Established in 1889, Roanoke Catholic is a regional Catholic school under the auspices of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, Office of Catholic Schools. A co-educational, college preparatory school located in Roanoke, Virginia, the student body is composed of young men and women from varied socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds who reflect the diversity of the greater Roanoke Valley.
Roanoke Catholic School is dedicated to excellence in education and to the spiritual development of youth within the framework of the Gospel and the tradition of the Catholic Church. We strive to instill in our students a lifelong commitment to learning, to Christian values, and to community service. We are dedicated to achieving these goals in a supportive Christian community.
As a Catholic school, our fundamental task is the education of the whole person, blending learning with faith and faith with daily life.
Roanoke Catholic is AdvancED accredited and the Diocese of Richmond is AdvancED accredited as a school system. AdvancED is the largest community of education professionals in the world. It is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts rigorous, on-site external reviews of Pre-K-12 schools and school systems to ensure that all learners realize their full potential. While its expertise is grounded in more than 100 years of work in school accreditation, AdvancED is far from a typical accrediting agency. Its goal isn’t to certify that schools are good enough. Rather, its commitment is to help schools improve. Combining the knowledge and expertise of a research institute, the skills of a management consulting firm and the passion of a grassroots movement for educational change, AdvancED serves as a trusted partner to 34,000 schools and school systems, employing more than 4 million educators and enrolling more than 20 million students across the United States and 70 other nations.
Present day Roanoke Catholic School had its origins over a century ago when two lay women of St. Andrew’s parish opened a school in the parish hall of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in the fall of 1889. Four years later, in 1893, the sisters of Charity from Nazareth, Kentucky, came to teach in the new school. Important benchmarks in the school’s history have been:
- 1898 – A major gift from Mrs. Thomas Fortune Ryan provided the funds for the construction of a two-story red brick building.
- 1931 – St. Andrew parish constructed a new high school building. This structure currently houses grades PK-2.
- 1950 – Our Lady of Nazareth and St. Andrew’s schools consolidated their high schools to form Roanoke Catholic High.
- 1961 – The present high school building and gymnasium were completed.
- 1973 – All of the elementary grades were brought together in the facilities on the grounds of St. Andrew’s, forming the consolidated Roanoke Catholic Elementary School.
- 1980 – The kindergarten program was added.
- 1985 – The elementary and high schools were merged into a K-12 unit.
- 1993 – A preschool program was added. This program was housed at Our Lady of Nazareth Catholic Church due to the lack of space on the existing campus.
- 1999-2000 – A Multi-Purpose building was added and joins both the old lower and upper school buildings. This structure included classrooms, a media center, administrative complex, chapel, science labs and a new cafeteria.
- 2001 – The preschool was relocated to Roanoke Catholic School Campus and is currently housed in our Lower School building. There are full-day programs for 3, 4 and 5-year-olds.
- 2012 – The Lower School building windows were replaced with energy-efficient double-paned windows for the first time since they were originally installed. A new, quiet, energy-efficient HVAC system was installed to replace the former window units. A new front door and blinds were installed in 2013.
- 2012 – The Upper School Gymnasium roof was resurfaced and the exterior painted to give a fresh, new look to the 50-year-old building.
- 2013 – Upper School Gymnasium renovations continued with interior paint, new lighting and complete replacement of the original floor.
- 2015 – Roanoke Catholic celebrated its 125th year, renaming Upper School Gymnasium the “Gillespie Family Gymnasium” in honor of the Gillespie family’s support of Roanoke Catholic School.
2016 – Exterior renovation to the Upper School building completed with installation of new doors, windows and EIFS building material.
2017 – Started a partnership with Wilson International, a premier boarding company that provides 24 beds in their downtown boarding facility for Roanoke Catholic international and domestic students. Lower School building upgraded with more energy efficient LED lighting.
2018 – Enhancements made to school chapel, LED lighting installed in our Multi-Purpose Building, and air-conditioning in our Gillespie Family Gymnasium.