Catholic Schools: 75 Years of Educating, Inspiring and Proclaiming

By Dr. Daryl Hagan

Diocesan Superintendent of Schools

Special to The Message

75th Anniversary Reflection

According to the 1946 Yearbook, the Diocese of Evansville included 43 Catholic elementary (parish) schools and five Catholic high schools [Reitz Memorial (Evansville), Immaculate Conception Academy (Ferdinand), St. John the Evangelist (Loogootee), St. Simon (Washington), and St. Rose Academy (Vincennes)]. Enrollment within the 48 Catholic schools topped 9,552 students.

Seventy-five years later, the landscape for Catholic schools – while still strong and vibrant – includes 22 Catholic elementary (parish and multi-parish) schools and four Catholic high schools [Reitz Memorial (Evansville), Mater Dei (Evansville), Washington Catholic (Washington) and Rivet High School (Vincennes)]. Enrollment within the 26 Catholic schools reaches nearly 7,000 students.

While the exterior of many of the school buildings may not have changed, what happens inside the buildings regarding academics is quite different. Our Catholic school students are being educated utilizing 21st-century tools such as Chromebooks, smartboards, 3-D printers, apps, Google Classroom, etc. The classroom itself has been transformed into a learning environment that includes flexible seating, stages, charging stations, large and small group areas, and student desks that you can write on and not get a demerit.

What hasn’t changed over the last 75 years is how our schools are centered in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Yesterday, today and forever, our Catholic schools are rooted in the conviction that Jesus Christ provides the most comprehensive and compelling example of the realization of full human potential. In every aspect of programs, life and activities, Catholic schools foster a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and communal witness to the Gospel message of love of God and neighbor and service to the world (NSBECS, 2012).

For more information about Catholic schools, please visit or follow us on twitter @evdioCatholicschools and on Facebook @DioceseofEvansvilleCatholicSchools.

Dr. Hagan is Diocesan Superintendent of Schools.