100-Year gala kicks off $25 million campaign

First Catholic high school in Indiana shows the way

All four men who have served as president of Cathedral High School pose in the same manner as the schools founders 100 years ago.

Photo submitted

All four men who have served as president of Cathedral High School pose in the same manner as the school’s founders 100 years ago.

Emma Kress, Reporter

Although it occured almost a month ago on Sept. 15, the effect of the 100-year gala and continues to have a positive effect on every member of the Irish family.  

Last month the four school presidents took a photo in front of the original Cathedral school building. One hundred years earlier to the day, at the same location, four Holy Cross brothers took a picture on the very first day of school at Cathedral High School.

President Mr. Robert Bridges said, “To me, the most poignant moment of the whole three days of celebrations was Thursday night. We had mass downtown at the Cathedral, and the four Cathedral presidents were there. We went around the corner to 13th and Penn where the first Cathedral school was. We have a picture of the four Holy Cross brothers standing in front of the school from Sept. 13, 1918.

“The four Cathedral presidents stood in the same spot, exactly 100 years later. As we were getting that picture taken, it gave me goosebumps. To think that this moment was part of history and that I’m part of history is really humbling to me.” 

Vice President for Advancement Mrs. Nicole Beasley ’98 said, “Not many schools in town can say they’ve turned 100. Especially for Catholic schools, we’re the oldest in town. 

When you look at Cathedral’s history and times when we’ve almost had to close and struggled with enrollment, and think where we are now, what makes Cathedral so amazing is our rich history, and to be able to be as successful as we are now is really special and something we shouldn’t take for granted.” The 100-year celebrations this September also included the centennial gala. Beasley said, “The gala was an event that we planned that served two primary purposes. It honored everything that came before us, so the 99 years prior to us. We tried to be very intentional about paying tribute to our rich history. 

It also gave us an opportunity to look forward and launch our capital campaign and the school’s vision going forth into the next 100 years.”

While celebrating history is important, Bridges said that every current and former member of the Irish family should not forget to look to the future. 

“So we have a great history, but we can’t just rest on those laurels. We have to be great today for (students). And next year for the new freshmen. So each year we have to keep continuing to do that. We are trying to hire the best teachers and we’re trying to support them and pay them the best that we can. 

“The big highlight piece is the Innovation Center. I think it’s exciting for our future because no one else in this area, certainly not any Catholic schools, has anything like that. So we will continue to do the great things we have in our school right now, but we will enhance it,” he said.

The Innovation Center is part of a campaign that was announced at the Gala. Beasley said, “The campaign is a $25 million initiative in which we are meeting three primary areas in our school that need funding, those being the Innovation Center, enhancements to Brunette Park and growth in the endowment for tuition assistance and teacher salaries.” Although $25 million is the largest amount of money raised by the school yet, it appears to be a goal that is within reach. Bridges said, “We’ve already got commitments for almost 20 million of that. That means we’re about 80 percent of the way to the goal.”

Bridges expressed confidence about the campaign’s role in both the immediate and the long-term future of the school. He said, “It will put Cathedral way out in front of the competition. I think it will be good for the rest of the city because other people will try to catch up with Cathedral. We kind of set the way. We have to be humble about that, but it’s true. We were the first Catholic high school, and we continue to show the way.”