A Brief History of Cardinal Newman High School
Cardinal Newman High School began as an idea to match a need, the need to provide a Catholic high school for boys in Santa Rosa, the growing center of Sonoma County. Long time established Ursuline High School for girls had moved from the downtown to alongside Mark West Springs Road in the mid 50’s and was expanding; parents began to lobby for a school for their sons too. Bishop Leo Maher, head of the recently established Diocese of Santa Rosa, February 1962, supported the idea and began the school by setting up a lay Board to plan the site and by recruiting a teaching order. In the school shield, the three parts of this beginning can be seen: Saint John Henry Newman, the 19th century English academic and social justice promoter, founder of the Oxford Movement, a convert to Catholicism, writer and teacher, minister and priest, known as one of the great minds of his time, sits in the bottom trident; the left side bears the symbol of the Diocese, a Cross of Roses, with a crescent moon, for the Valley of the Moon; the right side has the spilling Chalice with Grapes for the Society of the Precious Blood, the founding teaching order from Ohio. From this beginning, the school opened on September 8th, 1964 for the new 9th graders, the class of ’68, in the recently completed quad classrooms of Ursuline, while work began on the Hofer property, 32 acres next door. The following year, sophomores and freshmen came to attend the newly built school, designed and built by local Catholics. As a time of great change in the Church, with Vatican II having opened a refreshing of the faith, the new Cardinal Newman High School stood out as part of the ecumenical outreach of the Church and a place for students to grow in faith, academics, service, and community. The enthusiasm for the new school led to a solid enrollment from the beginning and a reputation of excellence soon developed. Catholics from throughout Sonoma County came, even some from beyond; students of other Christian denominations and Faiths also were attracted by a school that could teach theology, discuss beliefs, and share faith experiences. Over Fifty years later, that remains core to the school’s mission.