The beginning of it all


“Help! Don’t be a Slacker. Prosperity has come. Push it Along! Help!”

Those words are muttered at the very end of the February 1922 St. Lawrence Messenger trying to stir up attention about the new school opening in the fall of 1922, Elder High School.

Eleven parishes on the West Side made the bold move to start fundraising for a new Catholic High School. St. Lawrence of Price Hill was the main parish to push the idea of creating Elder High School in Price Hill. The Messenger also states,  “Unity and Faith has given them unity of purpose and effort. They have pledged their united resources, both physical and religious.”

This next part will confuse you, “to make and maintain a FREE CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL, – and “ELDER HIGH SCHOOL” is its name. Back in the early 20th century, the vast majority of Catholic school education was paid for by the collection that went around during Church.

The 11 Parishes that were in on the idea of Elder High School were listed in the February 1922 edition of the St. Lawrence Messenger. Financial reports of each of the parishes were also listed. St. Lawrence donating the most $55,000 and the least coming from St. Vincent De Paul and Our Lady of Victory only giving $5,000 each. In total, the 11 Parishes gave over $207,000 in the effort to start Elder High School.

1922 Building

The Property where Elder sits today was bought for $10,000. The area of land of the original 1922 property was 7.5 acres. The property consisted of all The Pit and the old Fieldhouse (Donohoe Center). The 1922 Building cost a total of $188,000. In today’s numbers almost 100 years later counting inflation it would total around $2.8 million. The Donohoe Center originally cost 22,000 dollars, in today’s numbers it would cost around $355,000.

Creating Elder High School was a major investment for the 11 parishes and the archdiocese. If this failed they would not be able to rebound after investing millions of today’s money into the project. Failure was not an option. Elder High School had to work. There was a reason why they knew that it would succeed. A Catholic high school was desperately needed on the West Side of Cincinnati.

There were over a dozen catholic grade schools on the west side but no high school. This was the way to further educate the men and women of the west side. When the question of Elder surviving is brought up, the response is, “The spirit of sacrifice and service of their Priests, of the Brothers and Sisters, the generosity and good will of our Catholic manhood and womanhood, who have never yet failed in any undertaking, are the pledge and guarantee, that it shall live and live gloriously.”

The idea of Elder was not to only educate the smart and talented but to educate those with learning challenges. Way back in 1922 the idea of helping those who have not been given the same opportunities that some have had. Level the playing field. Elder High School has given thousands of students the opportunity that wouldn’t have been possible unless Elder was there.