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. 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.
Welcome to Villa Maria Academy. Villa Maria Academy is the only all-girls Catholic High School in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Since 1892, Villa has been educating our students to be leaders who cherish not only education but Catholic values. Tradition, religion, academics, leadership, athletics, arts, activities, and our community of faculty and students are all the parts that make Villa a special place.
At Villa, ours is truly a community of parents, families, students, teachers, coaches, staff and administration who prepare our students for the great challenges of tomorrow. We uphold the value of the intrinsic dignity and worth of the individual. As Christian educators, we promote Gospel values to develop an awareness of self. We educate for the spiritual, intellectual and social growth of the total person in a nurturing learning community.
The Catholic character of the school fosters the spiritual and religious formation of the student. The Villa community seeks to teach, affirm and support a respect for life through love of God, self and others. We strive to form young people who are knowledgeable in their faith, will participate in a variety of faith experiences and will become committed to living the Gospel message.
We challenge students to value education as a life-long endeavor to acquire and to communicate knowledge, and to be prepared for an ever-changing world. Our extensive curriculum, designed to meet diverse academic abilities and supplemented by extra-curricular enrichment, advances each student’s skills and understanding. Our faculty and staff stimulate intellectual curiosity, encourage critical thinking and stress the value of self-discipline and responsibility.
Villa Maria Academy offers opportunities for intelligent, articulate leadership and discerning citizenship. We expect students to acknowledge the obligations of each individual to others, and to share the responsibility of strengthening the community in which they live. We prepare students in an environment which celebrates diversity and educates for peace, justice and service.
If you’ve been able to visit us, you’ve experienced the Villa family firsthand. When you join this Villa family, the relationships you establish here will remain with you for the rest of your life. Together, we move toward future frontiers. We already know that the journey is challenging, yet ever so much fun! We invite you to become a part of our VMA community as we continue the traditions established in 1892.