History & Philosophy
Oakland Catholic High School dedicates itself to providing a value-oriented, college preparatory education for young women in an atmosphere that regards the Roman Catholic Churchʼs values as catalysts for action. We serve several constituencies: The Bishop and Diocese of Pittsburgh, students and parents, and the broader community. We hold ourself and our students accountable for the development of healthy, creative, and expressive women who are encouraged to use their God-given talents in pursuits that satisfy personal and communal needs. Aware of the dignity of the students in our care, we fulfill our mission by developing their spiritual, intellectual, and personal potential.
Set in the heart of the cityʼs academic, cultural and healing center, Oakland Catholic offers students unique opportunities at neighboring institutions. We offer a variety of courses that challenge each student to achieve her fullest potential. We develop the analytical and independent thinking skills that are needed for a lifetime of learning. We teach decision-making grounded in morality. We promote a respect for God, self, and others through retreats, liturgy, prayer, and service opportunities.
Founded in 1989, Oakland Catholic was established upon the closing of St. Paul Cathedral High School and Sacred Heart High School, two parish schools with long histories of educating Pittsburgh’s young women in the Catholic tradition. For decades, Oakland Catholic has continued this tradition as the region’s first and only all-girls diocesan high school, providing a strong foundation in the pillars of spirituality, scholarship, and service.
Since its inception, our campus has changed dramatically, following a trajectory similar to the school it houses: constantly improving while maintaining its roots. In 2001, President Emerita Mrs. Katherine D. Freyvogel and the school's Board of Directors committed to constructing facilities as impressive as the school's performance.
With the support and effort of our families, alumnae, and benefactors, Oakland Catholic has celebrated numerous campus additions and renovations over the last two decades.
The Donahue Pavilion introduced our Eagles to their new competition gym and athletic facilities in 2003. A dining hall overhaul, kiln-equipped art studio, and science labs followed. The Rhodora J. Donahue Chapel in Honor of Saint Joan of Arc followed in 2008, as did the Academic Resource Center, lecture hall, seminar rooms, counseling space, and modernized classrooms. Infrastructure for wireless technology and audio video capability laid the groundwork for today’s 1:1 laptop program for students and the progressive, interactive HD projection available in the classrooms.
In 2013, the dedication of the renovation of the beautiful and historic Joan of Arc Building, including the Joan of Arc Theatre, marked the completion of these large-scale campus renovations. With each dedication, the Oakland Catholic community was infused with the renewed vitality of the 100+ year old campus.
Consistently named one of the top 50 Catholic high schools in the nation by The Cardinal Newman Society, with even higher rankings for academic excellence, Oakland Catholic challenges its students with a rigorous curriculum taught by faculty members who are experts in their fields. Students experiment in state-of-the-art facilities such as the John McGonigle Innovation Lab and our kiln-equipped ceramics studio. Each year, our senior class earns millions in scholarships to colleges and universities around the nation, with virtually 100% of graduates attending post-secondary institutions. Offering an extensive list of sports, clubs & activities, the school also fosters social, physical and leadership development.
Oakland Catholic has graduated over 4,000 women who are part of a 10,000-strong sister alumnae network encompassing Our Lady of Mercy Academy, Sacred Heart High School, and St. Paul Cathedral High School. Our alumnae live and work in various cities throughout the country and around the world. They have achieved success in numerous fields including medicine, education, law, engineering, and entertainment among many others, and they impact their communities through leadership, outreach, and service. Oakland Catholic alumnae are a testament to the quality of education and countless opportunities that Oakland Catholic High School provides - proof that this is truly a place where Futures Begin.
Rhodora J. Donahue Chapel in Honor of St. Joan of Arc
After more than four years of careful planning and with a generous donation, Oakland Catholic installed stained glass windows in the Rhodora J. Donahue Chapel in Honor of St. Joan of Arc. The windows, which feature representations of the Holy Spirit and the Risen Christ, also showcase more than a dozen inspirational, extraordinary women canonized by the Catholic Church.
“We chose to represent these particular saints and holy women for their faith, honor, selflessness and courage as well as their academic gifts.” - Mary Claire Kasunic, President of Oakland Catholic
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