Holy Cross nears end of first campaign

Dr. Danielle Wiegandt, president of Holy Cross High School, stood by the newly installed bleachers on the school’s campus June 8. The school is in the process of constructing an athletics complex, one leg of its first capital campaign. The campaign, launched in 2020, aims to raise $5.5 million for renovations, campus upgrades and tuition assistance. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

Holy Cross High School leaders are inviting the wider community to join them in a final sprint to finish the coed school’s first capital campaign.

In March of 2020, as COVID-19 began changing life in the United States, the South End school launched “Opening the Doors to Tomorrow,” the first capital campaign in school history with the goal of raising $5.5 million. 

“We started when the world changed, but people continued to support us in the midst of the chaos,” said Dr. Danielle Wiegandt, president of Holy Cross. “People believe in the future of the school.”

An outdoor pavilion is under construction on Holy Cross’ campus. The space will be used as an outdoor classroom and as a meeting space for faculty and staff. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

“Opening the Doors to Tomorrow” has three pillars that will work together to move the school into the future, said Wiegandt.

  • Renovations — The first phase was the renovation of the academic building — the original Bishop David High School built in the 1960s, Wiegandt said. Bishop David merged with Angela Merici High School to form Holy Cross in 1984. The building has received new windows, doors, lighting, ceiling and new flooring. This phase is completed. 
  • Athletics — An athletics complex is under construction. Wiegandt said the school has always had hand-me-down items in its sports program. New bleachers for its outdoor playing field have been installed and the school is working on renovating two old buildings to serve as a ticketing booth and concession stand.

“We wanted to create a space where the students can be proud to host games. It made sense (to include athletics in the campaign) because 85 percent of students participate in sports,” she said. “When you improve facilities, it’s an investment in the future of the school.” 

A new pavilion also has been constructed near that athletics complex that will be used as an outdoor classroom and space for faculty and staff to meet.

  • Financial aid — In the past three years, the school has earmarked about $100,000 of the campaign funds each year for tuition assistance, said Wiegandt. More than 60 percent of the student body qualifies for aid, she noted. Funds have also been placed into an endowment. “This sets the tone that we’re here to stay,” she said. “It’s our responsibility as Catholics to ensure that every family in every corner of Louisville has the gift of Catholic education. For families in the southwest corner, we’re doing that, but everyone has to be a part of that to make it happen.”
Becca Kaelin, a 2023 graduate of Holy Cross, practiced sprinting on a newly paved running track on the school’s campus June 8. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

Holy Cross serves 260 students and is growing — enrollment has increased by 12 percent the past two years, she said. The school aims to grow its student body to 300 students, which Wiegandt said will put the school in a “great spot.” 

The capital campaign is set to wrap up in mid-August. And it is within about $113,000 of its goal.

It began in 2020 with a silent phase and by the fall of 2021, $4 million had been pledged. Since then, the school has received a $250,000 gift from an anonymous donor, said Beth Klem, who serves as director of advancement. School leaders have challenged the wider community to match this gift. 

“That was very impactful,” said Klem. The community has responded and the school has received $137,000 of the $250,000, she noted. 

“This is a really great way to do this last ask,” she said, adding that community members are invited to donate in “any capacity they can.”

When the campaign ends in mid-August, the school will hold a celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

To learn more about Holy Cross, visit https://www.holycrosshs.com/.

Luke Harris, left, an incoming freshman, listened as Coach Eric Floyd gave him some tips on the football field June 8. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)
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