North Cambridge Catholic High School to move to Dorchester

Braintree, MA – The Archdiocese of Boston announced Dec. 22 that North Cambridge Catholic High School (NCCHS) will relocate to the former St. William School, 100 Savin Hill Avenue in Dorchester, MA, for the 2010-11 school year.

NCCHS is a member of the Cristo Rey (“Christ the King”) Network, an association of 24 Catholic college preparatory high schools across the country that serve low-income students. All students at the Cristo Rey schools share entry-level jobs to earn tuition and gain professional experience; this requires them to make the commitment to both a longer school day and year than that required by other schools.

The nation’s first Cristo Rey school was opened by the Society of Jesus in Chicago in 1996, today 5,892 Cristo Rey students share jobs at more than 1,400 businesses nationwide, and each year 96% of the schools’ graduates are accepted to college. The Archdiocese of Boston hosts two Cristo Rey schools, Notre Dame High School in Lawrence and North Cambridge Catholic High School, which will be renamed Cristo Rey Boston as it moves to Dorchester.

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley said, “We are pleased to welcome Cristo Rey Boston to Dorchester. This well established model of Catholic education provides significant opportunities to students who have both the desire and the dedication to make the commitment to a rigorous academic program and work study assignments, where they develop practical and valuable business experience. We pray for the success of this new school and extend our sincere gratitude to the Blessed Mother Teresa parish community for working with the Archdiocese and North Cambridge Catholic to make this move possible.”

Right Reverend John J. Ahern, Pastor of Blessed Mother Teresa Parish said, “This is truly exciting news. Cristo Rey Boston moving to Savin Hill continues the legacy of St. William’s Parish, which for many years wonderfully embraced the teaching ministry of the Church and provided a spirited and high quality Catholic education. Having Cristo Rey Boston in this same neighborhood providing an affordable, high quality, Catholic education is a truly a blessing and an early Christmas gift.”

“We are extraordinarily grateful to the parishioners of Blessed Mother Teresa Parish and the local community who has attended community meetings, given input, and welcomed the school into their community,” said Thomas P. O’Neill, III, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of North Cambridge Catholic High School. “We’re excited to build a school that contributes to Dorchester as well as to the Greater Boston community.”

Mr. O’Neill noted that the former St. William school building is in good condition, but Cristo Rey Boston will need to build science and computer laboratories, create office space for the work-study program and the counseling departments, and make improvements to the cafeteria by the start of the school year in August. He indicated that the school would be seeking funds from Boston area foundations and donors to assist in paying for the improvements.

A majority of North Cambridge Catholic’s students live in Boston. The property in Cambridge cannot accommodate the school’s growing student body. The new location will offer a larger site, allowing the school to meet increasing demand for enrollment. In addition, the Cristo Rey model complements the broad range of Catholic secondary school opportunities offered in the Boston area. The St. William’s site, located across from the Savin Hill MBTA station, will be accessible to the students, who currently come from 26 different Greater Boston communities.

“Cambridge has been a wonderful home for us,” said Mr. O’Neill, who graduated from North Cambridge Catholic High School in 1962. His parents, former U.S. House Speaker Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. and his wife Millie, were also alumni of the school. “The school has always provided Catholic education to working class and immigrant young people. That tradition will continue when we move to Dorchester.”

North Cambridge Catholic High School began as St. John’s High School in 1921 when it was part of a Cambridge parish. In 1957, the school moved to its current site in Cambridge, and in 2004 North Cambridge Catholic High School adopted the corporate work-study program and became a member of the Cristo Rey Network. The school has 260 students, 65% of whom live in Boston.

All alumni records from North Cambridge Catholic High School and St. John’s High School will remain with Cristo Rey Boston.