Holy Cross History -
At the request of the late Cardinal Meyer, the Brothers of Holy Cross accepted an invitation to open a comprehensive high school for boys in the northwest section of the Archdiocesed of Chicago. The site for this school was a piece of property purchased earlier by Msgr. Stoeckel (Pastor, St. Gertrude’s in Franklin Park) and Father Douaire (Pastor, St. Cyprian’s in River Grove). Consisting of twenty-two acres that formerly belonged to the Elmwood Park Cemetery, the site as visualized as the answer to a need of the area: a Catholic high school for boys and another for girls.
Through the contractual agreement with the Archdiocese worked out by Bishop William E. McManus, Superintendent of
Schools, the Brothers of Holy Cross received thirteen of the twenty-two acres. In addition, the archdiocese agreed to proved a portion of the building cost: the Brother were to accept the responsibility for the remainder the cost of the building and the annual operations. Construction of the school building and Brothers’ residence began in the spring of 1961.
The opening faculty had to push out the workmen in order to be able to begin school in the fall of 1961. The sixteen Brothers and five laymen of the initial staff were ready to open the school on the Tuesday after Labor Day, 1961. A class of 380 boys formed the first student body. These youngsters had been recruited, tested, and grouped by volunteers from Holy Trinity High School under the direction of Brother Charles Rymarowicz.
Brother Walter Davenport, the first principal; Brother Andrew Sukenik, Assistant Principal; and Brother Benedictus Secoy, Guidance counselor, made their headquarters in what was room 214. The area of usable building September of 1961 extended only to the lavatory near Room 214. One of the remarkable achievements, in view of the limited facilities in the opening year, was the formation of our school by Brother Roy Nash. The gym was made available during the winter; Mr. John Loef and Mr. Robert Koleno, who had been teaching health to their PE classes, were then able to move in. A basketball team was organized and was able to find some limited competition. By the end of the school year, the entire building had been completed and was blessed by Cardinal Meyer in May of 1962.