St. Edward's High School
|St. Edward's High School (Austin, Texas)|
|Type||Private, All Male|
|Principal||Br. Peter Celestine, C.S.C.|
|Color(s)||Blue and Gold|
|Affiliation||Roman Catholic, Congregation of Holy Cross|
St. Edward's University Main Building and Holy Cross Dormitory
|Location||3001 S. Congress St., Austin, Texas|
|Area||5 acres (2.0 ha)|
|NRHP Reference #||73001980|
|Added to NRHP||March 7, 1973|
St. Edward's High School was a private Roman Catholic institution of higher learning located south of Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas. The high school was known for offering a high quality college prep education and for its picturesque campus situated on a hill overlooking the city of Austin. The campus's most prominent landmark is the recognizable neo-gothic Main Building.
History (1872 - 1967)
In 1872, Father Edward Sorin, C.S.C., arrived in Austin, Texas to investigate the possibility of building a secondary educational institution in the capital city of Texas. In 1872, Father Sorin bought one hundred and twenty-three acres from Mrs. Mary Doyle, a parishioner of St. Mary’s Church. Later Mrs. Doyle donated an additional three hundred and ninety-four acres to Fr. Sorin for the purpose of establishing a high school-college.
St. Edward’s High School was opened in 1878, on the site of the present Internal Revenue Service Building, (the SE corner of Woodward and IH-35) and was known as St. Edward’s Academy.
The year 1881, found St. Edward’s first boarding student moving onto the campus. this same year the total enrollment was three (3), two day students and one boarder. St. Edward’s Academy was a six year high school offering a classical course and a commercial course. Meeting the requirements of the State of Texas, the Academy was officially chartered, in 1885, for a period of 50 years.
Father Peter J. Hurth, C.S.C., determined to build a physical plant which would satisfy the needs of the growing enrollment of the Academy, so that in 1885 the Main Building was completed.
On April 9, 1903, the first main building of St. Edward’s burned to the ground. It had been estimated that the fire broke out in the attic and completely destroyed the interior of the massive, gothic, white limestone edifice. Within two days the plans had been drawn up the rebuild the magnificent structure. The specifications called for a central portion of 107 feet by 50 feet.
During this time the school was known as St. Edward’s College, a name which is deceiving in the current era of educational demarcations, since it was really a high school.
Under Fr. Matthew Schumacher, St. Edward’s defined clearly the collegiate and high school departments. For years the distinction between high school and college had been blurry. although the term “high school” began to be used in the catalogues around 1900, the secondary level did not have the distinct existence that postwar standards would require. the high school even then did not have its own principal - the president held that title - nor did it have a fully separate faculty. It was at time even referred to as the “prep department.” Still it possessed a real identity which had been lacking before.(1)
In 1921 true college-level courses were added to the curriculum. In 1924 and 1925, the institution became known as St. Edward’s High School, which has continued to this day, and received its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The college’s membership in this organization would elude it for many years (2). Also in 1924 and 1925 St. Edward’s received its University charter from the Texas State Department of Education and from the Texas Association of Colleges.
Between 1925 and 1958 St. Edward’s High School and St. Edward’s University were co-located on the same campus. Indeed, both St. Edward’s High School and St. Edward’s University administrations were located in the Gothic-styled Main Building. From 1958 until 1967 the two educational institutions remained co-located on the same campus with the High School residing on the southeastern corner of the Congregation’s property. However, from 1958 until the school’s closing in 1967, the High School and the Congregation’s High School community took complete possession of the campus’ most recognizable feature - the imposing Main Building.
During the period of the First World War, and the Great Depression which followed, St. Edward’s had a period of grave struggle in order to enlarge it facilities and enrollment. Through the efforts of many fine people St. Ed’s did weather the crisis and grew into a fine, first rate high school.
In 1931, Brother Hubert Koeppen, C.S.C., arrived on the campus, to help make St. Ed’s a greater school. For the past 36 years Br. Hubert has been a familiar figure to the students and to many Austinites alike. This is evident from the many ex-students who return to the campus to see Brother Hubert and to talk over the days of old. Indeed, Brother and his “attic” will always be remembered by the thousands of young students who have looked to him for guidance and example.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, the period of the 1940s saw many changes come to St. Edward’s High School. Since young men enlisted in the military service, the college numbers dropped to an enrollment of 8 freshmen; and an increased high school enrollment filled the vacancy. This enabled the college not only to keep its Charter as a college but also to keep the college in existence. The college is now St. Edward's University.
During this period of time the high school was used by the Texas State Guard as a training camp for high school and junior college men. Our familiar grounds were trampled by cadets in uniform carrying rifles and staging military drills. this indeed was a great aspect of our heritage in that St. Ed’s rallied to the cause of defense and shared in the needs of her country.
As we approach the later period of history of St. Edward’s we see many great achievements, which shall stand forever. The many trophies which are displayed in the halls of the Main Building speak only for a part of the past. So many excellent young men who are now leading lights in their respective communities and various countries are the greatest tribute to the glorious past of St. Edward’s.
In 1958 Brother Peter Celestine C.S.C., came to St. Edward’s to take over the helm as Principal and head of the boarding department. Many changes have occurred during these past 10 years. The number of boarding students has increased. The standards have reached a peak of excellence unchallenged by any.
Coinciding with Brother Peter’s arrival, the Congregation of Holy Cross decided to form two communities, one for the University and one for the High School, with Brother Peter becoming the Superior of the Congregation’s High School community. Unfortunately, by spinning off the High School community, the Congregation had unwittingly planted the seed for the ultimate closing of the High School.
The last two years have proven the real test of St. Edward’s courage and excellent spirit. With the announcement of the closing of the boarding department last year, there could have been a general letdown, but both faculty and students had too much loyalty to let this happen. The end result was that this present, and last, school year has seen faculty and student alike moving ahead and maintaining the same code of excellence which has always characterized St. Ed’s. Even the announcement that May 26, will see the last Tiger leave Tigertown, has encouraged a more concentrated effort on the part of all to make this the best year in the history of the 97-year-old institution.
This article was originally printed in Volume 6, Number 5 of ‘Tigertown’, the High School’s student publication of April 1967. Although the article has no byline, according to the Editor, Andy Yemma ‘67, the piece can be attributed to Brother Lawrence Young, C.S.C. who was the faculty advisor for student publications in 1967.
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Jr. High School (grades 6 - 8)
High School (grades 9 - 12) - curriculum to obtain a high school diploma
College Prepl (grades 9 - 12) - curriculum for college entry & advanced Mathematics and Sciences
St. Edward's participated in the Texas Catholic Interscholastic League (TCIL) in football, basketball, baseball, track & field, cross country, golf, and tennis.
St. Edward's was a boarding school with students from across the state of Texas, Mexico, Central & South America
Ray Campi - Musician, The King of Rockabilly
Charles Clements, MD, MPH - Executive Director of Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights. Also co-founder of the International Medical Relief Fund (IMRF) and founder of the International Commission on Medical Neutrality.
William Faulk 'Guich' Koock - Texan, actor, writer, bought Luckenbach, Texas in 1971 with Kathy Morgan & Hondo Crouch
- St. Edward’s University: A Centennial History, William Dunn, C.S.C., pg. 171
- St. Edward's HS Facebook page (By Invitation Only)
- St. Edward's University
- St. Edward's Alumni Assoc
- St. Edward's High School from the Handbook of Texas Online
Class Reunion pages
Note : 2017 is the 50th Anniversary of the school's closing and will most likely be the last 'All Classes' Reunion