Saint Mary’s Catholic High School was the first and is the oldest Catholic high school in Arizona. Since it was established in 1917, just five years after Arizona became a state, St. Mary’s has been providing a diverse population of students with an excellent Catholic education for over 100 years.
Catholic high schools boast a 99% graduation rate. At Saint Mary’s, students come to be formed in their faith and leave to shape the country as public figures, business leaders, first responders, and civil servants. They leave as faithful servant leaders and with a strong sense of self.
The Early Years
Saint Mary’s Catholic High School was founded by the Sisters of the Precious Blood in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan area in 1917. The school’s first class served five boys and 12 girls at Saint Anthony’s Elementary School before moving to its own one-story home on East Monroe Street in 1920.
A Growing School
Saint Mary’s purchased a city block during the 1930s and constructed a new school to educate the boys displaced by the closure of Brophy High School. In 1958, Saint Mary’s became coeducational again when the girls’ school was condemned to make way for the construction of Civic Plaza. Seven new classrooms were added to the school including a ramada and a library.
Saint Mary’s moved to its existing campus at Third Street and Sheridan in 1988 where existing buildings were renovated and a multi-purpose building was constructed to house administration, classrooms, and a cafeteria. In 2007, new building construction, funder through a grants from the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, was completed and now hosts fine arts classrooms, computer labs, and the 275-seat Wiegand Auditorium.
Saint Mary’s Today
Led by president Father Bolding and principal Kevin Muir, Saint Mary’s is a culturally diverse, centrally-located high school dedicated to forming its nearly 500 enrolled students with a liberal arts education focused on Truth, Beauty, and the Good.
Saint Mary’s has been recognized as a School of Excellence by the Cardinal Newman Society. Students are encouraged to study history and literature in an integrated, seminar-style class and approximately 80% of students are involved in athletics.
On January 6, 2020, St. Mary’s lost a key member of its community, Mrs. Suzanne Fessler. Mrs. Fessler served in the Diocese of Phoenix for 43 years, 35 of them at St. Mary’s in many roles, including teacher and principal. She was beloved and will be well remembered.
Want to learn about how you can make a difference in a student’s Catholic education at Saint Mary’s? Arizona’s private education tax credit allows you to choose what your tax dollars support. To learn more about directing your state taxes to student scholarships, contact Catholic Education Arizona today. Individuals can contribute a portion of their state taxes to scholarships and business owners can benefit from the corporate tax credit while changing lives, one scholarship at a time. Call us to learn how! 602 218-6542 or www.ceaz.org