William V. Fisher Catholic High School
Lancaster and Fairfield County have been fortunate to have over a century of Catholic secondary education. The roots of this tradition reach back to 1891, when Father Nicholas Pilger, pastor of St. Mary Parish, built and dedicated a secondary school. The new St. Mary High School would be distinguished by high spiritual and academic standards. Sisters of the Dominican order, already teaching in the grade school, began their long association with the high school. The school’s first graduating class in 1894 consisted of ten students. Over time the classes grew and St. Mary High School began to take on its own identity. This growth would result in the need for a new building.
At the height of the Great Depression, a new high school was built next to the older building on East Chestnut Street. Thanks to the hard work and heroic sacrifice by the whole parish family, this building was built at a cost of $150,000. Class sizes grew and the school remained an important source of education in Lancaster.
The growth of the Catholic community resulted in new parishes being created in Lancaster. With the creation of St. Mark and St. Bernadette parishes in the early 1960s there was a need to consolidate the high school as a destination for students from several parishes. The original building was reopened in 1961 to accommodate an expanding elementary enrollment.
The high school was renamed Bishop Fenwick High School. Bishop Edward Fenwick was an early missionary in Ohio and celebrant of the first Mass in Lancaster.
In 1970 a campaign was launched to build a modern facility for the purpose of educating Catholic high school students. Mrs. William V. Fisher, the wife of the late William V. Fisher, former chief executive of the Anchor Hocking Corporation, contributed one third of the necessary funds for the new facility. Significant contributions also came from the people of Fairfield County and the Diocese of Columbus. When the new building was opened in 1971, it was given the name of William V. Fisher Catholic High School.
The year 1985 found the school experiencing serious financial difficulties. Members of the community, both Catholic and non-Catholic, joined their efforts to pay off a large deficit and provide an Endowment Fund for Fisher Catholic. This drive helped to stabilize the school. The Endowment Fund continues to help the Fisher Catholic by providing tuition assistance to deserving students and stands as a testimonial to all who believed that it is important to have a Catholic high school in Lancaster.
William V. Fisher Catholic High School continues to be known for its strong religious, academic, and extracurricular programs. A college preparatory curriculum offers an excellent education and numerous opportunities to grow and learn. Over 95% of graduating seniors go on to college or university level studies. An emphasis on strong religious education, along with a permanent campus minister, regularly scheduled Masses, and social justice opportunities combine to maintain our strong Catholic identity. The Irish athletic department offers 18 varsity sports, allowing many students an opportunity to participate. There are numerous extracurricular programs that include band, drama club, quiz team, debate team, foreign language clubs, Irish for life, worship team, student council, peer advocates and other clubs that enable the students to enrich their experience at Fisher Catholic High School.
Over the past 130 years, St. Mary, Bishop Fenwick, and Fisher Catholic have graduated over 4,000 young men and women. Irish alumni are serving in the fields of business, law, education, health care, politics, the military, homemaking, entertainment, the arts, and in the Church as priests, deacons, religious sisters and brothers, and laypersons active in their parishes. William V. Fisher Catholic High School is proud of its heritage. It is grateful to the many people who have contributed to its present position in the field of Catholic secondary education.
We are dedicated to the development of Christian virtues and social experiences by providing a strong academic foundation within the Catholic tradition.
The educational process can assist the student in fulfilling his or her potential through the development of the intellect and the discernment of other important gifts and goals. The objective of this process is to prepare the person for continuing development in order to assume his or her responsibility as a contributing member of society in general and the Christian community in particular.
- A well-rounded education combines religious faith, intellectual challenge, academic excellence, and social responsibility. Fisher Catholic High School encourages our students to develop and increase the capacities for informed judgments, the appreciation of our cultural heritage, and the personal commitment to the Gospel call for faith and service, especially to those who are in greatest need. As a high school community, it is our responsibility to be a living witness of Christ’s presence; therefore, we recognize Jesus Christ as our Lord, Savior, and Teacher.
Taking the four symbols of our school crest: Enlightenment, Education, Understanding, and Activities, the faculty of Fisher Catholic pledges to work with the parents in helping our students to achieve the following in the four years that they are with us:
A Fisher Catholic graduate will be an example of a faith centered person who lives by the principles of the Catholic Church and who seeks truth and knowledge throughout his or her life. Provisions for exceptional students must be offered.
A Fisher Catholic graduate will be prepared to advance to higher achievement in college and career choices. He or she will feel confident about his or her abilities to succeed in that chosen path. A Fisher Catholic graduate will find a foundation on which to share his or her faith and education with the world and have a life-long love of learning.
Fisher Catholic takes a holistic approach to education by providing for the academic, psychological, and spiritual needs of each student. Through his or her participation in the life of the community, a Fisher Catholic graduate will become an active member of his or her community and live in compassionate solidarity with all of creation.