Taken from the 75th Anniversary article by student, Mike Adcock, Editor of the Rocket Times in 2005.
Catholic High School’s existence can be traced back to 1908 when Bishop John B. Morris purchased a block that had formerly been the Arkansas Military Academy and was rechristened Little Rock College on September 14, 1908. This tiny school consisting of three small brick buildings lasted just short of a full decade and was closed in May of 1917 when the U.S. entered World War I. It served as an orphanage, was claimed by the Army and then held a seminary. The seminary moved in 1920 and the high school department, Morris Prep, continued until 1930 when the block was reassimilated by the seminary. When Bishop Morris Prep were closed in 1930, and the Diocese opened a day-school free of charge for all boys of the local parishes. Their mascot was the Eagle, which also was the name of their yearbook. This new “Catholic Boys High School” carried over some of the traditions and symbols from its predecessor. This was not surprising because all of the new school’s teachers and principal, Father John Healy, were teachers at Little Rock College. The three small buildings suited the student body of Catholic High School well, but as the school grew, it was clear Catholic High needed a new home.
Construction began in 1959 for a $1.25 million school building on a 26-acre tract of land on then – Lee Street. The building, the present abode of Catholic High School, was much larger and was a marvel of technology at the time, featuring a construction built largely of aluminum and a closed circuit television system, the first CCTV system in Pulaski County.
Many personalities have furthered the academic progress of Catholic High. The school has been led by eight men over the past 80 years. One man whose influence is still felt in the halls of Catholic High, is, of course, Monsignor George Tribou. Father Tribou was a teacher at the school for more than 50 years and was principal and rector from 1967 until his death in 2001. Thirteen teachers are alumni of Catholic High School and Father Tribou’s former students. Current principal, Steve Straessle ’88, has often been referred to running the school like Father Tribou. Monsignor Lawrence Frederick ’55 is currently serving as Rector of the school.
In 2012, under the direction of Rector Monsignor Lawrence Frederick and Principal Steve Straessle, Catholic High embarked on the most ambitious initiative ever undertaken – renovating the 50-year-old facility.
Over its history, Catholic High School has prospered and become known for its excellent academics and timeless discipline: The graduates of old dressed the same, looked the same and endured many of the same things as the students today. The faces and names differ, but the spirit persists. The boys of Catholic High are marked by a unique code of discipline that does not stifle creativity; indeed, it inspires creativity.