Chicago St. Mary of Perpetual Help “Raiders”

St. Mary’s of Perpetual Help High School
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Courtesy of “A History of the Offices, Agencies, & Institutions of the Archdiocese of Chicago”

          The History of Chicago St. Mary of Perpetual Help High School

Chicago (population 2.8 million) is in northeastern Illinois in eastern Cook County. Lake Michigan, along with the Chicago and Des Plaines Rivers are the main waterways in the city. Interstates 55, 57, 90, & 94 will all lead you to the “Windy City.”

From what started as a small village in the early 1800’s along the banks of Lake Michigan, Chicago has grown to the nation’s third largest city and one of the most famous places in the world, as the result of an ethnically diverse community that adopted the city.

St. Mary of Perpetual Help was formed in the South Side neighborhood called Bridgeport, which is home to Irish & Polish immigrants and located around 32nd and Aberdeen Streets, not far from the home of the Chicago White Sox, Comiskey Park and now US Cellular Field. A Roman Catholic Church was first begun in 1883, then a permanent location on 32nd Street was purchased the following year for construction of the current church that took place between 1887 and 1892 that was consecrated in 1905 by Archbishop James Quigley (for whom Quigley North and Quigley South were named for).

A grammar school was started in 1906, but it wasn’t until 1922 when a two-year, co-educational high school was opened. A third year was added a later date, and the fourth year was added in 1941. The school remained open until 1985 when both the grade and high schools were closed for financial reasons. The high school building was torn down in 2001, while the grade school and gymnasium remained. Today, DeLaSalle Institute – Lourdes Hall occupies the remaining school building as the girls’ campus for DeLaSalle Institute.

To find out more about St. Mary of Perpetual Help, click on these links: or


Year opened as a 2-yr school:   1922

Fourth year added:                    1941

Year Closed:                               1985

School nickname:                       Raiders

School colors:                             Blue and Gold

School song (words courtesy of Rob Bennett):

Cheer for Saint Mary’s

Raise your voice on high

A paean it carries

Shout out her praises

Laud her to the skies

In each of her phases

Sing of her honor

Loyalty and faith

In all of her crew (in all of her crew)

The gold and the blue (the gold and the blue)

To you we are true (to you were are true)

Hurrah for Saint Mary’s

And the gold and the blue


We are certain that St. Mary of Perpetual Help offered athletics, as evidenced by a state volleyball championship listed on the IHSA website ( Boys’ and girls’ basketball were also offered, but we need details about other sports that the school may have offered. We will be glad to accept this information at the addresses listed below.


When the IHSA split its schools into classes for girls’ sports, St. Mary of Perpetual Help brought home a Class A State Championship along with two district titles.

1977      15-  1  CLASS A STATE CHAMPIONS!!!   Coach Sr. Phoebe

                        District Champions

                         Sectional Champions

                          Qualified for State Tournament

                           Beat Henry-Senachwine 20-8, 20-13 in quarterfinals

                           Downed Freeburg 20-15, 20-10 in semifinals
Defeated Quincy (Notre Dame), 20-17, 20-16 in title match

1979                 District Champions                      Coach unknown 

Boys’ Basketball 

It is known that St. Mary of Perpetual Help did have a boys’ basketball team while its’ doors were open. The IHSA website finds that the school was unfortunately on the receiving end of high scoring marks from two schools in the 1970’s. The first one came on February 18th, 1973 when Willibrord Catholic won over SMPH 137-54 in a game that saw Willibrord have 63 field goals from the floor. The other time was January 28th, 1979 as Cathedral defeated SMPH 149-25 with 65 field goals. One of Cathedral’s players, John Battle, had 85 points with 33 field goals and 19 of 25 at the free throw line. Battle would go on in Cathedral’s next game to score a state-record 91 against Evanston Roycemore.

Girls’ Basketball

St. Mary of Perpetual Help shifted its attention from volleyball to basketball once the seasons changed as they competed among the schools in the Chicagoland area. There was one game in school history that SMPH probably would like to forget about as Luther North beat them 106-6 in a Class A regional game on March 12th, 1985, for one of the biggest winning margins in state history. Since the school closed that spring, it is possible that this could have been the final girls’ basketball game in St. Mary of Perpetual Help’s history.



from Rob Bennett (class of 1961, dated 1/6/2019):

“Hello, I don’t know why I was looking at pages about SMPHHS tonight, but I was. I was one of the few boys who is an alum. I graduated in 1961. I was co-editor of the yearbook (really a memory book). I still meet and eat regularly with some classmates, though we live all over the area. Of course, I know the school song, and school colors.

“Sometimes, I surprise myself when I am able to remember things about that school. I married a girl from SMPHHS. Both our mothers went there. Both our grandmothers went to SMPH (but not the high school, because there was no high school (at the time)).

“I knew and was well-liked by the amazing pastor at the time. Right Reverend Monsignor Edward J. Smaza. I hung around the rectory a lot. That place was unique in my mind. (Side bar item–often a student had to take home and launder the window curtains, and return them in order to get their final report card at the end of the school year.)”

from Denis Smith (dated September 2, 2022):

“St. Mary’s was a member of the somewhat misnamed Illini 5 League. Other members included Roycemore, Cathedral, Ida Crown, Willibrord Catholic, and, I think, University High. When I was at Mendel, we would send a pick-up team to play Willibrord Catholic’s varsity and usually won by 20 or more points. Additional info about St. Mary’s: the gym was very small; all of the seating was in a balcony at one end and could only accommodate about 75 people. Also, the scoreboard had a clock face instead of digits and it turned red during the last minute of each quarter.”


…about St. Mary of Perpetual Help High School? Then we’d like to hear from you with your stories, information, and pictures (especially of the school and the state championship volleyball team). Please email them to us at or send them via USPS to:

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 N. Neva

Chicago, IL  60631   

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