Cathedral High School (Springfield, Massachusetts)

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Cathedral High School
321 Main Street


Coordinates42°6′2″N 72°32′25″W / 42.10056°N 72.54028°W / 42.10056; -72.54028Coordinates: 42°6′2″N 72°32′25″W / 42.10056°N 72.54028°W / 42.10056; -72.54028
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Established1883 (1883)
Closed2016 (2016)
OversightRoman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts
Faculty44 and 69
Enrollment166 (2015/16)
Color(s)Purple and White         
Athletics conferencePioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference (PVIAC)
MascotPurple panthers
Team namePanthers
AccreditationNew England Association of Schools and Colleges[1]
PublicationCathedral Literary Magazine
NewspaperCathedral Chronicle

Cathedral High School was a Catholic co-educational college-preparatory high school in Springfield, Massachusetts. Opened in 1883 by the Sisters of Saint Joseph at the diocese's Saint Michael's Cathedral, its last facility had been at 321 Main Street in Wilbraham, Massachusetts due to the June 1, 2011, tornado.

In 2015, it was announced that Cathedral High School would merge with Holyoke Catholic High School to form a new regional Catholic school that was completed in 2016 as Pope Francis High School.[2][3]


In 1883, the diocese's Bishop Patrick Thomas O'Reilly sought a teaching staff for a high school in response to the growing number of Catholic immigrants in the area. Responding to the call, two members of the Sisters of St. Joseph from Flushing, New York came to Springfield to start up the school. In the years that followed Cathedral High School flourished in facilities on Elliot Street in downtown Springfield. By the 1940s the school had grown to nearly 1600 students. The school had outgrown its facilities, so the Diocese purchased a 30-acre (121,000 m²) farm on Surrey and Wendover Roads in Springfield and built a new school. It opened on September 9, 1959. In the first decade at Surrey Road student enrollment grew to more than 2600 students.

Cathedral maintained a strong reputation in the Greater Springfield area for academic excellence and success in extracurricular and athletic activities.

In 2002 the school was re-accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

In an effort to consolidate the Diocese's educational resources in the wake of increasing financial difficulties, Cathedral High School was selected to host the newly established St. Michael's Academy, which hosted students from Grades 6 to 8. From 2008 to 2009, Cathedral was extensively remodeled to accommodate the new facility, which occupied a full wing of the main school facility.

On June 1, 2011, Cathedral High School was severely damaged in the tornado that struck Springfield, Massachusetts. The building was declared a total loss. The students had finished the remainder of the 2010-2011 school year at Elms College, located in Chicopee, Massachusetts. The school had been based out of Memorial Elementary School in neighboring Wilbraham, Massachusetts since the 2011-2012 year. Demolition of the original Cathedral High School building was completed in 2015, with plans for a new facility under the name of Pope Francis High School having been approved for construction on the site at Surrey Road.


The school's Surrey Road campus was in Springfield's East Forest Park Neighborhood on a green and hilly plot of land. The school was divided into four main sections. Most of the classrooms were in a building that, from the air, was shaped like a boxy eight with two courtyards in the open spaces formed by the eight. A small chapel took up part of the first floor in one of the courtyards. The school offices were near the main entrance, and the cafeteria extended towards the few athletic fields.

Extending north from the main building was the science wing. Because of the hills the school was built in, the science wing's first and second floors were just above the main building's second and third floors. The auditorium abutted the main building and was the largest high school auditorium in the area. On a lower grade than the rest of the school, were the gymnasium, a parking lot, and playing fields which included a full size football field that doubled as a soccer and lacrosse field.

Students and faculty[edit]

Throughout its history, Cathedral High School had predominantly served the students of the City of Springfield. However, many of its students had come from the suburbs of the city and some as far away as Sunderland, Palmer, and Connecticut. Being a Catholic school, a majority of its student had been Catholic. However, that had never been a requirement for admission. Before merging, the school has approximately 250 students. 70% of the students are from Springfield itself.

The school had 45 faculty members and administrators. Most of the faculty had a master's degree. Many had taught at the school for 20+ years. For many years the faculty consisted of Sisters of St. Joseph and a small number of lay men and women. Today members of religious communities remain a vital part of the school community, but in significantly smaller numbers. Nearly all the teachers are full-time.

Cathedral High School also sponsored teachers who were in the Providence Alliance for Catholic Teachers, or PACT program, part of the University Consortium for Catholic Education. Through this program, young teachers are given the chance to earn a master's degree in education from Providence College, while devoting two years of service to the school where they are assigned. Before merging there was one teacher in the program at Cathedral and two graduates of the program taught at the school.

In recent years, the school had maintained an approximate 15:1 student/teacher ratio. Some classes, particularly those that are compulsory, had a larger ratio. Others, particularly electives, had a smaller ratio.

In 2004, the school welcomed its first lay principal. With this, all Cathedral's academic leadership, including vice-principal, guidance director, business manager, librarians, and all department heads were lay people.

Cathedral High School is a college-preparatory program, where 96% of the graduates further their education. Members of the Class of 2009 attended Boston College, Boston University, Fairfield University; Fordham University, College of the Holy Cross, Northeastern University, Bryant University, Providence College, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. Anselm's, University of Connecticut, University of Massachusetts, University of Rochester, The Elms College, Villanova University, The Catholic University of America, and others.


Cathedral High School had religion, science, English, fine arts & business, social studies, foreign language, physical education and mathematics departments.

The school offered courses that challenged students at various skill levels in all grades in all the academic departments. Within their respective departments, Cathedral offers classes in scripture, world religions, earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, journalism, computer literacy, art (painting, drawing, and sculpture), United States History, World History, sociology, Spanish, French, Latin, algebra, geometry, calculus, and statistics. Many of these classes and others were available as college prep or honors. Advanced Placements were available in English, Calculus, Statistics, US History, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Latin.


As of the 2015-16 winter season, Cathedral High School students, along with Holyoke Catholic High School students, played sports as the Pope Francis High School Cardinals. The Cardinals have 39 sports teams at three competitive levels (varsity, JV and freshman). Over the past 70 years Cathedral teams have won countless Western Massachusetts and state titles, including in football, soccer, cross country, basketball, hockey, indoor track and field, baseball, outdoor track and field and tennis. The school's colors were purple and white. Cathedral's mascot was a Panther, and the squads were often referred to as the Purple Panthers.

With the exception of Field Hockey and Football, all sports had both boys' and girls' teams. Football, soccer, basketball, and baseball all had freshman, junior varsity, and varsity teams. The others had JV and varsity teams. In recent years, the school was perhaps best known for its Ice Hockey team. The Panthers had the only Division 1 hockey program in Western Massachusetts.

In 2009, the Cathedral High School ice hockey team won the Division 1 State Championship for the first time since 2003, beating Arlington Catholic, the Division 1 North Champions, for the title.


Cathedral's clubs included several service groups, which organize events for the school and community.Some groups direct their efforts in volunteering (e.g. at a soup kitchen) or planning religious events, others organize dances and other activities. One such group is the school's Saint Thomas Aquinas chapter of the National Honor Society.

Other groups include yearbook, the school newspaper, photography, language clubs, choir/band, lighting and sound, Red Cross, Amnesty International, pro-life clubs, adventure club, drama, and Model Senate.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ NEASC-CIS. "NEASC-Commission on Independent Schools". Archived from the original on 2009-06-16. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
  2. ^ Martinez, Alessandra (23 February 2015). "Cathedral, Holyoke Catholic to merge under proposal by Bishop". WWLP. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Move, merger of Cathedral High and Holyoke Catholic now complete". 24 June 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  4. ^ Brown, Garry (March 22, 2013). "Cathedral High School's Scott Barnes opens baseball season with Triple A Columbus". The Republican. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  5. ^ Litsky, Frank (June 29, 1999). "Angelo Bertelli, 78, Is Dead; Quarterback for Notre Dame". The New York Times. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  6. ^ Lehigh, Scot (January 27, 2006). "The boy from Springfield". Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  7. ^ Barboza, Scott (September 14, 2010). "New England Roots: Nick Buoniconti". Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  8. ^ Edes, Gordon (February 20, 2014). "Red Sox add Chris Capuano". Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  9. ^ "Bill Danoff, who was born in Springfield..." The Republican. July 22, 2009. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  10. ^ Stein, Anne (November 5, 2008). "The Skinny on Vinny". Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  11. ^ Brown, Garry (January 11, 2013). "Cathedral High School 'play the best' hockey tradition began in 1977". The Republican. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  12. ^ a b Brown, Garry (November 20, 2013). "Cathedral High School to induct Class of 2013 into Sports Hall of Fame". The Republican. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  13. ^ Brown, Garry (February 15, 2011). "Nick Gorneault's wife got a clutch save from Terry Francona". The Republican. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  14. ^ Marks, Charlotte A. (September 19, 2009). "UMass coach Derek Kellogg leads Cathedral honorees". The Republican. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  15. ^ Shea, Tom (April 22, 2012). "Larry O'Brien, campaign architect to JFK, left long Springfield legacy". The Republican. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  16. ^ Ring, Dan (August 13, 2006). "Reilly predicts tide will turn his way". The Republican. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  17. ^ "Diane Schumacher Helps Nichols Celebrate National Girls & Women in Sports Day". Nichols College. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  18. ^ United States of America Congressional Record Proceedings and Debates of the 106th Congress First Session Vol 145- Part 10. United States Government Printing Office.
  19. ^ "Peter Welch (D)". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 20, 2014.

External links[edit]