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Catholic High School

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First day of school-getting ready in homeoroom

A Rich History----Establishment in 1848

St Mary's Academy and Orphan Asylum

Photo courtesy of Sargeant Memorial Collection,
Norfolk Public Library

Catholic High School has had a long and illustrious history spanning nearly two centuries. In 1848, Father Alexander Hitzelberger, pastor of Norfolk’s first Catholic Church, St. Patrick, and lay person Anne Plume Behan Herron established Saint Mary’s Orphan Asylum and Academy. The school was intended “for the poorest of the poor,” but the educational needs of students from working class families were also addressed. St. Mary’s Academy formally opened its doors to 45 orphans and 116 tuition-paying students. Its mission of offering a quality secondary Catholic education to Norfolk students continued until its closure in the late 1940s.

Granby Street, Norfolk, 1950-1993

Norfolk Catholic High School

Bishop Peter Ireton saw the need for a centrally located high school serving Norfolk’s Catholic community and established Norfolk Catholic High School in 1949. The school prospered and enrollment grew to more than 800 students by 1970.




Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach, Fall of 1993-Present

Catholic High School

In 1992, Bishop Walter Sullivan, responding to the growing Catholic population shift away from Norfolk to the cities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, approved a plan to relocate the former Norfolk Catholic to a 37-acre campus on Princess Anne Road. In the fall of 1993, the school opened as Catholic High School and continued the mission of educating Catholic young men and women.

Today, Catholic High School maintains its ties to the past, celebrates the present, and prepares for the future through its fidelity to the Gospel message.