Catholic Central High School in Burlington is using some of the $103,000 in donations it has received this year to upgrade technology in the school. (Submitted photo)

In addition to its 100th anniversary, Catholic Central High School in Burlington has plenty of achievements to celebrate this year.

Catholic Central Development Director Georgean Selburg writes grants for the school and said a bright spot in this historic year has been receiving what they need to help refurbish parts of their school’s building.

In January, they were awarded a $10,000 grant from the Catholic Community Foundation to help students with tuition assistance and an additional $10,000 from the Burlington Rotary Rescue Squad Foundation to help with the high school’s cabling project. The Burlington Community Fund gave the school a $25,000 grant to help provide a new roof for the school. Recently, a $10,000 gift was given from an anonymous donor that, combined with all of donations made from alumni families and community supporters, brings the total the school has brought in to $103,356. 

“It’s so humbling,” Selburg said. “The roof on our building is 46 years old, original to the school, and severely damaged, so it was time.”

God answered the school’s prayers through the generous donations and all of the needed repairs will begin this summer. The money won’t only go to replacing the roof, though, but will repair the fascia boards, remediate the lead paint and rebuild the rotted cupola in a complete restructuring of the building. 

“There’s so much beyond the roof that we’re planning on, though,” Selburg said, adding that their second goal is to improve the internal network in the school, creating an even better learning environment through technology. In a world where students are being educated with Smart Boards, iPad devices and smart TVS, Catholic Central has done its best to keep up, boasting a 1-to-1 iPad-to-student ratio. The donations will help cover new switches and a new server, all needed upgrades for the school. Overall, the cost for upgrading technology will be more than $130,000, so Selburg has several additional grants she’s waiting to hear back on.

“Connection and speed are extremely crucial,” she said. “Now, when students aren’t able to be physically present in a classroom, they’re relying more than ever on virtual learning. Throughout the pandemic, the school has been able to remain open for classes five days a week with the exception of two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. Outside of those two weeks, they’ve tried to make student life as pleasant and normal as possible, while keeping students, faculty and staff safe. But, any time a student exhibits signs of illness, they have to stay home and get tested, so up-to-date technology is crucial now more than ever. 

“It’s a blessing for the kids to have a sense of normalcy,” Selburg said. She added that even in the midst of a global pandemic, they had a great year and things felt as normal as they could.

“We see what a good education is doing for our students,” she said. “Even now, we see that down the road, these young people are going to shape our country for the better.” 

Founded in 1920 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame as St. Mary’s High School, the two-year technical school quickly grew and graduated its first four-year class in 1925. In 1989, they changed their name to Catholic Central High School to reflect the joint ownership of the 16 surrounding Catholic parishes and their list of successful graduates lengthened. 

This year, they announced that the school has once again become officially affiliated with the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Selburg said, “That in itself was incredible, to be able to carry on this tradition and have a closer relationship with the School Sisters of Notre Dame than we’ve ever had before is very exciting.”