When searching for the name of a new Catholic high school scheduled to open in September, 1930, it was only natural to think of Pope Pius XI, a scholar who championed the cause of Christian education and who had just celebrated his Golden Jubilee in the priesthood.
Pius XI Catholic High School was founded to honor this great leader, and our sports teams have been called the “Popes” in honor of the school’s namesake ever since.
Pope Pius XI was a man of simple character and strong integrity. Ever a scholar, he was also a firm believer in physical exercise and was an excellent mountain climber.
Pius XI’s 17 years as pope are distinguished by achieving peace and reordering the Catholic Church. He improved the Church’s international relations, gave vigor to foreign missions, and signed the Lateran Treaty establishing the present Vatican City.
Pope Pius XI also authored many encyclicals including “Divini Illus Magistri,” which laid the foundation for a truly Christian theory of education.
A School With A Proud Past
“What greater work is there than
training the minds and forming the
habits of the young.”
- Pope Pius XI
Under the direction of the Pallottine Fathers and the School Sisters of St. Francis, Pius XI Catholic High School had its beginnings in September 1929 in three improvised classrooms above the old St. Anthony of Padua Church.
In 1930, the building – which today serves as St. Vincent Pallotti grade school immediately to the North of Pius XI’s present location – opened its doors to 35 students.
Only the first three years of high school curriculum were offered until 1937. (Seniors spent their last year at Messmer, Mercy or Juneau High School.)
On June 7, 1937, the University of Wisconsin placed Pius XI on the accredited list of state high schools. The charter class of eight seniors was graduated on June 13, 1937. Further accreditation was given to Pius XI in April of 1953 when the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools added Pius XI to their list of accredited high schools.
Pius XI Catholic High School exists to prepare a diverse community of students to achieve their unique and highest potential. Guided by our Franciscan values of dignity, peace, and respect, we nurture students to excel academically, develop moral courage, and live lives of faith and service.