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90 Years Strong

By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Rett Peek

   Catholic High School is renowned for its timeless discipline that blends seamlessly into a curriculum of academic excellence that continues to transform the lives of young men. Students and alumni recognize this exceptional brotherhood as “the Catholic High experience,” according to Catholic High School Principal Steve Straessle. And he should know… He has spent most of his life at the institution and believes the mission is still relevant as it resonates throughout the classrooms and community.

   For nearly a century, Catholic High School has challenged the intellect of young men and instilled the truths of humanity: faith, integrity and duty. “We help parents guide their sons into becoming good husbands, good fathers and good leaders,” explains Steve. “This goes for the boy ranked number 2 in class. This goes for the boy ranked number 200. We have a strong belief that a rising tide lifts all boats and focusing on high expectations elevates everyone.” This vision is certainly reflected in the institution’s concise + consistent administration – most notably the tenure of Monsignor George Tribou, who graced the halls of the school for more than 50 years and remains a strong presence among faculty and families. “We intentionally maintain one foot in our past – that which made us great – and one foot reaching out to the future – that which makes us better. Since Father Tribou’s death almost 20 years ago, we’ve sailed the ship he built and found new horizons that he had no way of knowing were there.”

   When he reflects on his time as a student, Steve remembers “teachers that were energetic and demanded creativity – one of the teachers was Father Tribou.” He adds, “They demanded that we look at life through lenses dipped in great writing and they demanded that we find our own voices to understand and expand topics like courage, compassion and love.”

   The students and alumni are incredibly loyal, with a reverence to tradition that includes modern amenities + technology. “They combine old school adherence to duty with the new evolution of social interaction,” Steve explains. “We have a very large and active alumni network. They advocate for each other in a myriad of ways. The network is strong.” And the network is diverse. “We have a great socio-economic cross-section in our student body that is reflected in our roots of serving families from wide backgrounds.”

   Steve sums up the Catholic High experience in just two words, “unique and attainable.” The school remains steadfast in its commitment to inclusion + unity – intentionally keeping tuition affordable with ample financial assistance available. Admission is accessible to all young men. “It’s important to us that financesare not considered for admission. So, in 90 years and more than 8,000 graduates later – Catholic High has unleashed young men into every walk of life armed with an attitude of and adherence to achieving high.”

Inviting Arkansas
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