Cathedral High School (Indianapolis)

Cathedral High School
5225 East 56th Street
Indianapolis, Indiana, Marion County 46226
United States
Coordinates 39°51′07″N 86°04′51″W / 39.85194°N 86.08083°W / 39.85194; -86.08083Coordinates: 39°51′07″N 86°04′51″W / 39.85194°N 86.08083°W / 39.85194; -86.08083
Type Private, Coeducational
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1918
President Robert Bridges
Principal David Worland
Chaplain Father John Zahn
Faculty 96
Grades 912
Enrollment 1,263 (2016)
Student to teacher ratio 13:1
Campus size 40 acres
Slogan Lifelong Connections
Fight song [1]
Athletics conference Independent
Sports Football, Soccer, Cross Country, Volleyball, Basketball, Track and Field, Tennis, Lacrosse
Mascot Leprechaun
Team name Fighting Irish
Accreditation North Central Association of Colleges and Schools,[2]
Independent Schools Association of the Central States
Newspaper The Megaphone
Yearbook The Cathedran
Feeder schools 150 different schools from throughout the Indianapolis area
Nobel laureates James Muller, MD
Athletic Director Doug Seagrave
Website Official Website

Cathedral High School is a private, Catholic college preparatory high school in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States serving approximately 1,200 students in grades 9 to 12. The school was founded in 1918 by Bishop Chartrand within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis and was run independently by the Brothers of Holy Cross until the late 1970s when it became an independent Catholic high school.


The school was founded as a boys high school by the Brothers of Holy Cross in 1918. In the 1970s, with the departure of the Brothers, a non-profit trust was developed by Robert V. Welch, other parents and a lay board in an effort to keep Cathedral alive. As part of that change, the school moved from its longtime home in downtown Indianapolis to its present location at 56th and Emerson streets, the site of the former all-girls Ladywood St. Agnes Academy. This change also facilitated the admission of girls to Cathedral High School. The original location of the school at 1400 North Meridian Street is today the headquarters for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Indianapolis. On September 13, 2011, Cathedral celebrated its 93rd birthday and was formally re-affiliated with the Brothers of Holy Cross.


The school offers several levels of academics, including Advanced Placement (one of only 14 schools in the state of Indiana) and International Baccalaureate. Cathedral is a college preparatory school. Cathedral was honored as a Blue Ribbon School three times, in 1988,[3] 2004,[4] and in 2016. Cathedral was the only high school, public or private, in the state of Indiana to receive a Blue Ribbon designation in 2016. No other high school in the state has receive the Blue Ribbon award more times.

There are 11 academic departments providing more than 188 course offerings. Three instructional levels are offered-honors, academic and college preparatory-as well as honors-level independent study in nearly all disciplines. Emphasis is placed on technology in the classroom. In 2012, Cathedral introduced a nationally recognized 1:1 iPad program. Honors and academic-level English students are required to take two years of foreign language (as listed below). College preparatory English students and students enrolled in the Language Support Program are not required to meet the foreign language requirement, except in unusual circumstances.

The Learning Resource Center, encompassing Cathedral's renowned Language Support Program, is available to meet the special needs of students with diagnosed learning differences such as ADD, ADHD, and autism-spectrum disorder. The Language Support Program is designed specifically to meet the needs of dyslexic students preparing for college entrance. In this program, courses are taught at the academic level of instruction with appropriate accommodations.

Each academic year, approximately 98–99% of Cathedral students matriculate in colleges and universities.[5]



For the 2008 Sunday Night Football season on NBC, Cathedral High School's football program was featured because even though the school has more football victories than any school in the state of Indiana, they do not have a home field. Though several games throughout the schedule each year are designated home games, they are played at different fields (such as Indianapolis Arlington High School, Arsenal Technical High School, and the University of Indianapolis) which are not directly affiliated with Cathedral itself. Its two segments aired on November 2 and 9, 2008.

As of the end of the 2013 IHSAA football season, Cathedral had more wins than any other school in the history of the sport in the state of Indiana. The team had a total of 635 wins in its 90-year existence.[6]

Cathedral ranks second on the all-time list for State Finals appearances in Indiana, reaching the title game a total of fifteen times. They have emerged victorious in twelve of those fifteen appearances (1986, 1992, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014).[7]

The football team is led by Rick Streiff who has coached the team to 9 state championships which ties him for the most championships for a high school football coach in Indiana. In addition to Streiff, the coaching staff is heavily compiled of former NFL and NCAA players such as Mike Prior and Darrick Brownlow.

Women's lacrosse

The 2015 women's lacrosse team defeated the HSE/Fishers team for the state title.

Women's volleyball

Men's volleyball

Other sports


Extracurricular activities

Performing arts

The Performing Arts department at Cathedral is a student driven program. Since 1999 the season had comprised five shows: The Festival of One Acts, the Fall Production, the Children's Play, the Rookie Show, and the Spring Musical. Beginning in the 2008-2009 school year the theater program has comprised a season of three theatrical productions and one musical per year. During the Fall Semester, students have performed the Fall Play and the Children's Show. During the Spring Semester, there has been the traditional musical and the new Rookie Showcase (a series of short one act plays). The Children's Show and the Rookie Showcase (and in the past, the Rookie Show and the Festival of One Acts) are student directed, while the Spring Musical and the Fall Show are teacher-directed. The school has light and stage design, a newly renovated Scene Shop, Costume Department, Green Room, and Dressing Rooms. All productions are created by the students. They build the sets, sew the costumes, design lighting, and acquire props.

Academic classes in the department include the independent study technical classes and the Advanced Acting and Directing classes producing the leads, directors, ADs, stage managers, and lighting and sound designers for most of the shows. The majority of students who take these upper-level classes will at least minor in some aspect of theater or performing arts, with students matriculating to, among others, Ball State University, Columbia University in Chicago, Indiana University, and Purdue University.

The school is a member of the International Thespian Society.

The Pride of the Irish Marching Band

The school has a marching band, the Pride of the Irish. The band marched in the Dublin, Ireland St. Patrick's Day parade in both 2000, 2008, and in 2015 and was featured on national TV in the Hollywood Thanksgiving Day parade in 2005, marched in the King Kamehameha Parade in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2002; performed on board the Music on the Seas Royal Caribbean cruise in 2004, and performed in Toronto, Canada in 1998.


TP-ing the Hill

One of the major traditions involving the student-body of Cathedral is the annual TP-ing or toilet papering of the hill which leads traffic from the 56th street entrance all the way up to the school's campus. The senior class of each incoming academic year will gather together with thousands of rolls of toilet paper and decorate the trees which hang over a four-lane road that is Cathedral's entryway.

Initially, when this tradition began, it was not viewed favorably by administrators. Before the campus's reconfiguration, the event was organized as a cloak-and-dagger style bonding opportunity by the senior students themselves. However, since the decorations were viewed by some as vandalism (and following an incident where certain portions of campus property were damaged), it was subsequently banned in an attempt to cease the practice.

The students were not so easily deterred. They continued to engage in this tradition, leading to an effort by the school to bring this annual occurrence under the control of the school itself. Today, it is an evening-long event which includes police escorts, chaperones, and a cook-out. These practices have bred success in allowing students to continue the tradition while keeping its spirit alive from class to class.

The Painting of the Wall

To replace the tradition of the "Painting of the Bridge", after the senior class completes its time at Cathedral, they, as a unit, go out to the softball field, where there is a wall separating the field and the student parking lot. The seniors, as a class, come up with a design to paint on the wall, to leave their mark. After the completion of this mural, each student of the senior class paints their name on the wall, where it remains until the next class follows the same tradition the next year.

The Irish 500

In keeping with the tradition of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race which is run annually in Speedway, Indiana (a city within the city limits of Indianapolis), the student activities committee holds a yearly tricycle race, known as the Irish 500, in the institution's Welch Activity Center gymnasium.

The race and it consists of four qualifying races and one main event. Each grade level fields four teams of four tricycle racers each. Teams of the same class compete against each other in one of the four qualifying races, and a class winner is determined. Once those qualifiers are completed, a representative team from the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior classes all race one another to decide that year's champion of the Irish 500.

This event is intended to be a stress free day where students can celebrate the conclusion of their academic year. Teams often dress up in flamboyant and comedic costumes for competition. A race track is constructed in the gym using trash barrels and strings of checkered flags and is configured to mirror the oval course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Scaffolding is erected for the start/finish line's flag stand, and students are selected to wave the Green, White, and Checkered flags to signify the various stages of the race itself.

Spirit Week and the Spirit Stick

Each year during homecoming week, a series of contests between each of the grade levels makes up the Spirit Week event, culminating in the awarding of the Spirit Stick. The Spirit Stick is given to the class of that year which is deemed to have the most school spirit via a series of competitions which award points for excellence an ingenuity of each contest.

The subject and content of each co-rivalry may vary from year to year, but typically they will include a costume competition (each of the five days of Spirit Week are given a theme, and the students are absolved of their dress-code responsibilities so that they may create the best possible costume on each day) and a hall decorating contest (each grade level is assigned one segment of a hallway in the school, and they are to decorate that hallway one evening before each is judged later that evening).

At the end of the week, a special all-school assembly is held and the Spirit Stick is awarded. Typically, each year's senior class takes home the stick, as they have been a part of the institution the longest and best understand the significance of Spirit Week's zealous competitions. However, there have been a few years where the junior class managed to outperform its higher-ranking senior class to take home the stick, most recently in the 2011-2012 school year. The spirit stick was awarded to the seniors for the 2012-2013 school year

Senior retreat

In keeping with the institution's standing as a Catholic school, the students participate in various levels of spiritual education and exploration throughout their time at Cathedral. During the freshman and sophomore years, pupils participate in the "Freshman Day of Recollection" and the "Sophomore Day of Recollection," respectively. These events are all-day seminars, ran by upper-classmen, and involve various exercises designed to enrich the spirituality and camaraderie between students.

During their junior year, students have the option of continuing their spiritual development by attending the Junior Boys Overnight or Junior Girls Overnight. The overnight includes similar, but more advanced activities in which the students participate during the afternoon, evening, and following morning of the event.

The culmination of the previous three events is the Senior Retreat, a three-day withdrawal from their daily academic duties in order to further study and enrich their spirituality. Students spend each day together, both in a smaller, more personal groups. The retreat is run by faculty members, alumni, parents, and other mentors who share a bond with the Cathedral family. It is during this time that the students are encouraged to open up to one another and share themselves, thereby aiding in the completion of the maturation process as a member of the Catholic faith.

On one of the last nights of the senior retreat, students are given a Kairos retreat cross, that is supposed to remind them to always "Live the Fourth".

Mary sculpture

Mary on the facade of the main building

The sculpture Mary is mounted in a limestone niche on the main school building facade. Created by an unknown artist in 1963, the 60-by-25-by-16-inch (152 cm × 64 cm × 41 cm) statue is painted and appears to be made of concrete. The statue is a full-length robed representation of the Virgin Mary, standing with her hands outstretched with her palms facing upwards. The sculpture was surveyed in 1994 by the Smithsonian's Save Outdoor Sculpture! survey program and its condition was described as needing treatment.[11]

Notable people

See also


  1. "Dear old Cathedral, Here's to you. Here's to your colors gold and blue. We'll cheer you onward, everyone, whether the battles lost or won. So here's to your sons, your fighting team. Let your banners stream. And we will proudly wave them to the sky. As we cheer for Cathedral High."
  2. NCA-CASI. "NCA-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement". Archived from the original on 2009-04-29. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
  3. "Cathedral Awards and Distinctions". Cathedral High School.
  4. "2004 No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools" (PDF). U.S. Department of Education.
  9. "Area hockey clubs decide to combine forces". Current in Carmel. CURRENT IN CARMEL. 11 June 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  10. Save Outdoor Sculptures! (1994). "Mary, (sculpture)". SOS!. Smithsonian. Retrieved 3 November 2010.
  11. Jack Doyle (American football)

External links

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