St. Mary’s Catholic High School Celebrates 100 years

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St Mary’s Catholic High School, the first Catholic high school in Arizona is celebrating its centennial year. Patrick Madigan, director of operations with the school talks about the history of St. Mary’s Catholic High School.

Jose A. Cardenas: We will have you back to talk about it. St. Mary's Catholic High School is the oldest catholic high school in Arizona. This year the school is celebrating a special milestone, 100 years of catholic education. Joining me to education. Joining me to talk about this is Patrick Madigan, director of operations for St. Mary's Catholic High School.

It is a marvelous video. It struck me as not simply being the history of St. Mary but of the valley of Arizona.

Patrick Madigan: You know, we are one of the few institutions that gets to boast 100 years here in our young state and young city.

Jose A. Cardenas: Just as the state has become more diverse so has your student body. Give information about that.

Patrick Madigan: St. Mary's was the first school to fully integrate in the state of Arizona. It has been an amazing history with over 10,000 alumni come through of all races and diversity. The way it has helped transform this city is undeniable. We have prominent business leaders. Politicians, doctors, lawyers. Police officers, firefighters, and we can't go without naming all our professional athletes.

Jose A. Cardenas: The athletics tradition at St. Mary's people talk about.

Patrick Madigan: We have 20 state championships under our belt. Lots of athletes still playing now. Andre, a graduate from the class of 2000 is going to the World Series.

Jose A. Cardenas: Dodgers or Astros?

Patrick Madigan: Dodgers.

Jose A. Cardenas: Let's talk about the role of the orders of the sisters of the pressures blood.

Patrick Madigan: The sisters of the precious blood opened in 1917 from two barrowed classrooms. A year later they were able to open their own building across the street. As time has gone on, they passed the torch over to the Franciscan who helped carry it into the '90s and then the Dominican sisters joined st. Mary's in 2006 as well as some diaustin priests including now our president.

Jose A. Cardenas: The religious are still involved. What impact does that have on the students? It is not limited to catholic kids?

Patrick Madigan: No, it is not. I think it is an incredible witness to the faith and the love of god, the love of doing what is good, the love of what is true and knowing what is true and acting on it. Our sisters, for example, are full white habit and young which is not something most people are used to go. The average age in their mother's house is 28. Vocation is something we talk about all the time with our students. With the formation process and helping them develop who they want to be.

Jose A. Cardenas: We saw a lot of pictures in the video of the original buildings. Talk about 2-3 years ago, or maybe a little bit more, you moved to an impressive new building. We have a picture on the screen while we are talking.

Patrick Madigan: We moved into this building in '88.

Jose A. Cardenas: Oh, that long ago. It is a very modern looking building. How much impact did that have? Before that you were downtown next to the basilica. Downtown has grown and what seemed like a push to the outer city we are still in the heart. What is the size of the student body?

Patrick Madigan: We have approximately 550 students. Diverse population. Almost 75% of our students are from some kind of ethnic minority. It is a great population. They come together under the guidance of the church and school. We are ultimately trying to get our students to heaven.

Jose A. Cardenas: Tell us about the quality of education students receive.

Patrick Madigan: It is incredible. We have some of the best teachers in the state. We work hard to bring them in for a liberal arts curriculum. I am doing checks to make sure the students are fully grasping it and receiving a full education.

Jose A. Cardenas: We talked about this gala celebration. You had a big event last Saturday. Tell us how that went and what else is coming up.

Patrick Madigan: The event was incredible. It was beautiful. We held it down at the Sheraton, which is across the street from our old campus. We had over 600 people in attendance. They are projecting almost raising half a million for the future of our school. It was a great celebration looking back at the last 100 years and helping us prepare in the next 100.

Jose A. Cardenas: You have another event coming up?

Patrick Madigan: Sunday, November 5th, we have our open house and after that one of our last centennial events is our golf tournament December 1st at Orange Tree Golf Club.

Jose A. Cardenas: What does the future hold for Saint Mary’s? Building expansion or anything?

Patrick Madigan: We hope. I know one of the rumblings in the community is another gym. A second gym built on to the first one. We have always talked about a football stadium at some point again bringing that back. But really we just want to focus on our students and make sure we continue to grow and complete our mission every day.

Jose A. Cardenas: It is a great story.

Patrick Madigan: Thank you so much for having me.

Patrick Madigan: St. Mary’s Catholic High School

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