The original St. Mary’s School was a grade school with students up to the sixth grade and opened in 1857. The Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Mary served as the first school staff and continued in that role until 1893. From the late 1800s until just recently, the Sisters of Notre Dame were active in elementary and high school instruction.
St. Mary Central Catholic High School was founded by the Rev. Joseph S. Widman in 1902 and was located at the present high school building. Twenty-five students were enrolled at St. Mary’s that first year. A two-year program was offered with commercial courses for vocational skills in order for students to later assume positions in the business community. In 1910, construction on the high school building was completed for $113,400.
Construction and improvement of the St. Mary campus has continued throughout the years. In 1949 a goal of $200,000 in fundraising was set for the gymnasium expansion. The money was raised and construction was completed in 1951 with the basketball team opening the new gym by defeating Elyria 40-38. In 1956, construction of a 12 room grade school was completed. The following year, 1957, tuition is charged for the first time ever at a cost $25 for an entire year. In 1972 the four class room Science building was added. Today, the building also houses the Band Room. The most recent major addition came in 1981 with the groundbreaking for 1.7 million dollar expansion. The project was completed in just a year’s time and 14 classrooms were added along with the Multi Purpose Room.
Beginning in the fall of 1920, freshmen and sophomore classwork in the classic and scientific areas was introduced. In 1923-24, the year of the first four-year graduating class, St. Mary’s High School received a charter from the Ohio Dept. of Education. It is the second oldest school in the Diocese of Toledo. Prior to 1902, no Catholic post-elementary education was available in the Sandusky area.
In 1924, Father John Lubuzinski organized the first sports teams which were boys football and boys basketball. The teams would unofficially be named after their coaches or referred to as the “Saints” until 1936 when the Senior class voted the Panther to be the mascot for all sports teams. The official team colors of blue and gold were adopted in 1928 by Revered Thomas Reynolds and updated to navy blue and Vegas gold years later in 2003. In 1950, the Panthers entered the Sandusky Bay Conference and competed fiercely for over 60 years while compiling numerous championships and accomplishments.
St. Mary’s High School centralized in 1974 and became St. Mary Central Catholic High School with a faculty of 34 religious and lay teachers. The focus shifted from a one-parish high school to a facility serving all area parishes including Sts. Peter and Paul, Holy Angels, St. Peter’s Huron and St. Mary’s. The parishes joined in a commitment to provide secondary education for youth in a Christian atmosphere. The centralization was also designed to help financially support the school.
In 2002, Holy Angels, Sts. Peter and Paul and St. Mary’s grade schools unified to become Sandusky Central Catholic School. St. Mary Central Catholic High School also fell under the umbrella of the new organization but was allowed to keep its name. Holy Angels school became the SCCS Early Childhood Center and Sts. Peter and Paul school housed grades Kindergarten through three.
By 2009 enrollment was such that all students in grades Kindergarten through eighth were brought to the St. Mary grade school campus. Before the 2013 school year, pre-K students from Holy Angels were moved to the St. Mary facility as well to complete the transition to a true one-campus organization.
St. Mary Central Catholic High School students consistently excel in both the classroom and athletic fields. They also contribute to the growth and development of their neighborhoods, community and parishes through volunteer and service hours. They reflect in action the Gospel values that are the hallmark of an SMCC education and the mission of the school.