In 1894, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart established a school in Baton Rouge under the name St. Vincent’s Academy, which has become known as Catholic High School.
St. Vincent’s Academy
In 1894, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart established St. Vincent’s Academy. From a humble beginning with 106 students, the school continued to grow so that by the late 1920s the old frame building that housed St. Vincent’s no longer could contain its student body of nearly 300 boys. As a result, a new school building, gym and brothers’ residence were begun in 1928 and completed in January 1929 on North Street at Fourth Street. At that time, the school became known as Catholic High School.
Catholic High School
Even though the Depression years were very difficult, enrollment at the school continued to increase. By the early 1940s, the lack of school room space made it necessary to begin turning away applicants. Therefore, the brothers started looking for a piece of property on which to build a school to accommodate a larger student body. On June 5, 1946, 36 acres of land were purchased, but lack of building funds delayed construction of the school for nearly 10 years.
Through the generosity of many friends in Baton Rouge, in 1956 the Brothers of the Sacred Heart were able to begin construction of their long-hoped-for new school. In September 1957, the faculty, along with 450 students moved from the original property near the state capitol to the new campus, which is the present location on Hearthstone Drive.
Today’s Catholic High School plant consists of well-equipped classrooms, laboratories, administrative offices and athletic facilities.
- The school gymnasium was constructed in 1963.
- In 1971, the Roe F. Cangelosi Mall was built for student use.
- In 1972, a wing containing classrooms, a library and a student union was added.
- An all-weather track, a new baseball field and expanded parking facilities were added in the early 1980s.
- In 1982, 1992 and 1997, Catholic High School bought the residences at 720, 808 and 840 Hearthstone Drive for use as offices.
- The Fine Arts/Computer Center opened in 1985 as a major addition to the school plant. The 18,000-square-foot facility consists of a computer classroom and lab, chorus and band rooms, ensemble rooms, art room, drafting room and five additional classrooms.
- In 1990, a new Maintenance Workshop became the center of all campus maintenance activity.
- In 1991, anticipating the school’s 100th anniversary, a host of benefactors provided the Centennial Courtyard for the Catholic High campus. It was dedicated in 1994.
- In the fall of 2002, Catholic High School dedicated a 23,000-square-foot Health & Physical Education Center that includes additional classroom space, multiple locker-room areas for the school’s athletic teams and physical education classes, a wrestling practice room and a fully equipped weight-training room. Following a generous sponsorship of the Catholic High School mission, this facility was rededicated in May 2014, and named the Ryan D. “Jume” Jumonville, ’91 Health and Athletic Performance Center.
- In September 2005 Catholic High School dedicated the new Science Center. Named for a legendary Brother of the Sacred Heart, Brother Gordian Udinsky, the center is a 10-classroom structure that provides state-of-the-art facilities and equipment for use in instruction of physics, chemistry, biology, environmental science and computer science.
- Catholic High School opened the Brother Donnan Berry, S.C. Student Center in October of 2020. This 32,000-square-foot facility created a dynamic learning environment where students dine, socialize, and interact with faculty.
- In Spring of 2021, Catholic High School opened the doors to its new Grizzly Greats Strength and Conditioning Center.
Above all, the school’s greatest assets are its graduates and their outstanding achievements. Many prominent leaders in the Baton Rouge area, as well as around the country, were among students nurtured through their crucial adolescent years by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart and dedicated lay faculty and staff members at Catholic High.