Aurora Madonna Catholic High School for Girls

Aurora Madonna High School Bldg 2016
Now Fred Rodgers Magnet Academy – Submitted by Dana & Sailor Levin
Aurora Madonna High School Building 1926 – 1968
The History of Madonna Catholic High School for Girls in Aurora

Aurora (population 142,990) is located in far northeastern Illinois in the southeastern portion of Kane County. The town has extended into Will, Dupage and Kendall counties as well. According to the Wikipedia address of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora,_Illinois , Aurora’s population has grown to nearly 176,000 residents and is now the second largest city in Illinois. Interstate Highway 88 passes through the northside of Aurora.  Illinois Route 31 passes through town from north to south and U.S. Route 30 passes through the south side of town.  The Burlington Northern Railroad line makes its way through town as well.  The Fox River curves through Aurora from the north to the south.

Aurora is know as the “City of Lights” as it was the one of the first towns in Illinois to create an electric lighting system.  The area the town is located in was originally a native american settlement.  The first white settlers arrived in 1834, followed by the establishment of a post office in 1837.  The town has enjoyed steady growth and continues to do so today.

The following history information about Madonna High School in Aurora was sent to us by George V. Forenero:

“Here’s some more information for Madonna High School, Aurora.

My sources are:  That All May Be One:  A History of the Rockford Diocese by Robert Miller, 1976 & The Official Catholic Directory, 1967.

Madonna High School had its beginning at the same time as The Fox Valley High School (now Marmion Academy) in March, 1925.  Ground was broken in Fall 1925 & the first class began in Fall, 1926.  One hundred and eighteen girls entered; Sister Mary Confirma, OSF, was the 1st principal.  The school was staffed by the School Sisters of St. Francis from Milwaukee, WI.  The original faculty was comprised of eight (8) sisters.

The original building could hold 500 students.  In 1963, an additional wing was added to alleviate the overcrowded classrooms & provide a new convent for the Sisters.   During the 1966-67 school year, 552 girls were enrolled under the direction of twenty (20) School Sisters of St. Francis & six (6) lay teachers.  Sister M. Cyriaka, O.S.F. was principal.

On March 8, 1968, it was announced that Madonna & Roncalli would merge to form Aurora Central Catholic High School.  Between 1968-1971, both buildings (Madonna & Roncalli) were used.  Beginning in the Fall of 1971, all academic classes were held at the Madonna site with only the gymnasium facilities & the football field used at the Roncalli site.  In 1995, Aurora Central Catholic relocated to the west side of Aurora – down the road from Rosary High School.

In 1973, five years after the merger, the School Sisters of St. Francis donated the Madonna Building to the Diocese of Rockford.The last time I drove by the original Madonna, the building was being used – I think by a social service agency (agencies).”

Dana Levin provided the following information regarding the use of the former Madonna High School building today (2016):

“The Madonna Catholic High School currently is now the Fred Rodgers Magnet Academy. It houses third through eighth graders as a school for gifted kids. These kids are thriving at the school and have been for some years now, my daughter is part of the alumni here and my son will also be joining this fall. It’s a private Academy that you need to academically qualify for. the Fred Rogers program is amazing.”

We are always searching for further information.  If you have any information that might assist us, please contact us via the means listed below.

Madonna High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                        1926

Year closed:                         1968

Consolidated to:                    Aurora Central Catholic High School

Sports likely not offered.

Athletics

The girls of Madonna High School probably participated in G.A.A. and other activities to help them achieve phyisical fitness. The school closed (1968) before the IHSA officially recognized and sponsored girls athletics (1974).

Extra-Curricular Activities

We are certain that there were many extra-curricular activities that were a fun and educational part of the Madonna High School experience. Band, chorus, student government, plays, and many other activities were likely offered throughout the school year.

MEMORIES

**From Kathy Laux Hum, regarding the photo below:

SM Confirma Ruhlman on left, SM Justilla Ruhlman on right. This picture was taken in front of Madonna High School.  They were my dad’s cousins.”

SM Confirma Ruhlman & SM Justilla Ruhlman
Submitted by Kathy Laux Hum

Do You Have Information You Can Share?

If you do, please contact us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net. Photos are welcome, especially one of the school building.

    


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