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Best of the Week 2019-2020: Holy Cross Values


Today marks the 70th anniversary of the opening of St. Edward High School. On September 6, 1949, St. Ed's first principal Br. John William Donoghue, C.S.C., along with Br. Paul Schwoyer and Br. Regis Gendron from Notre Dame, Indiana welcomed the first class of 105 freshman boys to St. Edward High School. With the permanent school building under construction, the students began classes in the old St. Theresa's Academy, approximately three blocks west of the school's current location. St. Edward High School was founded as a comprehensive Catholic boys high school serving mostly working class families in a blue-collar city whose history was dominated by the steel industry. From the very beginning, the Holy Cross tradition of educating the hearts and minds of its students pervaded the ministry. As principal, Br. John William taught Religion and Mathematics and coached football, basketball, and baseball. Br. Paul taught Latin, English, Dramatics, and Music, and Br. Regis taught General Science, French, and Religion.

"All three Brothers were Notre Dame graduates and had taught at both the college and high school levels. They were excellent teachers and willing trailblazers," says President Jim Kubacki. "They saw the big picture. They were ahead of their time. The Brothers started St. Ed's at the midpoint of the century, having survived two devastating world wars and the uncertainty of how to harness the power of the atomic age. As Br. Dennis Bednarz, C.S.C. has said, 'We Brothers go where we're needed.' It is that selflessness that first struck me. Next was their willingness to pitch in and have the flexibility to do whatever was needed, from moving desks to teaching multiple subjects. Third, as Brothers of Holy Cross, they modeled the Holy Cross charism for their young students just as Blessed Father Basil Moreau modeled Holy Cross for his students over 100 years earlier. We are a central part of an unbroken chain of Holy Cross values, excellence and humility."

As the school continued to grow in its temporary location, St. Ed's moved to its permanent location on Detroit Avenue in 1951 with more than 750 students and 22 faculty members. In the early 1990s, St. Ed's began the process of transitioning from a comprehensive school to a college preparatory school, focused on preparing students for success at the university level. St. Ed's has expanded its campus significantly in order to meet curriculum needs and to fulfill the Holy Cross Mission. Since 2000, new campus additions have included the Student Activity Center, an all-weather athletic field and outdoor track, the Kahl Student Life & Leadership Center, the Holy Family Chapel, and the Joseph & Helen Lowe Institute for Innovation with the Marilyn and David Palisin '64 Commons coming in the fall of 2020.

St. Edward High School continues to offer a well-rounded, innovative education to develop the hearts and minds of a diverse group of young men to have the competence to see and the courage to act as men of hope for the transformation of the world. "Clearly the Brothers gave us our values and they have not changed in nearly 200 years of Holy Cross education. For 70 years, they showed us how to develop Men with Hope to Bring. They gave us an educational model that continues to evolve but looked at the whole child and the bigger picture, including college prep skills and practical life skills. It's a wonderful legacy," says President Kubacki. "Our faith and Holy Cross values must always be our foundation. Our commitment to a college preparatory skill set and knowledge base remains strong with our focus on IB pedagogy. It is our responsibility to peek over the horizon and predict the future that awaits our students. We must focus on how best to evolve so that we prepare students from a curricular and pedagogical standpoint to lead us into an ever-changing, always challenging future."

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