On May 14, 2021, St. John Paul II Catholic High School celebrated big by graduating its first group of seniors, 37 students who all started their high school careers in other schools but came together and will make history as the first Class of 2021 at St. JPII.
In 2015, a new high school in the west valley was an idea, a sketch on a page, an empty plot of land next to St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and School. Long-time former pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas, Fr. Kieran Kleczewski (dec. 2020), had a vision for a high school in the west valley on that land and never stopped pushing until ground broke.
In 2016, Bishop Olmsted invited three Sisters from the order of the Nashville Dominicans to develop and open the new high school. When Sister Mary Jordan, Sister Mary Brigid, and Sister Mary Gertrude arrived in Phoenix, they began with a blank slate. The building, the curriculum, and the vision were created over the course of a year and a half in partnership with committees and leaders in the Diocese of Phoenix, and freshmen and sophomores were welcomed in August 2018.
In just three years of operation, St. JPII has produced Shakespeare plays, AP Scholars, a National Honor Society, and athletic championships. The school, led by principal Sister Mary Jordan Hoover, is dedicated to building community, leadership, and service through their House program, and boast a 100% graduation rate with 100% of their graduates moving on to higher education or the military. The mission of St. John Paul II Catholic High School is to provide an educational environment that promotes a personal encounter with Jesus Christ through prayer, study, community, and service as disciples.
President and CEO of Catholic Education Arizona, Nancy Padberg, attended the historic graduation which was held in the church at St. Thomas Aquinas. Nancy shared, “I was moved to tears of joy watching the graduates and families achieve the first step of their dreams.” Catholic Education Arizona has been a significant contributor to students at St. John Paul II Catholic High School, and the partnership between Catholic Education Arizona and St. JPII will only continue to grow each year. Catholic Education Arizona is proud to contribute to the legacy of St. John Paul II Catholic High School and a future of excellence built by the Nashville Dominicans.
To learn more about St. John Paul II Catholic High School, visit https://www.jp2catholic.org.