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Resurrection High School, conducted by the Congregation
of the Sisters of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, was officially
opened in 1922 although the inception of the idea of operating a high school
for girls dates back to 1910, when Sister Anne Strzelecka opened a day
nursery on the site of the present Resurrection Day Care Center, 1849 North
Hermitage Avenue. In addition to the twenty-some little children, there
were also six to eleven elementary students, "an embryo of our future
school for girls," as Sister Anne wrote to the foundress of the Congregation.
This school was short-lived, but another attempt was made at opening a
school in 1913, during the Sisters' second year on their new property in
Norwood Park, northwest of Chicago. It was a boarding school with an initial
enrollment of six elementary students, half of whom were accepted free.
Because of the construction of a permanent building on the Norwood Park
property, the school was closed at the end of the school year to be reopened
as Resurrection Academy, a resident and day school, in 1915. In 1917, a
secondary division was opened, but was closed at the end of the term in
June of 1918 until more appropriate arrangements could be made and more
teachers prepared for the work.
The high school department of Resurrection Academy, with Sister Antonia
Rompkowska (1922-25) as principal, was reopened in 1922, as a part of the
present provincialate building. Boys had been accepted at the academy, but
their enrollment was discontinued when the high school was opened. Additional
classroom space was acquired by the erection in 1924 of a long, one-story-and-basement
frame structure on the grounds near the academy building. In 1926 the principal,
Sister Felix Czyzewski (1925-26), applied for accreditation by the State of Illinois,
but was advised that the school needed further development before the accreditation
could be granted. Sister Raphael Zientara (1926-27) successfully reapplied for
the accreditation in January of 1927.
In 1926, a wing was added to the original academy building for the high school
department and a two-year commercial department was opened. This department was
discontinued as a separate unit and became an integral part of the high school
in 1933. With the growth of the commercial department, the high school again
began to encroach upon the elementary school area. Therefore in 1929, during
the principalship of Sister Pauline Agnes Iewinski (1927-1937), a larger L-shaped
addition to the academy building was dedicated. Sister Pauline Agnes also worked
toward accreditation by the North Central Association for Colleges and Secondary
Schools, which was obtained in 1935.
In 1932 the Resurrection High School Alumnae Association was organized. One of
its main works is the provision of a scholarship fund for needy students.
Under the direction of Sister Dolores Kierna (1937-1947), the mothers club of
Resurrection High School was formed to promote understanding between the school
and home and to assist the school in promoting its standards. The officers and
members occasionally act in an advisory capacity to the administration, especially
when changes in school policy are under consideration.
Up until World War II, Resurrection had remained a small, relatively unknown high
school in a sparsely settled area of the Far Northwest Side of Chicago. Sister
Marcella Bajorek (1947-1952) and her successor as principal, Sister Celine
Babicz (1952-58), found themselves faced with a new problem. A large increase
in population on Chicago's Far Northwest Side following the war led to an increase
in enrollment and the necessity of restricting registration. To help ease the
situation, the resident department was closed in 1954, thus providing space for
one hundred more day students.
The need for a new gymnasium to meet state physical education requirements led
to a vote by the faculty in 1955 to decide upon a site for this gymnasium. The
result was the birth of the idea to build an entirely new high school on the
corner of Talcott and Oriole avenues. This idea was slowly accepted and resulted
in the students returning in the fall of 1962 to an as-yet unfinished school
with a capacity of 1,040 pupils. As principal, Sister Lydia Mary Yokiel (1958-1968)
had phased out the elementary department by June 1969, since by that time there
were sufficient parish schools to accommodate the children in the area.
Just before the new school was constructed, the Father's Club of Resurrection
High School was established in 1959. Founded to aid and promote the aims of Resurrection
High School, its greatest benefits are experienced by the students who have shared
in their memorial scholarship fund established to continue the payment of tuition
of any student registered at Resurrection at the time of the death of her father
who had been a member of the Club.
The new building seemed spacious after the crowded conditions of the original
building, but the enrollment increased steadily, and in the early 1970s the administration
under Sister Mary Monica Widelski (1968-1979) moved some classes into the original
building to accommodate all the students who registered.
Having worked for the renewal of society through the regeneration of woman since
its foundation, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Resurrection considers
Resurrection High School as a fitting instrument for this mission, particularly
in these days when the role of woman is questioned and challenged. To help young
women take their place in this unsettled world, Resurrection strives to provide
an environment which responds to the needs and interests of each individual student
and provides opportunities for exercising responsibility in decision-making;
an environment which aims at developing self-discipline and self-direction, and
helps young women establish for themselves a hierarchy of values and introduces
the Gospel principles into all areas of their life; and an environment which
creates an enduring curiosity for learning.
Staffed by the Sisters of the Resurrection and dedicated lay men and women, some
of them Resurrection alumnae, Resurrection High School provides varied and comprehensive
course offerings on different levels of ability and interest, from honors to
basics courses. Through its association with Citywide Colleges of Chicago, it
offers college courses in English and social sciences. A beginning has been made
to help students with learning disabilities. To equip students to live in a technological
age, computer programming is taught. Co-curricular and extra-curricular activities
extend classroom experiences and provide opportunities for service within the
school and beyond. Athletics and the performing and plastic arts provide similar
Cognizant of the need for a spiritual dimension in all aspects of life and a
need to extend and apply the teachings of religion classes, the administration
established an Office of Campus Minister, who is responsible for the development
of the spiritual and liturgical life of both faculty and students. Spiritual
counseling is provided as part of this campus ministry.
Having reached its peak in 1978-79, the enrollment at Resurrection is now tapering
off, although not at the rapid rate which could be expected because of the great
decrease in the school population in the area served by the school. Both Sister
Stephanie Blaszczynski (1979-1980) and the present principal, Sister Elaine Tworek,
recognized this trend in their planning for the future. Although not evident
yet, the possibility of a changing school population cannot be discounted.
Whatever the future conditions may be, the religious and spiritual development
of each student will always remain the main goal of education at Resurrection
as each young woman prepares hersn vantage of the many opportunities available
to her today.
From "A History of
the Offices, Agencies, and the Institutions of the Archdiocese of Chicago" - 1981
Reprinted with the permission
of the Chicago Archdiocese.