|The History of Aurora Roncalli School for Boys
Aurora (population 142,990) is located in far northeastern Illinois in the southeastern portion of Kane County. 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. According to the 2000 Illinois Census, Aurora is the 3rd largest city in Illinois.
A nice history of the town of Aurora can be viewed at http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/91.html . In summary, this article tells us that the area of Aurora was first settled in 1834 with the town officially incorporated in 1845. Its location along the Fox River made it an instant success with the textile mill and grist mill industry. The Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad line made its way to Aurora in 1856 futher bolstering the town’s industry. Aurora has grown from a population of over 11,000 in 1870 to today’s (2000) population of over 142,000.
Roncalli Catholic High School was named after the beloved Pope John XXIII, who was Pope from 1958 to 1963; his last name was Roncalli. We are told by a good fan of the Glory Days web site that Roncalli was opened in 1962 to provide a place for boys to attend high school as the girls were afforded Madonna Catholic High School since 1926. We do know that the high schools of Roncalli and Madonna consolidated into a co-educational school in 1968 to form Aurora Central Catholic High School, which is still in existance today.
George Fornero provided the following information on the history of Roncalli High School. The source for this information is the book That all May Be One: A History of the Rockford Diocese by Reverend Robert R. Miller. Copyright 1976; published by the Rockford Diocese. The enrollment information comes from the Official Catholic Directory.:
“On August 11, 1961, Bishop Loras T. Lane announced plans to build two new high schools in Aurora – Roncalli (boys) and Rosary (girls). Ground was broken on July 6, 1962. The 1st year, classes were held in the old Holy Angels Grade School in September 1962. Classes began in the new building at 441 North Farnsworth Avenue in September 1963. Enrollment during the second year of operation, with Freshmen and Sophomore students was 145. Faculty members included four (4) Christian Brothers, and one (1) lay teacher. The 1st graduation was held in 1966. Enrollment for the 1966-1967 school year was 242 boys with a faculty comprised of six (6) Brothers and three (3) lay teachers. In March 1968, The Christian Brothers announced their intention to withdraw from Roncalli due to a shortage of teaching brothers. The last class graduated in 1968. In 1968 it was decided to merge Roncalli and Madonna high Schools to form Aurora Central Catholic High School. For a few years, the Roncalli campus was utilized as were its athletic fields. Eventually, in 1995, Aurora Central Catholic relocated to the west side of Aurora. The former Roncalli site is now Cowherd Middle School, part of the East Aurora Public School District.”
We are always searching for further information to attempt to fill in the cracks of the history of these schools. If you have any information that might assist us, please contact us via the means listed below.
Roncalli High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1962
Year closed: 1968
Consolidated to: Aurora Central Catholic High School
Roncalli HS team nickname: “Blue Wave”
Team uniform colors: Blue & White
School Fight Song: (needed)