Holy Cross High School (River Grove, Illinois)

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Holy Cross High School
River Grove, Illinois 60171
United States
School type secondary parochial
Denomination Roman Catholic
Opened 1961
Status Consolidated with Mother Guerin
Closed 2004
Oversight Archdiocese of Chicago
Grades 9–12
Gender Boys
Campus type suburban
Colour(s) Red, Grey          
Athletics conference East Suburban Catholic Conference
Nickname Crusaders
Yearbook Templar
Affiliation Congregation of Holy Cross

Holy Cross High School was an all-boys, Roman Catholic high school in River Grove, Illinois, USA that operated from August 1961 until June 2004. In December, 2003, the school announced that they no longer had enough funding or interest in enrollment to continue.[1] Only 79 students took the entrance exam for the 2004-2005 school year, and at least 125 were necessary to keep the school open. In June, 2004, the neighboring all-girls high school Mother Theodore Guerin High School accepted all Holy Cross students, becoming coed and changing their name to Guerin College Preparatory High School. Students from Mother Guerin and Holy Cross had already been sharing each other's facilities for certain classes, such as drama, music, and foreign languages.[2]

At one point, Holy Cross's enrollment was as high as 1,556 students.[3] The school expanded its facilities in 1969 with the construction of a humanities learning center.[4]

Chicago Cubs[edit]

The school had a close connection to the Chicago Cubs baseball team in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Third-baseman Ron Santo ran a baseball academy on the Holy Cross grounds,[5] and the Cubs helped fund equipment for the school's baseball team. The Cubs even held their workouts at the school in spring 1972, in the midst of a strike which had shut down all of the major league training camps.[6][7]


Holy Cross's sports teams were known as the Crusaders. Their baseball team earned six regional championships, two sectional championships, and two appearances in the IHSA State Finals, while their football team had two undefeated regular seasons and six state playoff berths.[8]

1974 graduation controversy[edit]

In 1974, principal Raymond Dufresne cancelled Holy Cross's graduation ceremony and baccalaureate mass after a group of seniors threw firecrackers and honked their car horns in the school parking lot during a graduation rehearsal. Their actions prompted a police visit to the school, though no one was arrested. Afterwards, Dufresne wrote a letter to parents, stating, "Unfortunately, the behavior of too many of the class of 1974 . . . was not something we can look to with pride or joy. . . . Our decision is that there will be no graduation ceremony."[9] After meeting with faculty and parents, Dufresne decided to reinstate the ceremonies, but required that students sit with their parents, instead of in a group.[10]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Val Belmonte, former college hockey coach and college athletic director, winner of the 1987 CCHA Coach of the Year Award[citation needed]
  • Joseph Grendys, billionaire meat processor[11]
  • Joe Principe, bass guitarist of Rise Against[12]
  • John Carpino ('77), current President of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  • Mike Rizzo ('79), current President/General Manager of the Washington Nationals[13]
  • Tony Fiore ('90), pitcher drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1992 MLB Draft (28th round)
  • Joe Mazzuca ('99), infielder drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 2003 MLB Draft (12th round)
  • Jim Paduch ('00), pitcher drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2003 MLB Draft (12th round)
  • Garrett Wolfe ('02), All-American running back at NIU, 2006 NCAA leading rusher, drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 2007 NFL Draft (3rd round)[14]
  • Bobby Stevens ('05), shortstop drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2008 MLB Draft (16th round)

Notable faculty[edit]

  • Jean Kenny, a guidance counselor and nun who received media attention for her Super Bowl prognostication, done in rhyme (e.g., "The AFC makes it two in a row, / for football's finest spectacular show. / Bronco fans everywhere will shout, 'We told you so.' / Atlanta's Peachtree Street will hit an all-time low.") [15]


  1. ^ Rozek, Dan. "Low enrollment dooms another Catholic high", Chicago Sun-Times, February 10, 2004. Accessed December 11, 2007.
  2. ^ Aduroja, Grace. "Guerin to go coed after Holy Cross' end". Chicago Tribune. February 11, 2004. 1
  3. ^ "Enrollment up at Holy Cross". Chicago Tribune. September 19, 1965. NW7.
  4. ^ "Holy Cross School to construct facility". Chicago Tribune. May 1, 1969. W5.
  5. ^ Condon, David. "In the wake of the news". Chicago Tribune. May 21, 1966. C1.
  6. ^ Dozer, Richard. "10 Cubs Go Thru Indoor Workouts". Chicago Tribune. April 4, 1972. C1.
  7. ^ Dozer, Richard. "Cubs continue workouts; Sox return to town". Chicago Tribune. April 5, 1972. E7.
  8. ^ Holy Cross High School Crusaders. Illinois High School Glory Days. Retrieved on December 12, 2007.
  9. ^ Pratt, Steven. "Seniors have their fun; it costs them graduation fete". Chicago Tribune. May 29, 1974. 1.
  10. ^ Pratt, Steven. "Holy Cross seniors will have their commencement exercises". Chicago Tribune. May 30, 1974. B20.
  11. ^ "Joseph Grendys: Meat Processing Tycoon". entrepreneurinformer. June 24, 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  12. ^ Olvera, Jennifer. "Band on the rise". Elm Leaves. August 25, 2004. 4. "Principe, a Melrose Park native, attended Holy Cross High School in River Grove. Before graduating in 1992, he began fiddling with the acoustic guitar."
  13. ^ Michael Rizzo. The Baseball Cube. Retrieved on October 1, 2009.
  14. ^ O'Donnell, Jim. "One unlikely Star Trek: Garrett Wolfe's pothole-pitted path to glory", Chicago Sun-Times, September 28, 2006. Accessed December 11, 2007. "Three buses actually -- Division Street No. 70 to Austin Avenue No.91 north to Belmont Avenue No. 77 west -- to get to Holy Cross High School in River Grove."
  15. ^ "Elway rallies his Broncos". USA Today. January 29, 1999. 21F.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°56′10″N 87°49′37″W / 41.936°N 87.827°W / 41.936; -87.827