to that of an Archdiocesan high school in the 1950’s when Archdiocesan Central High Schools, Incorporated, was formed, or ACHS, Inc. The Archdiocese had decided to centralize certain high schools for administrative purposes, each of which was serving a community much larger than their individual parishes. This central organization remained in place until 2004. At that time, Cathedral became a private, independent high school, separately incorporated and governed by a newly formed Board of Trustees.
In more recent years, Cathedral has undertaken the task of adding to and renovating its facility. Such enhancements include a state of the art gymnasium, brand new science classrooms and laboratories, brand new bathrooms throughout the building, a new roof, completely renovated cafeteria, new student and teacher desks in every classroom and the installment of interactive “Smart Boards” in each of the classrooms.
Cathedral High School is poised to continue its mission for years to come! We remain unwavering in our commitment to academic, spiritual and athletic excellence as an urban, co-educational, multi-cultural, private Catholic, college preparatory learning community.