Scecina Memorial High School

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Scecina Memorial High School
Scecina Memorial High School.png
5000 Nowland Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana, (Marion County), 46201
Coordinates 39°47′12″N 86°05′07″W / 39.78667°N 86.08528°W / 39.78667; -86.08528Coordinates: 39°47′12″N 86°05′07″W / 39.78667°N 86.08528°W / 39.78667; -86.08528
Type Private, Coeducational
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 21 September 1953
President Joe Therber
Principal John Hegarty
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 430 (2014-2015)
Average class size 19
Student to teacher ratio 13:1
Color(s) Cardinal and Gold         
Slogan Give that Little Extra
Athletics conference Indiana Crossroads Conference
Mascot Crusader
Nickname Crusaders
Accreditation North Central Association of Colleges and Schools [1]
Director of Enrollment Management Kelsey Abelein
Athletic Director Jason Kehrer

Scecina Memorial High School a Roman Catholic, co-educational high school located on the East Side of Indianapolis, Indiana. It is named in honor of Father Thomas Scecina, a priest from Indianapolis who was killed in action while ministering to United States military personnel during the Second World War with the 57th Infantry Division, Fort McKinley, Luzon, Philippines.


In 1952, there was sufficient need and desire for a Catholic coeducational high school on the east side of Indianapolis. A plot of land at 5000 Nowland was purchased in conjunction with a successful 1 million dollar fund drive, and on August 21, 1952, ground was broken, with the cornerstone being laid on December 21, 1952. On September 21, 1953, regular classes began for 128 freshman girls and 127 freshman boys under Fr. Harry Hoover, who as founding principal had overseen the construction of the school.

The dedication of the school to Father Thomas Scecina, the only archdiocesan priest to give his life for his country in World War II, took place on October 18, 1953. The first graduating class of 219 students graduated in June 1957, and within a decade, SMHS grew to a school of 1400 students.

After Father Hoover retired in 1969, Father Joseph McGinley succeeded him. Mr. William Kuntz was assigned the post in 1972, and Sister Hortense Fougerousse was principal for the 1973-74 school year. Mr. Raymond Riley was appointed principal in 1974 and held the position until June 1986, when Mr. Larry Neidlinger took the reins. Mr. Neidlinger retired in 1995, a few months short of his death, and Mr. Stephen Papesh became principal from 1995-2000. During the 1999-2000 school year, SMHS hired Mr. Keith Marsh as its first President. The school’s second President, Dr. Kevin Caspersen, took over the reins in July 2004. Mrs. Maribeth Ransel became President in February 2007. In October 2008, Mr. Joseph Therber was named as President replacing Mrs. Ransel, who had been acting in an interim capacity. Mr. Rick J. Ruhl joined the SMHS family as principal during the 2000-2001 school year. In July 2005, Mr. Tom Davis became principal.

In August 2003, SMHS proudly opened its doors for its 50th anniversary year. SMHS is the first archdiocesan high school in Indianapolis to reach this historic milestone. In October 2003, many of the Franciscan Sisters who first staffed the school, along with other former teachers, administrators, and alumni were invited to a very special all-school Mass. Nearly 80 of Father Thomas Scecina’s surviving relatives attended that Mass and held a family reunion on the SMHS campus. Throughout its first 50 years, SMHS has continued its tradition “to give that little extra”. With great gratitude and reverence for its past, SMHS looks forward to another 50 years of changing lives in its crucial ministry of educating spirit, mind, and body.

Father Thomas Scecina[edit]

The namesake of the first diocesan Roman Catholic high school in Indianapolis was born in Vicksburg, Indiana, on September 16, 1910. He graduated from St. Meinrad Seminary in 1935 and enlisted in the Army Chaplain's Reserve Corps on 5 October 1939. Father Scecina had previously been posted at Holy Trinity and St. John's parishes in Indianapolis.

Taken prisoner by Japanese military forces in April 1942, Scecina was forced to participate in the Bataan Death March and was interned as a prisoner of war at O'Donnell and Cabanatuan camps. In fall 1944, the Japanese made preparations to transfer all prisoners of war to mainland Japan against the Geneva War Convention. Scecina was placed on the Arisan Maru and went through two weeks of torture before the transport was torpedoed by an American submarine. 1,792 military prisoners aboard were killed, including Father Scecina, who had volunteered to be transported to continue to provide the Word of God to his men. Eight POWs survived to tell of Father Scecina's last hours.

Subsequently, for acts of heroism above and beyond the call of duty, Father Thomas Scecina was posthumously awarded many military honors, among them the Silver Star, and the Bronze Star. He was also awarded the Purple Heart for being wounded in service to his country.

Notable alumni[edit]

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