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Catholic Central - An Historical Sketch

Most private institutions have sprung from rather humble beginnings. Catholic Central is no exception. In May, 1928, Monsignor Van Antwerp, the Vicar-General of the Diocese of Detroit and pastor of Holy Rosary Church on Woodward Avenue, made known his plan to convert his parochial high school on Harper Avenue near Woodward into a boys high school. He requested the Basilian Fathers to take over the management of the school and to staff it. When the bell sounded for the first class in early September, 1928, there were 260 students at their desks ready to begin the school year. Although Holy Rosary school no longer exists, the Church where Catholic Central had its beginnings still stands proudly on Woodward Avenue. Atop this Church is a remarkable statue of Our Lady. Mary has been and continues to be the principal patron of Catholic Central. Such patronage, perhaps stronger than it has ever been, can be traced back to Catholic Central's earliest days when it was located in the parish church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.

The school remained on Harper Avenue until 1934. During the last two years that the school was located on that site, the Basilians agreed to take charge of Holy Name Institute as well. This latter school was located in the parish church of the Cathedral of Blessed Sacrament, also on Woodward Avenue. In 1934, it became necessary for the Basilians to find a new home for the school. A new pastor at Holy Rosary intended to reclaim his school as a parish school. At the invitation of Fr. Connolly, pastor of Blessed Sacrament, the Harper Avenue school and Holy Name Institute were amalgamated in 1934. The "new" school took the name "Catholic Central High School." The building which housed Holy Name Institute was completely renovated and an additional story was added. The capacity of the school was doubled by that addition. It now had nine classrooms, a laboratory, a library, an office and a gymnasium.

By 1937, the demand for admission to Catholic Central became so great that the facility had to be altered. In desperation, that section of the building which had been erected as a gymnasium three years before, was converted into seven additional classrooms. During the next three years, the enrollment continued to grow until the building was again crowded. As the school grew in size and its program expanded, it became evident that a new site for Catholic Central had to be found. The Administration looked to the northwest section of Detroit since a great number of students came from that area. On October 1, 1943, a seventeen acre tract of land on the corner of Hubbell and West Outer Drive was purchased for the future facility. It would take another seven years before the decision to build on the new site was agreed upon. Catholic Central High School, at the famous 6565 West Outer Drive address, opened on September 17, 1951, with the first phase of its building plans completed. The new facility housed more than 800 students. Within ten years, Fr.Wilfrid Kehoe, the Principal in 1961, was able to complete the facility as it had been planned. There Catholic Central remained until 1978. In early 1978, the Detroit Public School system was greatly in need of a facility to expand its operation in northwest Detroit. It prevailed upon the Basilian Fathers to consider relocating Catholic Central. That same year, Catholic Central moved to its fourth location in Redford Township, to meet the increasing demand for admissions. It leased from the Redford School District an empty middle school which had been named in honor of General George C. Marshall. Adapting a middle school to the needs of a senior high school was a challenge. However, that challenge was met and school opened that year on August 2, 1978 with an enrollment of 1,021 students.

The "temporary" location in Redford lasted for 28 years.  By 2005, the school-age population in the first ring of suburbs was dwindling and more than 80% of students were commuting from long distances west of Breakfast Drive.  Leaving that location with less than 900 students, the present school on Wixom Road in Novi was opened on August 15, 2005.  The 60-acre campus and the striking new edifice were the result of visionary leadership and generous donations by alumni and friends of CC. In the first two years, the student population has again exceeded 1,000 students.
Catholic Central continues a long tradition as a solid college preparatory high school in which traditional values are maintained and upheld. These values are supported by a fidelity to the Catholic Faith which reinforced the decision to found Catholic Central in 1928 and which gives it its strength as it continues its mission of educating the young men of the Archdiocese of Detroit in "Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge."

Our Mission Statement

Catholic Central High School recognizes parents to be the primary educators of their children and collaborates with them in helping their children to learn and grow in the Catholic faith. We provide a safe and challenging environment where mutual respect and high expectations are maintained through the active engagement of students in the learning process. The young men of Catholic Central learn holistically the ideals of the Basilian Fathers – goodness, discipline, and knowledge – so that they may become productive members of the Church and society.


Mary, Alma Mater, 
your sons of Central honor, 
and trusting in your goodness, 
we hopefully implore
that by your grace
we may everyday
prove that we are men of
Mary, Alma Mater.
Inspire us evermore.

Mary, Alma Mater, 
your sons of Central honor, 
and proudly wear your colors, 
the Royal Blue and White. 
May valiant Blue
and peerless White
teach us to be men of
Mary, Alma Mater.
Inspire us evermore.

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At A Glance

List of 16 items.

  • Type of School

    Private College Preparatory School for boys (9-12) which was established in 1928 by the Basilian Fathers
  • Administration

    Principal: Rev. Patrick Fulton, C.S.B.
    Dean of Students: Mr. Mitchell Hancock '00
    Assistant Principal: Mr. David Lewis '79
    Athletic Director: Mr. Aaron Babicz '93
  • Accreditation

    North Central Association
  • Facilities

    The current campus opened in 2005. Situated on 113 acres of wooded land in the City of Novi, the school has a laboratory for each scientific discipline, plus one computer lab, a Cinema Production Lab, an Engineering Lab, a Robotics Center, and a Learning Strategies Center. Wi-Fi access exists throughout the building. There are two gymnasiums, a 4,500 seat athletic stadium with an advanced turf system and several practice fields. Every classroom has substantial access to various modern instructional resources using technology to complement and enhance the student experience.
  • Media Center

    The Media Center provides an enormous array of print resources and audio visuals. Digitized databases, newspapers, periodicals, and journals support the entire curriculum, including non-eText Book Digital Curriculum Syllabi. Access to the digital collections is available 24/7 to students, faculty, staff and alumni.
  • Admissions

    Competitive, based upon testing (High School Placement Test), personal interview, prior academic record and references.
  • Size

    Approximately 1025 Students
    Student/Teacher Ratio: 16:1
    Senior Class: 252
  • Faculty

    Basilian Fathers: 9 Lay Faculty: 68
  • Guidance Department

    Ms. Shawn Mather – Director of Guidance
    Mr. Alan Barker – Counselor
    Mrs. Kimberly Bennett – Counselor
    Mrs. Ashley Diehl –Counselor
    Mr. Patrick O’Brien –Counselor

    Student/Counselor Ratio: 235:1
  • Graduation Requirements

    24 Credits are required:

    Theology.................................4
    English....................................4
    Mathematics..........................4
    Science ...................................3
    Social Studies .........................3
    Foreign Language...................2
    Health & Physical Ed ..............1
    Visual/Performing Arts...........1
    Electives.................................2
  • Academic Honors

    Gabriel Richard Club: 3.6 G.P.A. in academic subjects – no grade below “B” in academic subjects. National Honor Society: 3.5 G.P.A., Junior or Senior standing and recommendations. Honor Roll: 3.0 G.P.A. in academic subjects – no grade below “C” in academic subjects.
  • National Merit 2011-2017

    51 National Merit Finalists
    2 National Achievement Finalists
    63 National Letters of Commendation
      3 National Hispanic Scholar
  • Advanced Placement Courses

    • European History
    • English Composition
    • Chemistry 
    • Calculus AB
    • Spanish Language
    • American History
    • English Literature
    • Biology
    • Calculus BC
    • Latin Language
    • American Gov’t
    • Computer Science
    • Statistics
    • French Language
  • Advanced Placement 289 Students

    A.P. Grades: 5 – 64, 4 – 112, 3 – 179, 2 – 139, 1 – 46

    Percent of current year with scores of 3 or higher: 66%
  • Activities/Clubs

    Academic Team, Archery, Art Club, Backpacking Club, Boardercross, Broadcast Club, Chess Club, Chinese Club, Computer Programming Club, DECA, Digital Photography Club, Drama Club, Euchre Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Finance Club, French Club, Guitar Club, HOSA, Intramural Sports (Flag Football, Basketball, Cross Country), Irish Heritage Club, Latin Club, Mock Trial, Monogram Club, Mountain Biking Club, National Honor Society, Newspaper, Paintball, Peru Mission Trip, Right to Life, Robotics, Rugby Club, Science Club, Shamrock STEM Club, Shamrocks for Veterans, Shamrock Voice, Shotgun Club, Spanish Club, Spanish Honor Society, Student Government, SWAT (Students Working to Advance Technology,) Yearbook
  • Sports

    Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Hockey, Lacrosse, Skiing, Soccer, Swimming & Diving, Tennis, Track & Field, Wrestling. Member of Detroit Catholic League Central Division

College Matriculation

Albion College
*Boston College
*Brown University
Butler University
Calvin College
Central Michigan
Clemson University
*Cornell University
DePaul University
Eastern Michigan
Florida State University
Franciscan University
*Georgetown University
*Georgia Tech
Grand Valley State
Hillsdale College
Hope College
Indiana University
Kettering University
Lawrence Tech
Loyola University, (IL)
Madonna University
Marquette University
*M.I.T.
Miami University, (OH)
Michigan State
Michigan Tech
*New York University
Northern Michigan
*Northwestern University
Northwood University
Oakland University
*Penn State University
*Pepperdine University
Purdue University
Saginaw Valley State
Schoolcraft College
*Stanford University
Syracuse University
Texas A&M
The Ohio State
University of Alabama
*University of Chicago
University of Cincinnati
University of Colorado
University of Dayton
University of Detroit Mercy
*University of Michigan
U of M-Dearborn
*University of Notre Dame
*University of Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh
*University of Southern Callifornia
University of Toledo
University of Toronto
*University of Wisconsin
U.S. Air Force Academy
U.S. Military Academy
U.S. Naval Academy
*Vanderbilt University
*Villanova University
Wayne State University
Western Michigan

*Ranked in the Top 50 Best Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report (2017)

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“Teach Me Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge” is the motto of the Basilian Fathers and the sacred mission of Catholic Central High School. For ninety years, the graduates of Catholic Central have made a positive impact locally, nationally, and around the world.