St. Rita of Cascia High School

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St. Rita of Cascia High School
7740 South Western Avenue


United States
Coordinates41°45′07″N 87°41′06″W / 41.752°N 87.685°W / 41.752; -87.685
School typeprivate
MottoVeritas, Unitas, Caritas[15]
(Truth, Unity, Love)
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
FounderVery Rev. James F. Green[1]
AuthorityArchdiocese of Chicago
OversightOrder of Saint Augustine
CEEB code141255[2]
President"St. Rita School administration". St. Rita of Cascia High School. Archived from the original on 12 September 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.</ref>
ChairmanErnest Mrozek
Average class size25
Campus typeurban
Color(s)     red
SongHymn to St. Rita
Fight songSt. Rita Fight Song
Athletics conferenceChicago Catholic League
Team nameMustangs[5]
RivalsMt. Carmel,[6] Br. Rice[7] Marist[8] Fenwick[9] Loyola Academy[10] Providence[11]
AccreditationNorth Central Association of Colleges and Schools[12]
NewspaperThe Ritan
YearbookThe Cascian[13]

St. Rita of Cascia High School is an all-male Catholic high school located on the southwest side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, is operated by the Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel, a Catholic jurisdiction of the Order of Saint Augustine, and is a member of the Augustinian Secondary Education Association. It is named for Rita of Cascia (1381-1457), an Italian Augustinian nun and Roman Catholic saint.


The high school was founded in 1905 by Augustinian friar James F. Green, O.S.A, who bought the property on which the original school sat for US$30,000 for the 5-acre (20,000 m2) site.[1][16] Green Hall was the initial building on the original campus. The school was formally dedicated on 22 April 1906, at which time the San Francisco earthquake of four days earlier was invoked.[17]

Successor to the founder was William L. Egan, O.S.A., during whose tenure the original Harris Gym and Egan Hall were completed. In 1922, the school's first stadium was constructed.[18] Joseph B. Kepperling, O.S.A. followed Egan in 1926, but his career was brought to a close by his death in 1929. John J. Harris, O.S.A. was selected as the next rector of St. Rita.

In January 1935, a fire caused extensive damage to the school's shrine after an altar candle was placed too close to a Christmas tree.[19]

In the summer of 1935, Ruellan P. Fink, O.S.A. succeeded Harris.[20] Under Fink's leadership, technical coursework began at the school in 1936. This period also saw the construction of the Mendel Technical Building (1938), and an addition to Egan Hall (1939), which (at the time) made St. Rita the largest all-boys Catholic school in the American Midwest.[21][22] A fire destroyed the wooden stands in the athletic stadium in 1944, and were soon replaced with concrete bleachers.[18] An April 1939 benefit for the addition included actors Arthur Treacher, Fifi d'Orsay, Eddie Bracken, and Virginia Payne.[23] The new monastery was completed in 1949.[1]

John E. McLaughlin, O.S.A. succeeded Fink in 1956 as principal. In 1962 Francis P. Crawford, O.S.A. became Principal. Crawford was succeeded in 1968 by Daniel B. Trusch, O.S.A. In 1971 LaVern J. Flach, O.S.A. became principal; in 1979 David L. Brecht, O.S.A., in 1983 Patrick E. Murphy, O.S.A. became Principal and in 1989 Bernard R. Danber, O.S.A. was appointed principal. Both Murphy and Danber are graduates of the school.

In 1990 the St. Rita Campus moved from 63rd and Claremont Avenue to its current location at 7740 S. Western Avenue. Prior to St. Rita's renting of the new campus, it had been home to another Catholic high school, Quigley Seminary South High School.[24] The Archdiocese of Chicago closed Quigley South prior to St. Rita's purchase of the property, returning the Chicago minor seminary to its original site at Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary.[24] At the time of the move, St. Rita had been preparing a renovation, but was forced to move when there was a concern over a new school opening on the property.[24] The school's then principal stated: "We could not afford to let another high school open there. We felt that that would be such a threat to us that we would be in danger of closing."[24] The original campus was sold to the Chicago Board of Education for US$1.8 million.[25] The original campus is now the site of Claremont Academy Elementary School.[26]

In 1993 a new president-principal model was adopted for the school. Michael J. O'Connor, O.S.A. became the school's first president. O'Connor appointed Joseph F. Bamberger as principal. In the year 2000 Thomas McCarthy O.S.A. was then named the second president and the first alumnus to be president of St. Rita High School. In the spring of 2002 McCarthy became President-Principal after Joseph F. Bamberger retired. In 2007, Sally Deenihan became not only the twelfth principal in the school's history, but also its first female principal.

In 2012, the school announced that Ernest Mrozek would be the new high school President, a position he still holds today. Father Thomas McCarthy, O.S.A., continued to serve as both the Chairman and the Chaplain of the school; he also focused on his new position for the Augustinian Order's new Director of Vocations.[27]

School crest[edit]

The colors which predominate the school crest are red and blue, as these are the school colors.[28] The book and the burning and pierced heart are symbols associated with Saint Augustine.[28] The rose and bees are symbols associated with Saint Rita of Cascia.[28]


Students are placed into one of three academic programs, based on an entrance exam score, and input from parents and previous teachers.[29] The Augustinian Academy is for gifted students, the Mendel Academic Program is a college preparatory program, and the Villanova Academic Study Center is geared toward students requiring more individual academic attention.[29]

As a part of the Augustinian Academy program, the school offers 12 Advanced Placement courses: 2-D Design, Studio Drawing, Calculus, Chemistry, English, Latin, Music Theory, Psychology, Spanish, U.S. History, World History.[29]

Student life[edit]


The school sponsors 14 extracurricular activities ranging from academic competition and publishing to student government, and performing arts.[30]

The school's music program supports four organizations, three of which are a marching band, a concert band, and a jazz band.[31] There is also a dance and twirling squad (the Ritanettes), made up of girls from local girls' Catholic High schools, which performs with the marching band and at performances in the winter.[31]


St. Rita competes in the Chicago Catholic League (CCL). St. Rita was one of the eight founding members of the league in 1912, and one of five remaining charter members.[32] The school is also a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), the organization which governs most sports and competitive activities in the state.

The school sponsors 12 interscholastic athletics teams which compete in IHSA sponsored state championship tournaments.[33] While not sponsored by the IHSA, the school also sponsors interscholastic teams in ice hockey, and rugby.[33]

St. Rita has won IHSA State Championships in football (1978–79, 2006–07) and wrestling (2002–03, 2003–04).[34]

St. Rita has participated in eight Prep Bowls, the annual (since 1934) game pitting top teams from the Chicago Public League and the Chicago Catholic League. St. Rita won the game in 1963, 1970, 1971, 1977, 2007, 2009, 2013, and 2018.[35][36][37][38][39]

The 1963 football team won the national championship.[40]

In 1924, the school's football team hosted an intramural team from The University of Notre Dame coached by Knute Rockne, losing 6–0.[18]

Because Quigley South did not have a football team, there was no football stadium at the new school building. St. Rita used its old stadium until the end of September 1990 by which time the conversion of Quigley South's soccer field to a football stadium was completed.[18]

The original football stadium at 63rd and Claremont was used in the beginning of the movie Rudy.[41]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "ALUMNI OF ST. RITA HIGH TO BUILD CHAPEL IN PRIEST'S MEMORY", Chicago Daily Tribune, pp. SW 1, 17 October 1948, Alumni of St. Rita High school have launched a $100,000 to build a memorial chapel in the Augustinian Fathers monastery now under construction at 63rd st. and Claremont av ... The chapel would honor the late Very Rev. James F. Green, OSA, founder and first rector of the school ... The million dollar monastery is expected to be completed by next fall.
  2. ^ "High School Code Search". College Board. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  3. ^ "Faculty & staff directory". St. Rita of Cascia High School. Archived from the original on 1 March 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "Chicago (St. Rita)". Illinois High School Association (IHSA). 2 October 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  6. ^ Chicago Sun-Times Archived from the original on 5 October 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Chicago Sun-Times,051209-brother-rice-st-rita-baseball.article. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  8. ^ Kuchta, Chris (17 February 2009). "South Side showdown: St. Rita tops Marist". Southtown Star. Tinley Park, IL, USA. Archived from the original on 8 September 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2009. As far as South Side hardwood rivalries go, the one between St. Rita and Marist is developing quite a name for itself ... "It's always nice to get the neighborhood rivals together," said St. Rita coach Rob Sarmiento, who served for two years as an assistant under Marist coach Gene Nolan ...
  9. ^ Stablein, Tim (5 February 2009). "Huskies, Friars ready for state-tourney challenge". OakLeaves. Oak Park, IL, USA: Sun-Times Media. Retrieved 12 December 2009. The Friars (16-6) ended the regular season on Thursday, losing to Neuqua Valley (39-30) and beating St. Rita (40-27). Fenwick had not beaten Chicago Catholic League rival St. Rita in 10 years.
  10. ^ Currier, Dan (11 October 2007). "Ramblers top St. Rita on off day". Morton Grove Champion. Morton Grove, IL, USA: Sun-Times Media. Retrieved 12 December 2009. That's what the Loyola Rambers did last Thursday in a 2-1 victory over Chicago Catholic League rival St. Rita.
  11. ^ Herron, Curt (28 January 2004). "Catholic League Wrestling: Providence edged out by St. Rita; Celtics lose advantage over rival in just a week". The Sun. Naperville, IL, USA: Pioneer Press. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
  12. ^ NCA-CASI. "NCA-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement". Archived from the original on 29 April 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  13. ^ "Activities". St. Rita of Cascia High School. Archived from the original on 7 September 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  14. ^ "Tuition". St. Rita of Cascia High School. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  15. ^ "Our core values: Truth, Unity, Love". St. Rita of Cascia High School. Archived from the original on 10 September 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  16. ^ "TESTIMONY SHOWS A RUSTIC CHICAGO: "Little Venice" Witnesses Describe Rich Farm Lands Within City's Limits. WANT RATING AS TILLERS Owners of Tracts Near the Flood Bound Gage Park Object to Payments for Sewers. College Pays $6,000 an Acre. Court Declines Invitation. Gage Park Attacks Foreman. Foreman Promises Improvement. Waiting for More Land", Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 7, 14 February 1908, ... the city called the Rev. J. F. Green, president of St. Rita's college, which is situated at Sixty-third street and Oakley avenue ... Father Green testified he had paid nearly $30,000 for the five acres occupied by the college ...
  17. ^ "FRISCO CALLING FOR ARCHITECTS: Mayor Schmitz Telegraphs an Urgent Appeal to Executive in Chicago. WANTS TO REBUILD CITY. Local Members of the Profession Say Volunteers Will Be Sent to the Coast. Fears Labor Union Troubles. Hope of Truce Expressed", Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 7, 23 April 1906, At the dedication of St. Rita of Cascia college, Sixty-third street and Oakley avenue, yesterday the Rev. Father M. J. Dorney referred to the disaster at San Francisco.
  18. ^ a b c d Temkin, Barry (28 September 1990). "St. Rita stadium takes final bow". Chicago Tribune. p. 12.
  19. ^ "Fire Loss 1 -- No Title", Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 6, 4 January 1935, Damage estimated at $5,000 was caused by a fire yesterday in the shrine of the St. Rita High school at 63rd street and Oakley avenue ... Firemen who extinguished the blaze said it was caused by a Christmas tree coming in contact with altar candles.
  20. ^ "St. Rita School Head Elevated to New Post", Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 4, 28 June 1935, The Rev. John Harris, OSA, principal of St. Rita Catholic High school ... received word yesterday ... that he has been made superior at the St. Nicholas church, Bronx, NY. He will be replaced by the Rev. R. P. Fink, OSA
  21. ^ "ST. RITA'S HIGH FINDS NEED OF NEW BUILDING :Plans Drive to Obtain $75,000 Fund", Chicago Daily Tribune, pp. SW 1, 25 December 1938, St. Rita's High school, which began its new building program last summer with the erection of a $150,000 technical building, will construct a $75,000 classroom and administration building this spring.
  22. ^ "GROUND BROKEN FOR ADDITION TO ST. RITA SCHOOL", Chicago Daily Tribune, pp. SW 1, 2 April 1939, The 1,200 enrollment will make St. Rita's the largest Catholic boys' high school in the middle west.
  23. ^ "STARS OF STAGE TO AID ST. RITA BENEFIT PARTY", Chicago Daily Tribune, pp. SW 1, 23 April 1939, Celebrities who will appear in person include Arthur Treacher, Fifi d'Orsay, ... Eddie Bracken ... Virginia Payne ...
  24. ^ a b c d Reardon, Patrick T; Hirsley, Michael (3 May 1990). "St. Rita to call Quigley South its new home". Chicago Tribune. p. 1.
  25. ^ Reardon, Patrick T. (11 September 1990). "All feel like freshmen at St. Rita". Chicago Tribune. p. 3.
  26. ^ "Claremont Academy sports sign to go with new name". Chicago Tribune. 3 October 2004. p. 2.
  27. ^ Murphy, Patrick. "Stronger Vocations and Leadership on the Way" (PDF). Midwest Augustinians. Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  28. ^ a b c "Our Crest". St. Rita of Cascia High School. Archived from the original on 10 September 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  29. ^ a b c "Academic Programs" (PDF). St. Rita of Cascia High School. Retrieved 5 October 2009.[permanent dead link]
  30. ^ "Activities Directory". St. Rita of Cascia. Archived from the original on 7 September 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  31. ^ a b "St. Rita Band". St. Rita of Cascia High School. Archived from the original on 22 October 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  32. ^ "CATHOLICS TO FORM LEAGUE :Eight "Prep" Schools Will Enter New Football Body. DRAFT SCHEDULE TONIGHT". Chicago Tribune. 3 October 1912. p. 10.
  33. ^ a b "St. Rita Athletics". St. Rita of Cascia High School. Archived from the original on 2 October 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  34. ^ "Season summaries for Chicago (St. Rita)". Illinois High School Association (IHSA). 29 September 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  35. ^ Leusch, John (1 December 1963). "St. Rita All-Chicago Champion: 81,270 watch 42-7 rout of Vocational". Chicago Tribune. pp. D1. Before a throng of 81,270, Byrne broke two Prep boal records ... to lead St. Rita to its first All-Chicago gridiron championship.
  36. ^ Leusch, John (6 December 1970). "ST. RITA BEATS LANE IN PREP BOWL, 12-8: 65,735 See Catholic String Reach 11". Chicago Tribune. pp. B1.
  37. ^ Leusch, John (5 December 1971). "St. Rita Stops Morgan Park 18-12: Keeps City Crown on Marek TDs". Chicago Tribune. pp. D1. St. Rita won its second All-Chicago high school football championship in a row yesterday by managing an 18-12 victory over Morgan Park ...
  38. ^ Shnay, Jerry (4 December 1977). "Rita fulfills prophecy". Chicago Tribune. pp. B1. St. Rita's football team profited from Coach Pat Cronin's prophecy. And that's one reason the Mustangs won the 44th annual Prpe Boel Saturday afternoon.
  39. ^ Metsch, Steve (29 November 2007). "Prep Bowl pomp saturates St. Rita". Southtown Star. Chicago, IL, USA. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2009. It's not often a high school football team follows a state championship with a highly respected Chicago Prep Bowl victory. Yet, that's what St. Rita accomplished ...
  40. ^ "Pride of the South Side :: FOOTBALL :: YourSeason". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 14 September 2008.
  41. ^ "45 Darius Fleming". biography. Notre Dame University Athletics. Retrieved 4 October 2009. ... helped lead St. Rita to the Class 7A state championship in his junior season ... St. Rita's original football stadium was used in the beginning of the movie "Rudy" ...
  42. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Tucker, Steve (4 December 2007). "St. Rita". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 30 December 2007. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
  43. ^ "Judge William J. Campbell". biography. Library of the U.S. Courts of the Seventh Circuit. Retrieved 3 October 2009. William J. Campbell was born on March 19, 1905 in Chicago, and was a graduate of St. Rita High School.
  44. ^ "Cubs sign pitcher Clancy". Chicago Sun-Times. 31 January 1992. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2009. The Cubs signed 14-year veteran right-hander Jim Clancy to a minor-league contract ... Clancy, a Chicago native and 1974 graduate of St. Rita, spent most of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays ...
  45. ^ Macey, Alan and Tim O'Brien (25 April 2010). "Kafka joins Eagles; Barnes passed over". SouthtownStar. Archived from the original on 29 April 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  46. ^ Goddard, Joe (21 December 2003). "WHAT'S UP WITH . .Dennis Lick Former St. Rita standout played six seasons for Bears". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2009. Lick, one of the best offensive tackles to come out of the Chicago area, helped St. Rita win the 1970 and 1971 Prep Bowls.
  47. ^ "Finnegan, Edward Rowan". biography. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 3 October 2009. ... attended the St. Ritas, Northwestern, and DePaulus schools, Loyola University, and Northwestern University School of Law ...
  48. ^ Ryan, Tom (20 March 2000). "Life's an open Doors for leader of legendary rock band -- Ray Manzarek: What Stone did to Morrison was a travesty". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 4 October 2009. Manzarek said his Chicago upbringing thrust him into music. "South Side of Chicago around 35th and Western, St. Rita High School, De Paul University, and the blues on the South Side of Chicago,"
  49. ^ "Ahmad Merritt". statistics and biographical sketch. Archived from the original on 14 February 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  50. ^ Southwell, David (18 November 1994). "St. Rita Puts 8-Game Win Streak on Line -- Healthy Mustangs Will Host Palatine in 5A Semifinal". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2009. St. Rita (9-3) hosts Palatine (10-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday in Class 5A. Maladies contributed to the Mustangs' 1-3 start ... Ahmad Merritt (mononucleosis, shoulder injury) missed considerable time ...
  51. ^ "81 Tony Simmons WR". biographic sketch. New England Patriots. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2009. He attended St. Rita High in Chicago, Ill. and earned prep All-American honors ...

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