The History of McCort

Mattie Updyke, Writer

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“But pal of mine, dear Catholic high school, I’ll never forget you.”

Of course, many of us students will never be able to forget our four years spent roaming the halls of 25 Osborne Street, but how many of us know the history of our school?

Johnstown Catholic High School opened in the fall of 1922 with 128 freshmen. At this time, the only building on campus was the “Old Building” which now is home to Language Land, the English Department, cafeteria, and the administrative offices. In 1929, the gym and the auditorium were added.

Originally, the only courses offered were Latin, English, history, algebra, and religion, all taught by four nuns.

By 1930, Johnstown Catholic was a burgeoning school with great potential..then came the Flood of ’36 and the Great Depression. The struggling city of Johnstown had now found itself underwater, with waters up to fourteen feet. At this time, the chapel was also added to the building.

With World War II brought many students leaving to fight, which pushed students to create a memorial with a list of those that left to serve. Out of the class of 1945, 29 classmates were killed in action. After the war, Bishop Carroll began making plans to expand the ever-growing school. In 1962, the school, with a new wing that could now support up to 1,500 students, was re-christened as Bishop McCort Catholic High School, in honor of the man who was the impetus behind its foundation.

Throughout the sixties and seventies, McCort endured and began hiring more lay people than nuns, due to the shortage of women becoming consecrated sisters.

By the  80s and 90s, McCort and its traditions were firmly planted into the life of many Johnstown natives. Even today, many graduates return for our annual reunion picnic and mass held during the summer in July.

In the early 2000’s and part of the 2010’s, McCort experienced a large shakeup. A new principal, vice principal, and teachers gave the school a new feel. The school began offering advanced placement courses and a more challenging curriculum to better prepare students for college. Additionally, a new gym, the Bach Wellness Center, was donated by the Bachs, included a weightlifting center and a spacious gym for practice.

As for the school’s modern history? We’ve done a lot of good things.

McCort has had many graduates going off and doing amazing things. For instance, Connor Hagins (’14) founded his non-profit, Cuddles For Kids, which donates stuffed animals to sick children and attempts to brighten their hospital visits.

Our Mini-Thon event started in 2015, raises money for pediatric cancer. An offshoot of the Penn State THON, all the money we raise goes to Four Diamonds at Penn State Hershey’s Children’s hospital, and is included in families costs so that they end up paying nothing.

Last school year, every single sports team went to the District 6 final or higher, which shows the dedication of many student-athletes.

Also last year, the parochial elementary schools in the area consolidated to become Divine Mercy Academy. St. Benedict’s and Our Mother Of Sorrows now host the west and east campuses, which hold kindergarten through sixth grade. McCort hosts the middle school, the seventh and eighth graders. With this addition came some big changes, including the moving of senior hall.

All in all, McCort’s history shows how much we value our pride, loyalty, and tradition in everything we do and have accomplished. Hopefully, we can continue this as time goes on, and learn from our history in order to make our future great.

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