Aurora Roncalli High School for Boys “Blue Wave”

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 .  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)


The Roncalli High School boys likely competed in basketball. Football was played for two years and the school supported a soccer team as well. It is possible that baseball and track were a part of the athletic program as well. If you have any further information on Roncalli High School’s athletic program, including the team uniform colors, nickname, school fight song, coaches names, and season records please forward them to us.


The Blue Wave took the field in football for two seasons. The following information was sent to us by Lawrence Padilla.

Roncalli Football

1966 Inaugural Season



Bill Waldner Head Coach

Jim Reiland Assistant Coach

vs Lombard Montini H.S.                 L

vs New Lenox Providence H.S.        W

vs Addison Driscoll H.S.                 W

vsLombard Montini H.S.                  T

vs New Lenox Providence H.S.        W

vs Addison Driscoll H.S.                 W

vs Westchester St.Joseph’s             L

W   L   T

**Frosh-Soph Season record   4 – 2 – 1



Coach Bill Waldner

vs Lombard Montini                         L       13-7

vs New Lenox Providence               W      14-0

vs Addison Driscoll                         W      25-0

vs Wheaton St. Francis                   T         0-0

vs Oswego                                     L         7-0

vs Geneva                                      L         6-0

vs Elgin St. Edwards                       L      14-13

vs Lisle                                          L       27-12

**JV Season record            W    L    T

2   –  5  –   1

**1967 Freshmen season record      8  –  0  –  0

Extra-Curricular Activities

Activities such as plays, chorus, band, FFA, FHA, and any other activities are af great interest. What was it that made the Roncalli High School experience a great one? Drop us a line and let us know so we can share it on this page.

Special Gratitude

Goes out to George Fornero for submitting Roncalli High School to the Glory Days website!



**From Dan Hopp (Class of 1968):

A few of my memories…I graduated last class..1968. I was the Valedictorian..newspaper editor, and class president. That’s what I appreciated most about Roncalli – the opportunity to participate in so many varied activities.  I have some stories to tell about our experience with the Christian Brothers and that last year…but don’t think it would be appropriate on this site.8-) I do have some good ones though!

I played on Roncalli’s last soccer team my sophomore year and know at least one other member on FB who played on the team also. As far as the fight song goes we didn’t have one to my recall.”


If You Have Any Further Information…

…you can provide regarding Roncalli High School before its consolidation with Madonna High School, especially stories and photos of the original high school building, great teams, athletes, and coaches, you can e-mail them to us at  You can also write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago,  Il.   60631


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