St. Peter Chanel High School

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St. Peter Chanel High School
480 Northfield Road
Bedford, Ohio, (Cuyahoga County)

United States
Coordinates 41°24′11″N 81°31′41″W / 41.40306°N 81.52806°W / 41.40306; -81.52806Coordinates: 41°24′11″N 81°31′41″W / 41.40306°N 81.52806°W / 41.40306; -81.52806
Type Private, Coeducational
Motto "Quaecumque Excelsa"
(To Seek What Is Above)
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1957
Closed 2013
Oversight Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland
Principal Maria Berlec[1]
Grades 912
Average class size 22
Student to teacher ratio 14:1
Campus Suburban
Color(s) Scarlet and White [1]         
Mascot Firebird
Team name Firebirds[1]
Rival Trinity High School
Accreditation North Central Association of Colleges and Schools,[2]
Ohio Catholic School Accrediting Association
Newspaper The Flame
Yearbook Invictus

Saint Peter Chanel High School was a Catholic high school located in Bedford, Ohio, USA, from 1957 to 2013. The school was closed by the Cleveland Catholic Diocese following a drastic, decreasing trend in enrollment.[3]


St. Peter Chanel High School was designed by George W. Stickle and associates of Cleveland. The school is a steel structure with an ashlar limestone brick pattern. The school building is a four story structure. Classroom assignments were:

  • 000-032: basement, weight room, locker rooms, cafeteria, mechanicals, garage, industrial arts, classrooms and band room.
  • 100-132: gymnasium, library, athletic offices, lobby, Fr. Edward O'Connell Chapel, school offices, teachers' lounge, classrooms, campus ministry and physics laboratory.
  • 200-232: TV studio, chemistry laboratory, classrooms, art room, computer laboatories, biology laboratory.
  • 300-332: 3rd floor. When St. Peter Chanel HS was established, the Marists lived here. After the Marists moved, the 3rd floor was used primarily for retreats in the community rooms. There was a kitchen, a small chapel and bedrooms with bathrooms with amenities.

St. Peter Chanel's gymnasium held an estimated 2,400-3,000 people. The gymnasium had naming rights. Ripp Field (1973) held 3,500 fans, and added an all-weather track in 2006.

Facts about St. Peter Chanel HS building

  • General contractor: Schnider-Schrimer Incorporated
  • Concrete supplier: Carr Brothers Incorporated
  • Original building 1957, additions in 1963, and 2007
  • Area 210,000 sq ft (20,000 m2)
  • 33 acres (130,000 m2)


In 1950, Archbishop Edward Francis Hoban purchased 94 acres (380,000 m2) of the Tarbell estate on Northfield Road for either a new parish or a high school. In 1951, Monsignor Joseph Heruday, a priest at St. Wenceslas Parish, suggested that Archbishop Hoban establish a new parish to help ease overcrowding at St. Wenceslas parish. At this time, Maple Heights, Ohio was fast growing with development. Lear Sigler Developers were proposing new homes on Applegate and Donnybrook as part of the new Southgate Shopping Center. At this time in neighboring Garfield Heights, Ohio, St. Therese Parish was also experiencing overcrowding.

In December 1951, Archbishop Hoban met with Fr. Charles Willis SM in a meeting in New Orleans. With Archbishop Hoban was Bishop John Krol, who was superintendent of Catholic Education who proposed the need for a new Catholic Parish and School in Cleveland. On 17 March 1952, the Marist Fathers and Archbishop Hoban establish Blessed Pius X Parish in Bedford. On 1 April 1952, Archbishop Hoban established St. Monica Parish in Garfield Heights. In 1954, Blessed Pius X Parish became St. Pius X Parish (now Our Lady of Hope Parish) and its school (now Holy Spirit Academy) opened, also that same year St. Monica School opened. At the time Marymount High needed a newer modern building and the Marists were planning their high school.

In 1955, Fr. Charles Willis approached Fr. Hugh Gallagher to donate land for their new high school, but the Sisters of St. Joseph wanted the land for Marymount High School. Archbishop Hoban had to intervene. There would no new high school at St. Monicas. In late 1955, the Sisters of St. Joseph broke ground for new Marymount High on the corner of East 126th Street and Granger Road. In 1954, voters of Bedford approved a bond issue for new Bedford High, which is currently on Northfield Road. On 10 January 1956, Bedford broke ground for their new high school, 20 days later on 30 January 1956, the Marists broke ground on their $1.89 million high school across the street from new Bedford High. The Marists named their new high school, St. Peter Chanel High School, named after the first saint of order, two years before Pope Pius XII canonized Peter Chanel as saint.

On 7 September 1957, St. Peter Chanel opened with 61 Freshmen. The school was still under construction. There was no football field and baseball diamonds for new school. That same day new Bedford High opened too. October 1958, Archbishop Edward Hoban officially dedicated St. Peter Chanel High School.

On 30 March 1962 St. Peter Chanel had to expand the school, that same year St. Peter Chanel established WCHS-TV, making St. Peter Chanel the first high school in Cleveland to have a closed circuited TV network. In 1963, the expansion was completed, the 1963 section harmonizes with the 1957 section seamlessly. The 1963 section is called the Willard Wing by St. Peter Chanel Students because of the nearby street named Willard Drive.

In 1973, the Marists gave control of St. Peter Chanel to the Diocese of Cleveland. Also in that year, Ripp Field was renovated with lights for night time football games.

In the 1987-88 school year, St. Peter Chanel faced closure or co-education for girls; the choice was co-education. In the 1988 school year the first girls entered St. Peter Chanel, as nearby Lumen Cordium closed and many girls from Lumen joined the ranks at St. Peter Chanel. Lumen Cordium today is nursing home named Light of Hearts Villa.

In the 1990-91 school year, St. Peter Chanel had a fire in its chemistry laboratory. According to the Bedford Fire Department, there was $250,000-500,000 of fire damage. Fire departments from Bedford, Maple Heights, Bedford Heights and Garfield Heights responded to the fire. This led to the creation of the Chagrin-Southeast Hazmat unit. The school had to be renovated due to this. The lobby, chemistry laboratory and library were damaged. Many of the library's books had to frozen to dry them out.

In the early 1990s, St. Peter Chanel had a notorious losing streak in football. From 1990-94 the Firebirds were 0-50, until September 1994, when St. Peter Chanel defeated neighboring Garfield Heights by a score of 36-0, and the streak was over. That season the Firebirds finished 6-4 overall under Dick Marabito. That same year, the Marist Fathers left due to declining vocations. For a short time, from 1994 to 1999, the Sisters of Notre Dame helped.

St. Peter Chanel expanded again for the wrestling room which opened in 2007.

During the 2007-2008 school year, Chanel High School was a source of controversy. The resident computer literacy teacher, Dr. Steve Majercik, was arrested for child molestation. It was also revealed that Majercik was at the time, in an extramarital affair with the victims mother. The victim was a freshman at the school and it was discovered that in addition to this particular case, multiple former students had come forward and the teacher was charged with over 50 counts of sexual battery and child molestation.[4]

On December 14, 2012, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland announced that the school would close at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. The diocesan school superintendent, in a letter to school officials, cited falling enrollment, failure of tuition payments to cover the costs of educating the students, and the burden born by the diocese in subsidizing the school over the past year as being factors considered in making the decision.[3]

St. Peter Chanel closed on Friday, June 7, 2013


Notable athletic achievements[edit]

  • Boys' basketball: State Champions: 1999
    • State Final: four appearances: 1991, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2012
  • Girls' basketball:
    • 2001, 2007 State Final Four
  • American football: State Champions: 2001
  • Wrestling: State Champions: – 1983, 1986, 1987, 1988, 2011
    • Runners up 1984, 1994, 1995, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005


School organizations[edit]

  • R.A.C.E. - Respect All Cultures Equally, this groups promotes equality amongst the school community
  • Flame - school newspaper
  • Phoenix - school literary magazine
  • Academic challenge
  • Campus ministry
  • WCHS-TV 10 - closed circuit TV station, founded in 1962, first of type in Cleveland
  • Drama club
  • TEAMS - science
  • Ambassador Club - helps with open houses
  • Student Council
  • Invictus - yearbook
  • Forensics - debate
  • Biology club - students with a strong interest in biology

External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]