“Top 50 Catholic High Schools” includes one from Queens — UPDATED

In fact, this building is where I studied for the diaconate —for five years, it was my home away from home.

Congratulations, to Cathedral Preparatory Seminary in Elmhurst, Queens. (Not insignificantly, it also is the last prep seminary of its kind in America.)

From the Cardinal Newman Society: 

Today, September 20, 2012, the winners of the 2012-2013 Catholic High School Honor Roll competition were announced by The Cardinal Newman Society. Since 2004, the Honor Roll has recognized excellence in Catholic identity, academics and civic education at Catholic high schools across the United States.

The top 50 schools are recognized for overall excellence, and other schools receive honors for special recognition in particular categories. This year seven schools were recognized for excellence in Catholic identity, six schools for academics, five schools for civic education, and five schools for two of the three categories.

“Since competition began in 2004, the Honor Roll has been a helpful tool for administrators, families, and benefactors in recognizing the quality of a Catholic high school,” said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society. “The Honor Roll schools are a reminder that Catholic education is getting better every day—not only academically, but in the renewal of Catholic identity—and we are delighted to see the increased level of competition among the schools that participated in the program this year.”

This year’s top 50 Honor Roll schools are diverse: large and small, new and long-established, both highly selective and open enrollment admissions policies, and high and low tuition rates. The common trait is an institutional commitment to providing a truly integrated and faithful Catholic education across all disciplines and in all areas of student activities.

The top 50 schools are located in 21 states, with Pennsylvania having the highest number of honorees with seven schools, followed by Texas with six and Michigan with five.

Archbishop Edward McCarthy High School in Florida is the largest school with 1,489 students. St. Ignatius College Preparatory School and Faustina Academy, both in Texas, are the smallest schools with 48 students each.

Read and more and see complete listing of the honorees here. 

UPDATE:  A reader writes:

This list is just so dubious that I don’t think it should be posted without noting its errors and omissions. How to account for the fact that it lists not a single Jesuit high school (there are more than 50 in the United States) and not a single School of the Sacred Heart (there are somewhere around 20)?  The very networks that have led Catholic secondary education for about 150 years or more? Their complete absence from any list that purports to identify or honor Catholic High schools can’t be regarded as anything but a glaring error. It does a disservice to readers and to Catholic education, both, to post such a list without questions or context. And it merits pointing out the curious, unexplained, and perhaps inexplicable oversights in this list. I’m really pretty stunned by how specious it is.

Those who are familiar with the Cardinal Newman Society know that the organization acts as a kind of watchdog for orthodoxy. They have a distinct purpose, which is the renewal of education with a strong Catholic identiy. As noted on their website:

Today’s Catholic university or college certainly can be authentically Catholic. However, the Catholic identity of many Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States has become increasingly clouded and the essential elements of Catholic education have been discarded for the sake of a mistaken notion of academic freedom. Many Catholic colleges and universities have pursued a secular model as the university ideal to a point where their own Catholic identity and mission within the Church is no longer clear.

Our patron, John Henry Cardinal Newman, was a great defender of the principle that the academic nature of a university is strengthened by a strong Catholic foundation and adherence to the teachings of the Church. His Holiness Pope John Paul II further developed this message in 1990 in his Apostolic Constitution on Catholic higher education, Ex corde Ecclesiae (From the Heart of the Church).

Among other things, the Newman Society monitors Catholic colleges and universities for “scandalous commencement speakers” and publishes a guide (with a forward by Fr. Benedict Groeschel) to selecting a good Catholic college.

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