History of Holy Cross High School

History of Holy Cross High School

History of Holy Cross High School

Holy Cross High School opened its doors in 1919 offering a two year trade program.  Under the direction of Sister Mary Lioba, the school concentrated on becoming a full fledged four year institution and just two years later, this goal was met with the help and work of the Benedictine Sisters.  By 1924, over eighty boys and girls attended the high school.  As enrollment continued to grow, it was evident that a new building would be necessary.  So in 1930, in spite of the Great Depression, a new school was erected at a cost of $40,000.  Although an additional building was added to the school campus in 1964, this original building still serves as the main school building today.

During the 1980’s, major changes would occur.  Faced with an enrollment that was less than half of what it was at its peak, the pastor of Holy Cross decided to split the high school and the elementary into two entities.  During the same period, the school became a district high school.  As a result, all parish support for the school was removed and the school had to operate independently from a financial perspective.  Faced with declining enrollment, mounting deficits, and no parish support, the school nearly closed.

In an effort to save the school, major program changes were implemented to help attract new students.  In addition, alumni support and contributions provided the funding necessary for the school to survive.  By the mid 1990’s, the results were becoming evident as enrollment stabilized and the school was able to erase its deficit.

Program changes continued into the late 1990’s and the school worked diligently to refine its mission and implement new programs to better serve its students.  The establishment of the Academic Enhancement Program in 1997 is one such example.  This program was established to serve students with learning disabilities and was the only program of its kind in the Diocese of Covington. Spurred by these changes, enrollment reached full capacity at 432 students in 2001, and has remained at that level or above for the past seven years.

Today, the school remains very mission focused.  Our mission and philosophy is that all students, despite varying ability, are capable of meeting high academic expectations if given a personalized education, small class sizes, and a wide-ranging curriculum that meets needs at all academic levels.  For this reason, we have adopted the motto, A Size For All.  In the August, 2007 edition of the Cincinnati Magazine, the school was recognized as one of the Best Private High Schools in the Greater Cincinnati area.  As the magazine states, Inside this old-fashioned 1930 building, the educational philosophy is very modern.  That means a tiered curriculum, with five course levels, allowing students the opportunity to build customized educational programs.

Date School Founded: 1891, in 1921 it became an accredited 4-year high school.

  • Mascot: Indian
  • School Colors: Red and Black
  • School Slogan: A Size For All
  • Words to the School Fight Song: Raise up your banner, Show them our manners, Colors red & black. If we are losing in a battle, we will fight right back. We won’t desert you, always will sing your praises to the sky, So stand up and give a cheer for Holy Cross High.

“Holy Cross High School is a place that demands everything you can give,
and nothing less, and in return gives you undying loyalty and friendship.”

A statement taken from a speech given on Leadership Day in 1998
by Mrs. Susan Schlarman, a former teacher now deceased


History of Latonia

Early 1829:

  • Several springs were located in the Latonia area.
  • Ralph Letton bought property and established a resort called Latonia Springs
  • Named after Roman goddess Latona
  • People felt bathing and drinking mineral water was good for you (Hydrotherapy).
  • People took vacations to these springs. It was called “Taking to the waters.”
  • Most of the visitors to Latonia Springs were from the south.
  • They came to Latonia to get away from the heat of summer and disease
  • Cholera (big epidemic in the South in 1833)
  • Yellow Fever
  • Other reasons for coming to Latonia Springs
  • You could visit and shop in Cincinnati
  • Southerners could bring their slaves (illegal to bring slaves to northern resorts).
  • During the Civil War, few visitors came to Latonia Springs.
  • North and South were at war.
  • Most Northern Kentuckians favored the Union
  • Latonia Springs closed in the 1870’s.
  • Following the civil war, Covington grew quickly.
  • More land was needed to build houses and businesses.
  • The land in Latonia was level; in fact the area was sometimes called “The Flats.”
  • The official name of the area at this time was Milldale.
  • People began building homes in the area.
  • A small town began to grow.
  • Small Mule-drawn streetcars traveled between Covington and Milldale
  • This allowed people to live in Milldale and work in Covington
  • Latonia Race Track:
  • In 1883, a group of businessmen built a racetrack in Milldale.
  • The racetrack was located where the Latonia Shopping center is today.
  • First race was held on June 9, 1883.
  • The racetrack eventually contained a large clubhouse, large barns to house the horses, a grandstand that sat thousands, and a large lake.
  • 1888 the first Latonia Derby was held.
  • This drew thousands of people to the racetrack.
  • Crowds were as big as those at the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
  • Many famous people visited the Latonia Racetrack.
  • Alice Roosevelt in 1905.
  • The Daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt.
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938.
  • Dairy Farms:
  • The area around 3L Highway (once the site of old Latonia Springs resort) was leased in 1891 to Herman Summe and August Ratterman
  • Used the property for dairy farms.
  • Springs were used to keep the milk cold.
  • City takes Shape:
  • The racetrack brought many new people to Milldale.
  • New houses and businesses were constructed.
  • Ritte’s corner was constructed.
  • The corner where Decoursey, Southern, and Winston Avenues come together
  • These buildings were built in the late 1880’s and early 1890’s.
  • Businesses at this corner included a saloon, theater, and a bank.
  • 1893- Electric streetcars replace mule-driven cars.
  • The trip into Covington became much quicker.
  • 1895-the population of Milldale was 1,500.
  • Milldale needed a fire and police protection and the streets needed paving.
  • Milldale, however, was not a city so it could not levy taxes.
  • Residents decided to establish a city in 1896.
  • The city was named Latonia (after the early resort and the race track).
  • Latonia was now an independent city.
  • Churches and Schools:
  • Over the years a number of churches and schools were built in Latonia.
  • Latonia Christian Church
  • Latonia Baptist Church
  • Episcopal Church
  • Latonia City School (later becomes 9th District)
  • The largest Church was Holy Cross.
  • The parish was created in 1890 by 42 families (mostly German families).
  • A combination church and school was built.
  • School was on the first floor and the church on the second.
  • Holy Cross School opened in January 1891 with 80 Students.
  • That year there was only one teacher for all 8 grades.
  • September 1891, the Sisters of Benedict arrived as teachers.
  • Present Holy Cross Church built in 1908 at a cost of $50,000.00
  • The parish had 206 families in 1908.
  • 1913- enrollment in the school reached 354.
  • A new school (the current Elementary school) was built in 1914 at the cost of $36,000.00.
  • Latonia becomes a part of Covington:
  • City officials in Latonia spent large amounts of money to improve their new town.
  • Streets were paved, new sewers built, and a new public school was constructed.
  • City had a debt of over $300,000, and could not pay it back.
  • 1908– People of Latonia held an election. The residents were asked to decide if they wanted to remain an independent city or be annexed by Covington.
  • 1909– Latonia no longer exists as a city. It is now part of the city of Covington.
  • 1920’s
  • Latonia neighborhood continues to grow.
  • Many new houses built.
  • Holy Cross High School is established. First graduating class in 1924.
  • Classes were in the original 1891 building.
  • 1930’s
  • Great Depression
  • 1930- Holy Cross High School building constructed for $30,000.00
  • 1939 – Latonia Racetrack closes.
  • Few people have the money to gamble.
  • Flood of 1937 as seen from Madison Avenue in Covington, KY
  • 1940’s
  • World War II
  • Many Latonia residents were drafted into the Army, Navy, and Marines.
  • Scrap metal drives and rationing.
  • 1950’s
  • Covington’s population reaches a peak (nearly 70,0000).
  • Holy Cross Elementary taught by 25 Sisters of St. Benedict and a handful of lay teachers.
  • 1960’s
  • New Holy Cross High School is built.
  • Holy Cross Elementary School enrollment reaches nearly 800 students grades 1-8.
  • Lay teachers begin replacing Sisters of St. Benedict.
  • 1970-1980’s
  • New Latonia Elementary built.
  • Holy Cross High School becomes a district school.
  • Kindergarten begins at Holy Cross Grade School.
  • 1990’s
  • Holy Cross Church remodeled; Parish celebrates centennial.