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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 opportunities.

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.

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