Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Students: 850 young men
Faculty & Staff: 80
Shortly after the Most Reverend Hugh C. Boyle was ordained a Bishop, he began a secondary school expansion program in Pittsburgh. To support the development of centralized, well-equipped high schools, the Bishop organized a campaign in 1923 to raise funds. The first fruit of the campaign was the construction of Central District Catholic High School and faculty house in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh.
The new high school was dedicated by Bishop Boyle on September 11, 1927. On the following day, 488 boys from 42 parishes in the central section of the city registered in the ninth grade. On the original faculty were fourteen Christian Brothers. In the 1950s, enrollment reached a peak of 1,800.
In 1978, Alumni Hall was opened. The building provided long-needed, expanded facilities for the school’s physical education, intramural, and athletic programs. Academic facilities were upgraded with state-of-the-art biology, physics, and chemistry laboratories. In 2000, the Blue & Gold capital campaign was established to renovate the athletic field, the old gym, and Alumni Hall. The campaign also provided a synthetic grass field to accommodate year-round usage. The remodeled old gym now includes Coaches’ Pavilion, a fitness complex, and the Peter J. Spadaro Performing Arts Center, accommodating the music and drama programs.
75 years later, in 2003, the building’s center tower was replaced. The former art and music area was renovated to house the Donahue Family Center for Excellence. This facility contains five rooms housing the Brother David Baginski, FSC Scholars Center, the Academic Discovery Program, the Writing Center, and the Technology Office. A new walkway in front of the building allows natural light into these rooms. In the spring and summer of 2005, the auditorium underwent a $1.8-million renovation and restoration, the generous gift of John ’56 & Mary Ita McGonigle and their sons, Kevin ’82 and Michael ’85. The newly renovated Clifford E. Brown Library, a state-of-the-art facility, opened in 2008 and allows students great opportunities for research and learning.
The school is in the center of the educational and cultural district of Pittsburgh, within walking distance of the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie-Mellon University, and The Carnegie. The student body reflects the rich ethnic, cultural, and racial diversity of the Pittsburgh area, with students coming from the City and surrounding suburbs, representing more than 115 grade schools and 100 parishes. Current enrollment is approximately 850 students.
The David S. Baginski, FSC Scholars Program is an interdisciplinary program that provides an exciting opportunity for highly motivated and independent students to do critical inquiry and discovery in the social sciences, humanities, and the sciences. The program brings together Central Catholic faculty, visiting scholars, and public leaders with expertise in a variety of academic and civic areas. At the broadest level, our goal is to facilitate understanding of the interdisciplinary and integrated aspects of learning, bringing an ethical and progressive perspective to bear on customary academic disciplines.
The Scholars Program, embodied by three related concepts – scholarship, citizenship, and discipleship, fosters an active intellectual community of students who are challenged to think critically about pertinent questions. One of the most ancient and enduring questions is: What does it mean to live a just and happy life? Students pursue an understanding of the perennial issues that have preoccupied humanity including the origin and destiny of our lives, an ethical civilization, and the significance of the past. Students engage a distinctive way of learning that leads them to see and understand in fresh ways our changing world, making connections across traditional academic disciplines, to notice what has been valued and what has been neglected, to challenge their own assumptions and conclusions, and to celebrate what can be learned from people different from themselves.
Scholars are expected to pursue Honors level courses in all academic areas, with a particular focus on their intellectual abilities and interests. They are required to successfully complete 15 credits of Honors level courses by graduation. Sophomores participate in the Sophomore Colloquia, a series of one-day sessions on different topics. In the junior year, students take the Junior Seminar course, an intense study of problems and ideas found in Western and Eastern texts, with much emphasis on reading, thinking, speaking, and writing.