The Making of a Modern Catholic Prep School, 1900–1926

Thomas A. McCabe

in Miracle on High Street

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780823233106
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823234950 | DOI:
The Making of a Modern Catholic Prep             School, 1900–1926

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This chapter discusses the ascent of St. Benedict's from a small, traditional day college to a large, modern Catholic prep school. Between 1900 and 1926, the modernization of St. Benedict's occurred within the context of a rapidly changing society, church, city, and educational system. Two central figures, Ernest Helmstetter and Cornelius Selhuber, helped shepherd the school through the transformation. The German-born Selhuber provided the vision and leadership that made St. Benedict's one of the great Catholic high schools in the region. All along he was encouraged and enabled by the third abbot of St. Mary's Abbey, Ernest Helmstetter, a former headmaster himself. St. Benedict's prep school flourished in the first quarter of the twentieth century, as the school grew from seventy-five students in 1900 to over 735 in 1925. St. Benedict's provided four distinct programs of study—classical, scientific, Latin-scientific, and commercial—all guided by an able and well-trained faculty.

Keywords: St. Benedict's; prep school; Cornelius Selhuber; Ernest Helmstetter; St. Mary's

Chapter.  8491 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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