Central Catholic High School (Pittsburgh)

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Central Catholic High School
School seal.jpg
Pro Deo et Patria
For God and Country
4720 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, (Allegheny County), 15213
United States
Coordinates 40°26′48″N 79°56′44″W / 40.44667°N 79.94556°W / 40.44667; -79.94556Coordinates: 40°26′48″N 79°56′44″W / 40.44667°N 79.94556°W / 40.44667; -79.94556
Type Private
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic,
Patron saint(s) St. John Baptist de la Salle
Established 1927
Founder Bishop Hugh Charles Boyle
Status Operating
School district Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh
Principal Bro. Robert Schaefer
Asst. Principal Vincent Ciaramella (Academic Affairs)
Chaplain Father Robert George
Teaching staff Laity, Christian Brothers, Deacons
Grades 9-12
Gender Male
Enrollment 885[1] (2014)
Average class size 21 [1]
Campus Oakland
Campus type Urban
Color(s) Blue and gold         
Slogan Faith. Scholarship. Service.
Fight song On to Victory
Athletics Quad A
Athletics conference WPIAL
Mascot Viking
Team name Vikings
Accreditation Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools[2]
Average SAT scores Reading: 552, Math: 572, Writing: 544 (2014)
Publication Harlequin
Newspaper 'The Viking'
Yearbook 'Towers'
Endowment $9 million (2014)[3]
Tuition $10,400 (2014)
Dean of Students Richard Capretta
Admissions Director Brian Miller
Athletic Director Charles Crummie
View from Fifth Ave

Central Catholic High School is a Roman Catholic college preparatory school for males in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. It is a part of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and is administered and partially staffed by the Brothers of the Christian Schools.


Bishop Boyle

In the 1920s, Bishop Hugh Charles Boyle of the Diocese of Pittsburgh embarked on a program to expand diocesan involvement in education beyond the historic parish schools founded by the predominantly Catholic immigrant population of the city. To fulfill his goal of creating an environment which would foster "faith, service, and scholarship", Boyle invited the Brothers of the Christian Schools (more commonly known as the Christian Brothers) to found an all-male secondary school in Oakland, the academic heart of Pittsburgh. The first freshman class entered in 1927, and Central Catholic's success allowed Boyle to expand on the diocesan network of male schools with North Catholic, Serra Catholic, and South Hills Catholic High School.

Although the school originally served only the central neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, the decline of regional equivalents such as North Catholic and South Catholic (evidenced by both schools' gradual switch to coeducation) eventually attracted students from a wider geographic and socioeconomic spectrum. Today's Central Catholic student body is diverse for a Pittsburgh high school, with neighborhoods represented ranging from the traditional Catholic strongholds of Bloomfield and Squirrel Hill to suburban communities such as Cranberry, Jefferson Hills, and Fox Chapel. The Central Catholic staff boasts "The student body reflects the rich ethnic, cultural, and racial diversity of the Pittsburgh area." The diocese also opened a sister school, Oakland Catholic, also in the Oakland area.


Central Catholic's academic courses are divided into five levels of rigor:

  • Learning lab (Level 1),
  • Intermediate (Level 2),
  • Mainstream (Level 3),
  • Honors (Level 4),
  • Advanced Placement (Level 5).
Fatih, Scholarship, Service

Class rank is based upon GPA weighted for level. Because the different academic levels are weighted differently, the QPA is based upon a 5.0 rather than 4.0 scale.[citation needed][clarification needed] Freshmen are placed into levels within the six departments of (English, mathematics, social studies, science, foreign language, catechetics) based on elementary school grades and a standardized test given by the school itself. The languages offered by Central Catholic are French, German, Italian, Latin and Spanish. Freshman may opt to take an additional music or visual arts course, or gym.

Upperclassmen enjoy more freedom in terms of course and department selection. Central Catholic offers more than 15 AP courses and more than 30 honors courses. The school is noted for the strength of the English and mathematics departments as indicated by students' achievement on the SAT, and by the number of students who are recognized in academic competitions (essay contests, quiz bowls, etc.) throughout the city and surrounding counties.

The Baginski Scholars Program enables students at Central Catholic who excel academically to participate in activities and discussion meant to foster their knowledge in social sciences, humanities, and the sciences. The goal of the program is "to facilitate understanding of the interdisciplinary and integrated aspects of learning, bringing an ethical and progressive perspective to bear on customary academic disciplines." [4]

Central Catholic is placing more emphasis on the STEM subjects. In the 2013-2014 school year, two pilot engineering classes were introduced. This emphasis is also embodied in Central Catholic's decision to construct a dedicated STEM building.

Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, an iPad one to one computing program was initiated at the high school. Apple iPads were deployed to all freshman and sophomores. The stated purpose of the iPad program is to "provide tools and resources to the 21st Century Learner."[5]

Student life[edit]

The school has an athletic history that includes championships for track and field, soccer, swimming, rowing, and football. Other varsity sports offered are basketball, baseball, tennis, lacrosse, bowling, ice hockey, in-line hockey, golf, cross country and volleyball. Fencing, table tennis, Ultimate frisbee, and disc golf are offered as club sports.

Central Catholic is also known for its forensics team, musical theater productions (as demonstrated by seven Gene Kelly Awards in the last four years alone), PJAS participation, student publications, chess team, and robotics team.

The school's mascot is the Viking. It had a long-standing rivalry with North Catholic High School until enrollment greatly declined at North Catholic and competition grew increasingly one-sided in favor of Central Catholic. North Allegheny and Woodland Hills have come to replace North Catholic as Central's major rivals in sports, and Shady Side Academy in academics.

Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood


Built in the 1920s in the National Romantic style, the school building is a designated historic landmark. The building has undergone extensive renovations in order to improve the condition of classrooms, the dining hall, the library, the theater, the writing center, as well as other areas. Renovation of the classrooms included adding flat-screen televisions, SMART boards, and other technological devices meant to fuse learning with technology.

On the same campus as the main building, there is a dedicated gymnasium building, an athletic field, and a weight room. Next to the main building, on the Neville Street side, is located the Brothers' House, in which the Brothers of the Christian Schools who work at Central Catholic live.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on December 3, 2014 to formally begin construction of a new building which will be dedicated to STEM subjects. Construction of this building accounts for $12 million out of a $27 million capital campaign that Central Catholic launched on the same day as the groundbreaking ceremony. The school plans on having construction of the new facility completed by the 2016-2017 school year.[6]

The campus is located in Oakland, a few minutes' walk away from both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. The main branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is also within walking distance of the school.

Notable alumni[edit]

Many notable public figures have passed through the doors of Central Catholic since its founding in 1927.








  1. ^ a b "2014-20015 Parent/Student Handbook". Retrieved 2014-11-20. 
  2. ^ MSA-CSS. "MSA-Commission on Secondary Schools". Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  3. ^ http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2014/12/03/Central-High-School-launches-major-capital-campaign/stories/201412030031
  4. ^ "Baginski Scholars". centralcatholichs.com. 
  5. ^ http://centralcatholichs.com/ipad_program.aspx
  6. ^ http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2014/12/03/Central-High-School-launches-major-capital-campaign/stories/201412030031
  7. ^ "Marc Bulger #10". St. Louis Rams Official Website. Archived from the original on 2006-11-12. Retrieved 2006-12-21. 
  8. ^ White, Mike (2005-08-26). "Tradition of Western Pennsylvania quarterbacks continues". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PG Publishing Co.). Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  9. ^ "Manziel joins list of QBs drafted by MLB teams". ESPN.com. Associated Press. June 8, 2014. Retrieved June 8, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c "Alumni Hall of Fame". Central Catholic High School Web Site. Retrieved 2006-12-21. 
  11. ^ "Alumni Hall of Fame". Designing Home Lifestyles. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  12. ^ Vassilaros, Dimitri (2003-10-04). "Creepshow mastermind delivers scares nationwide". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2006-12-21. 
  13. ^ Rawson, Christopher (2005-10-03). "Obituary: August Wilson, Pittsburgh playwright who chronicled black experience". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2006-12-21. 
  14. ^ "Channel 4 Action News Team: Bill Hillgrove". WTAE-TV Channel 4 Web Site. Retrieved 2006-12-21. 
  15. ^ Sostek, Anya (September 14, 2012). "Pittsburgh native Joseph Bathanti named poet laureate of North Carolina". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 5, 2012. 

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