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Providence Catholic High School (often referred to as Providence, Provi, or abbreviated PCHS) is a Roman Catholic secondary school located in New Lenox, Illinois. Located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet, Providence Catholic is a private school run by the Order of Saint Augustine and is a member of the Augustinian Secondary Education Association..

Providence Catholic High School
1800 West Lincoln Highway


United States
Coordinates41°31′15″N 88°00′01″W / 41.5209°N 88.0002°W / 41.5209; -88.0002Coordinates: 41°31′15″N 88°00′01″W / 41.5209°N 88.0002°W / 41.5209; -88.0002
Typeprivate secondary
MottoTruth ... Unity... Love
DenominationRoman Catholic
Opened1962 (current building)
AuthorityDiocese of Joliet
OversightOrder of Saint Augustine
PresidentFr. John Merkelis, OSA
PrincipalDr. John Harper
Teaching staff63
Enrollment1,040 (2016-2017
Average class size23
Campus size75 Acres
Campus typesuburban
Color(s)     kelly green
SloganJesus Christ is the reason for our School
Athletics conferenceChicago Catholic League
MascotCharlie Celtic
Team nameCeltics
AccreditationNorth Central Association of Colleges and Schools[1]

Located on Lincoln Highway (also part of U.S. Highway 30), it is known as one of the few Catholic schools in Illinois that has a self–imposed enrollment limit.


Providence Catholic High School began as St. Mary Academy for Girls, a commercial school in Joliet, Illinois run by the Sisters of Loretto. The school opened in 1880, though the original building was not opened until 1883. Eventually, academic classes were added.[2]

In 1918, the Archdiocese of Chicago invited the Sisters of Providence to take over the school. On October 22 of that year, the school's name was changed to Providence High School. In 1931, the academic classes were stopped as the Great Depression took its toll on the school. In 1932, the school reverted to a two-year commercial school. A four-year secretarial program opened in 1938. Though the academic courses were reinstated after the Depression, the school building was condemned as a fire hazard in 1959 and demolished. From 1959 through 1962, the school met at St. Mary Nativity Church's parish school.[2] A popular story in the school community is that students would visit the site of the demolished school and scavenge undamaged bricks to sell in order to raise funds for a new school which was already in development.[3]

In 1962, the modern Providence High School was opened. The most obvious change was location: the school had left Joliet and was now located a few miles to the east in New Lenox. The other major change was the shift to a coed school. Though Providence was a relatively new school, the community of New Lenox was not heavily populated then. Enrollment dropped, and the school began suffering financially. Father Roger Kaffer (later Bishop Kaffer) was named the new principal and arrived in 1970. He began a campaign to improve the academic standing of the school and the transportation options for students traveling great distances. It was his practice to visit every family that had a child enrolled in the school. The 1971 enrollment was 490; by 1975, it had reached 785. Growth during the late 1970s and early 1980s made additions to the school building necessary.[3]

The Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel, the Midwest U.S. province of the Order of Saint Augustine, was invited by the diocese to take control of the school after the 1984–85 school year. A college preparatory curriculum was added, as was a refocus on the spiritual mission of the school. The religious studies course work was upgraded, and a retreat program was begun. The name of the school was changed to "Providence Catholic High School" in 1985 to reflect these changes. In 1998, the school decided to limit enrollment in order to retain a more personal atmosphere with students. Since 1998, the enrollment has hovered between 1,000 and 1,200.[3]


Student lifeEdit


The school's band was involved in five national competitions centered around the annual Outback Bowl. In 2010 the concert and jazz bands each earned first place awards, and finished second in the parade and field show competitions.[5]


The Providence Celtics compete in two conferences. Men's teams compete in the Chicago Catholic League (CCL), while the women compete in the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference (GCAC). Providence competes in state tournaments sponsored by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA).

The school sponsors teams for men and women in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. Men may also compete in baseball, bowling, football, lacrosse and wrestling. Women may compete in cheerleading, dance and softball. In 2016, the hockey team won their second Kennedy Cup against rival Benet Academy.[6] In 2017, the Skating Celtics won their 3rd Kennedy Cup against Fenwick 6-2 in game 2 of the best of 3 final. In the 2017 Kennedy Cup playoffs, the Providence Varsity did not lose a game, going 6-0, sweeping the opening, semi-final, and final series in the prestigious 6 team tournament. The Providence Catholic Baseball team won a state championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016 bringing the high school a record 30 state championships. No other private High School in Illinois has more.

The following teams have finished in the top four of their respective state tournament sponsored by the IHSA. Top four finishes and state titles:[7]

  • baseball: 2nd Place (2010–11); State Champions (1977–78, 1981–82, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015-16) At the end of the 2015-16 baseball season, they became the first team in the state of Illinois to win three state championships in a row.
  • basketball (boys): 3rd place (1977–78); State Champions (1978–79)
  • cheerleading: 3rd place (2010-2011, 2013–14); 2nd place (2006–07, 2015–16); State Champions (2012–13)
  • golf (girls): 4th place (1989–90, 1990–91)
  • Ice hockey: Varsity: White division State Champions 2009, Kennedy Cup champions 2014, 2016, and 2017, 2014 Final Four Red division, National Championship finalists 2014, state second place red division 2016, state second place 2017

Junior Varsity: Kennedy Cup Champions 2010-11, 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018 State Champions 2010-2011, 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016-2017

  • Pom-Poms: 3rd Place (2013–14)
  • soccer (boys): 2nd place (2002–03)
  • softball (girls): 3rd place (2011-2012)
  • track & field (boys): 2nd place (2012–13)
  • track & field (girls): 4th place (1981–82); 3rd place (1979–80); 2nd place (1980–81); State Champions (1977–78)
  • volleyball (boys): 4th place (2007–08)
  • volleyball (girls): 3rd place (1988–89)
  • golf (boys): 4th place (2014–15)
  • wrestling (boys):4th place (2015-2016) 3rd place (1976-1977, 1986-1987, 1992-1993, 1993-1994, 1995-1996,2017-2018) 2nd place (1979-1980, 1980-1981, 1987-1988, 1989-1990, 2002-2003, 2003-2004, 2007-2008); State Champions (1977-1978, 1980-1981, 1987-1988, 1988-1989, 1996-1997, 1997-1998, 1998-1999, 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002)
  • football (boys): 2nd place (1998, 2000, 2010); State Champions (1987, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2014)

Providence Catholic Children's AcademyEdit

The school also houses the Providence Catholic Children's Academy, which is for ages 3–5. Three- and four-year-olds may partake in half-day preschool classes, while five-year-olds may take full-day kindergarten.[8]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ NCA-CASI. "NCA-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement". Archived from the original on 2009-09-23. Retrieved 2009-07-28. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ a b "Illinois High School Glory Days web site". Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Providence Catholic High School web site". Archived from the original on November 19, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ AP courses offered Archived June 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Martin, Elisabeth (3 January 2010), "Providence cleans up during Outback Bowl trip", SouthtownStar, retrieved 4 January 2010[dead link]
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-03-10. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ IHSA record page for Providence Catholic HS Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ PCCA home page Archived September 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Pete Bercich stats & bio Archived April 11, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Brad Guzan biography @ Chivas, USA website Archived August 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Carmen Pignatiello bio & stats
  12. ^ Bryan Rekar stats and bio Archived November 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Eric Steinbach's stats & bio Archived June 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit