Mission & History
The Central Catholic Promise: To inspire boys to become Men of Faith, Men of Scholarship, Men of Service.
Central Catholic High School, a college preparatory school for boys, is guided by the educational principles of St. John Baptist de La Salle.
The school strives to provide a challenging, relevant, and diverse program of studies and extracurricular activities in an environment that fosters a life of faith and learning and develops leaders rooted in the Gospel values of integrity, respect, service, justice, and peace.
The Beginning of Central Catholic
Shortly after the Most Reverend Hugh C. Boyle was elevated to the episcopacy, he began a secondary school expansion program in the Diocese.
To support the development of centralized, well-equipped high schools, the Bishop organized a campaign in 1923 to raise funds. The first fruit of the campaign was the erection of Central District Catholic High School and Faculty House in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh.
The architectural style of both buildings is Flemish Gothic, whose soaring towers and buttresses express strength and solidity. In the auditorium, the large stained glass windows represent the various countries from which the Catholic population of Pittsburgh originally migrated. Inscribed on each window is the seal of the country, the names of its patron saint and two of its notable Catholic citizens.
The new high school was dedicated by Bishop Boyle on September 11, 1927. On the following day 488 boys, from 42 parishes in the central section of the city, registered in the ninth grade, the only grade functioning that year. Fourteen De La Salle Christian Brothers comprised the first faculty.
1950’s - Today
In the 1950s, enrollment reached a peak of 1,800. In the mid-1960’s, the School Administration began to lower the enrollment to a number more consistent with the physical facilities and modern educational trends.
The average class size has been reduced from 45 to 21 students. Today the student body numbers about 840 boys, taught by 8 De La Salle Christian Brothers and 59 lay persons. A priest chaplain serves the students at Central Catholic and Oakland Catholic. The students have approximately 150 course offerings from which to choose. The academic program remains in the forefront of contemporary educational approaches.
In 1978, Alumni Hall was completed, providing long-needed, expanded facilities for the physical education, intramural and athletic programs. In the 1980’s, Mr. & Mrs. John Ryan, Jr., funded the Ryan Science Center, creating laboratories that met requirements of the contemporary science curriculum. In addition, some revenue from the annual Viking Victory Auction was used to fund the renovation of classrooms and faculty offices, create a computer lab, and equip the building for computer technology programs.
In 2000, the Blue & Gold Campaign was established to renovate the athletic field, the old gym, and Alumni Hall. Campaign revenue also provided a synthetic grass field to accommodate year-round usage. The remodeled old gym now includes Coaches’ Pavilion (a fitness complex), and the Peter J. Spadaro Performing Arts Center, accommodating the music and drama programs.
In 2003, the center tower was replaced after a partial collapse. The former art and music area was renovated to house the Brother Richard Center for Excellence. This air-conditioned facility accommodates the Bishop McDowell Program, the Academic Support Program, and the Writing Center. A new walkway in front of the building eases handicapped access and admits natural light into these rooms. In the spring and summer of 2005, the auditorium received a $1.8-million renovation and restoration, the generous gift of John ’56 & Mary Ita McGonigle and their sons, Kevin ’82 and Michael ’85, and was named The McGonigle Theatre. The Clifford E. Brown Library, opened in 2008, provides students and faculty an ideal atmosphere for study and research.
In 2008, Central Catholic, like the other diocesan high schools, was incorporated with its own two-tiered Board of Directors, responsible for the governance of the school.
In 2016, Central Catholic dedicated the Zupancic Family STEM Center and the Staley Family Plaza. The $12 million, 30,000 square-foot facility was made possible solely by the generosity of Central Catholic alumni and friends. The Zupancic Center facilitates Central Catholic’s expanding STEM curriculum in rooms that accommodate lectures and labs, group work and project-based learning, and are easily re-configured for other needs. The new Center also enables increased partnerships with nearby University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, Carlow, Chatham, and Duquesne Universities.
The centerpiece of the Staley Family Plaza is the bronze statue of St. John Baptist de La Salle instructing a student. The pavement of the Plaza contains incised stones honoring persons and groups designated by the donors.
During the summer of 2017, the former faculty room was remodeled into the De La Salle Center, a dedicated guidance and counseling center that is also home to our Lasallian Ministry and for the first time in Central Catholic’s history, a dedicated oratory.
Meet Our Faculty & Staff
The faculty and staff of Central Catholic High School pride themselves on being a part of a caring community, and they serve as mentors, coaches and role models to our students.