The History of Catholic Education in Bloomington-Normal
St Joseph’s Academy
Education began to be offered in Bloomington in the 1840’s and private/parochial schools followed suit with an all-boys’ school in 1858 along with St. Joseph’s Academy for girls in 1863. St. Joseph’s Academy was opened in 1864 at the request of Holy Trinity Parish pastor Rev. Thomas Kennedy, who invited the Sisters of St. Joseph from Carondelet, Missouri to educate the girls who would be attending the school. The building itself was located at the southeast corner of Chestnut and Center Streets, right next to where Holy Trinity Church is today. Both day and boarding students were accepted thru 1876, when the school closed due to general financial distress on March 11 of that year and the Sisters of St. Joseph left at that time. Immediately, a new order was found to take over as the Sisters of St. Dominic from Sinsinawa, WI resumed classes three days later.
St. Mary’s High School
The school was recognized as a school of the Peoria Diocese when the diocese formed in 1877. St. Mary’s School was opened as a grade school in 1884, adding high school classes at a later date. The first graduates of St. Mary’s came in 1898, which became tradition every year thru 1928 when a new building was opened across the street from St. Mary’s and changed its name to Trinity in honor of the name of the Catholic Church located near the former St. Mary’s.
Trinity High School
St. Mary’s High School, which later changed its name to Trinity High School in 1928 when the parish administration of Holy Trinity saw the need to open a new facility due to public demand for Catholic higher education. The facility at 712 N. Center St. was torn down in 2005 after Central Catholic moved into a spacious location along Bloomington's east side in the fall of 2003.
Central Catholic High School
The name was changed to Central Catholic in 1967 when the Catholic Diocese of Peoria requested that Epiphany Parish of Normal and St. Patrick’s Parish of Merna join Trinity, St. Mary’s, and Historical St. Patrick’s parishes in Bloomington in governing and subsidizing Catholic high school education in Bloomington-Normal. The new school had been a symbol of education and a symbol of sacrifice for all students that attended. Central Catholic provided a sound education with plenty of religious training. 1201 Airport Road became the new home from Central Catholic High School in August of 2003.