Cathedral Prep was founded in 1921 as an all-boys Catholic high school by Archbishop John Mark Gannon of the Diocese of Erie. Archbishop Gannon’s vision was to provide a college preparatory, Catholic education for young men to strengthen the Catholic faith in Erie, and to act as a conduit for vocations. The Archbishop's vision was a smashing success as Prep now boasts an alumni base of over 12,000 men, with over 200 of these men going on to become Roman Catholic priests.
The school started in humble beginnings underneath St. Peter’s Cathedral in what is presently the Prep cafeteria. The original school building was built as an addition to the Cathedral in the early 1940’s…the ties to church and school would forever be indelible. In 1953, an Auditorium and a three level classroom addition was constructed as enrollment grew. The last major addition to the school was the 1964 science wing addition at the corner of 10th & Myrtle in order to accommodate the explosive growth of the school. Cathedral Prep’s first graduating class of 1925 consisted of just 44 young men…most notably Alfred Watson, who later went on to become Bishop of the Erie Diocese. Since that time, a countless number of Prep graduates have made their mark on our community, our region and our country.
In the past eighty years, hundreds of all-boys Catholic high schools have either closed their doors or chose to go co-ed, but the tradition at Prep continues today, as strong as ever, in the spirit and vision of John Mark Gannon.