Paramus Catholic High school is a regional, co-educational, college preparatory school of the Archdiocese of Newark. Founded in 1965 under Archbishop Thomas A. Boland, and Superintendent of Schools, Monsignor Joseph P. Tuite, Paramus Catholic operated as a co-institutional school until 1995. Paramus Catholic Boys’ High School was staffed by the Brothers of the Christian Schools under the leadership of Brother James Kelly, FSC, Principal, and Paramus Catholic Girls’ High School by the Sisters of Charity of Convent Station, NJ, under the leadership of Sister Helen Demetria, SC, Principal. There was a sharing of the plant and facility, however, the two schools operated as separate academic institutions.
In the decades after World War II, northern New Jersey, in particular Bergen County, experienced a tremendous population growth. In order to provide a Catholic school education for the many new families, the Archdiocese built a number of schools in the 1950s and 1960s. Paramus Catholic was the last secondary school established by the Archdiocese in Bergen County.
Located in the center of Bergen County, NJ, Paramus Catholic served students from many of the almost sixty different communities in the county as well as some students from Passaic and Hudson counties. Due to its geographic position in the county relative to the other established Catholic high schools, the majority of Paramus Catholic students came from towns to the south and east of the school. The makeup of the student body reflected the demographics of the communities it served. Most students were Catholic, and came from families and communities that could be categorized as middle class. A large majority of the students were of European descent.
While overseen by two distinct administrations, the two schools had very similar philosophies and objectives. The overall curriculum and course selections were designed to prepare every student for entrance to college. The philosophy of both centered on the broader concept to develop each student as an informed and active member of his or her Church and an educated and responsible citizen within the larger community.
Due to the baby-boom generation and the housing build-up in many surrounding communities, both Paramus Catholics quickly filled to capacity, reaching a combined peak of 1500 in 1975. The two schools remained at capacity for most of their first twenty years. Both schools experienced a decline in enrollment during the late 1980s.
Then Archbishop Theodore McCarrick decided to unify the two schools beginning in the 1995-1996 school year. The Christian Brothers withdrew from involvement in the school and the Sisters of Charity played a more limited role. The staff of the new Paramus Catholic was almost exclusively lay men and women. Although the role of the religious was significantly reduced, the charism of both religious orders influenced the philosophy and environment of the new school.
Paramus Catholic became one of the few private, co-educational high schools in the area. The first several years of the new school were transition years. The administration and faculty experienced a significant turnover and the students who attended the separate schools adjusted to the new setting. The student enrollment remained about the same during these transition years at about 850 students.
For the 1997-1998 school year, Mr. James P. Vail began service as President. The school instituted a five year plan regarding the growth and development of the school. The plan included projects and capital improvements in areas of technology, infrastructure, operations, and athletics. As of the 2001-2002 school year, the number of completed projects were too numerous to mention. Some of the highlights included the installation of a school-wide communications system, 240 networked computers, new science labs, the conversion of the former residences for academic use, and the first ever new construction on campus: The Paul J. and Victoria Giblin Fieldhouse. The school was re-accredited in 2001-02.
The most important part of the five year plant was an increase in enrollment that began to house a student body appropriate for the size of the building and campus. As of January, 2002, there had been a 40% increase in the student body since the inception of the plan. As enrollment continued to boom beyond expectations, the school engaged in another, ambitious five year plan. This culminated in the enrollment peaking at 1601 in October, 2008, an increase since June of 1998 of over 90%. Incoming classes were chosen from a more and more competitive pool of up to 1800 applicants.
As enrollment expanded, about 50 new faculty positions were created, allowing for a creative, talented, and diverse staff to be built. To accommodate this growth, the school opened an addition in September, 2003 consisting of four classrooms, outdoor amphitheater, prayer chapel, elevator, and additional lockers. A new 1500 seat stadium was also constructed in 2003. A 22,000 square foot air bubble over the tennis courts was obtained for winter use beginning in 2004. Campus Ministry and Fine Arts programs expanded dramatically. Technology grew to a total of approximately 500 computers, including six wireless, mobile labs with 30 laptops each, and a Video Editing Lab. The school also put in wireless access throughout the campus. All classrooms are equipped with LCE projectors and many have Electronic Whiteboards, which are directly connected to the school network for technology integration in the classroom. A ten year $15,000,000 plan of capital, infrastructure, and technological improvements was completed. A school consultative board was formed and began service in 2007.
The curriculum and course offerings expanded. The 2012-13 school year offered 126 courses including 27 Honors and 16 Advanced Placement. Project Acceleration with Seton Hall University began in 2007.
While Paramus Catholic has grown in number over the past fourteen years, the student body has grown more diverse. Students now come from over 125 different towns located throughout 5 counties. As the demographics within the traditional drawing towns have changed, so has Paramus Catholic. The fact that PC now attracts students from new, non-traditional areas has led to even greater diversity which has enriched the school community. Transportation links have expanded and become more vital. Over these fourteen years, tuition increases of only about $220 a year.
Paramus Catholic continues to provide a structured and secure environment that is conducive to learning, personal maturation, and respect for individual differences. Students who attend Paramus Catholic are valued for their unique talents and potential. Now, more than ever, a Paramus Catholic student is ready to develop these gifts to the fullest to make an impact in a global, diverse society.