Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix announced the decision to establish a new Catholic high school in the far west Valley. The new school will be named Saint John Paul II Catholic High School and will be located on property currently owned by the Diocese of Phoenix, located near Thomas and Litchfield Roads, adjacent to St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Avondale.
“To build a Catholic high school in the far west valley, the most rapidly growing area of our state, is a clear statement about the importance of young Catholics in the Church’s life and mission today,” said Bishop Olmsted. “I am delighted that our people know this and are ready to make the sacrifices required to prepare our youth for their unique and vital mission in society, as friends and witnesses of Jesus Christ.”
The target startup date for the school will be the fall of 2018. Fundraising for the school will begin in the near future and be part of comprehensive Diocesan-wide campaign that will unfold over the next five years. Costs associated with establishing the new Catholic high school will be released at that time.
A yearlong feasibility study confirmed the need and community support for a new Catholic high school in the region. The West Valley has experienced high growth in recent years and is projected to continue for the next decade. Two nearby Catholic schools, St. John Vianney and St. Thomas Aquinas, continue to experience growth in enrollment. Religious education and youth programs at both parishes are at record-high numbers.
The Diocese of Phoenix is grateful for all who participated in the feasibility study and consultation and looks forward to providing young people in the far west Valley with education rooted in the Catholic faith.
“Our schools provide a rich Catholic culture and environment which fosters students learning in their faith and academics, as well as offering students a wide variety of service activities,” said MaryBeth Mueller, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Phoenix. “We are excited to offer this new high school that will assist in the formation of students who will be disciples in this world and enrich society with the leaven of the Gospel.”
Notre Dame Preparatory High School in Scottsdale was the last diocesan Catholic high school to open. It was established in 2002 and is amid a three-phase Strategic Master Plan to add a sports complex and arts center.
More than 14,000 students currently attend one of the Diocese of Phoenix’s six high schools, 28 Catholic elementary schools and 28 preschools. They receive a rigorous, faith-filled education that prepares them for the challenges of higher education and a competitive world. An estimated 99 percent of students graduate from high school; 97 percent go on to attend college.