Holy Cross High School leaders announced the 37-year-old school’s first capital campaign during a special Mass Sept. 13 commemorating the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
At the Mass, the school’s students were asked to pray for the campaign’s success.
The co-educational school at 5144 Dixie Highway, which was created by the merger of Angela Merici and Bishop David high schools, set a goal of $5.5 million and school officials said $4 million has already been pledged during a silent phase.
The school is now looking to the wider community to raise the remaining $1.5 million during its public phase of the campaign, called “Opening the Doors to Tomorrow.”
“We are already at $4 million,” school president Danielle Wiegandt told the student body during the morning Mass. “That means people have said yes — yes to you.”
The Archdiocese of Louisville, which sponsors Holy Cross, gave the lead gift in March of 2020. The Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, who sponsored Angela Merici, were the next to step up.
“We have a lot to be thankful for today,” Wiegandt told her students. “So many people believe in you, believe in the community; we need to make them proud.”
The campaign has three phases and aims:
Renovations: The first phase was to complete renovations of the academic building, which was built in 1960. Work on the building began in 2018 and was finished with campaign dollars in time for this school year.
The project replaced all of the school’s windows, which were single-paned and aluminum, with energy-efficient windows that are double-paned and tinted to increase efficiency.
The project also updated classrooms, gave the cafeteria a restaurant-style makeover, and added a STEM lab and makerspace (a lab area where students can be creative using technology and traditional materials), LED lighting, central heat and air, drop ceilings and new doors.
Financial aid: The school currently meets about half of the financial aid needed by students who qualify for it. Demonstrated need is more than $1 million each year and the school provides a little more than $500,000. The next phase of the campaign aims to increase that amount.
Athletics: The final phase of the campaign focuses on building a new athletics complex in the next few years.
Dr. Brian B. Reynolds, chancellor and chief administrative officer of the Archdiocese of Louisville, said, “it’s easy to support Holy Cross.”
“They have a wonderful mission and have a tremendous impact in this part of Jefferson County,” he said. “There’s a lot of creativity here with a commitment to the social teachings of the Catholic Church.”
“Whenever I meet students from here, they praise the educational experience, but more than that, they praise the family and unity.”
Reynolds also noted the support of the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville.
“The long history and commitment of the Ursuline Sisters is great to see continuing,” he noted.
The legacy of the Ursuline Sisters, who founded Angela Merici, is now tangible in the academic building of Holy Cross. The school named a wing of the second floor St. Angela Merici Hall in honor of the Ursuline foundress.
“We were just given naming rights and that was a surprise to us,” said Sister Jean Anne Zappa, president of the Ursuline Sisters. “Because of our commitment to Angela Merici (High School) we wanted to support them any way we could.”
She noted that the Ursuline Sisters were historically teachers and committed to the teaching mission of Jesus.
“We can’t be teachers anymore,” she noted. “We don’t have the ministry of presence that we had when we were teachers. But now we have the ministry of influence.”
Dr. Cynthia Crabtree, retired president of Sacred Heart Schools, is a member of the Holy Cross board and served as the consultant for the Holy Cross campaign. She is a 1975 Angela Merici graduate and believes Holy Cross is a necessity.
“I grew up here and I feel like the southwest needed a strong school,” she said.
“A lot of people have supported Holy Cross,” she said, noting that its annual fund is always a success. “But we’ve never really asked boldly. Holy Cross has been a secret in the South End.
“These kids are amazing; the faculty and staff are amazing. Danielle is a dynamic leader,” she added. “They need a setting that reflects that.”