Over half a century ago Santa Fe Catholic High School became Polk County’s first and only Catholic high school. SFC was founded in 1960 and officially opened on September 5, 1961. Four Sisters of Saint Benedict from Holy Name Priory in San Antonio, small town in Pasco County, staffed the school under the first president of Santa Fe, Father Henry J. Miron. Several part-time and full-time priests of the archdiocese, as well as lay men and women, completed the faculty and staff.
Because of the increasing enrollment, a building fund was organized in 1969 to raise money for additions to Santa Fe Catholic, and that same year the McDonald Building was dedicated. One year later, ground was broken for the new gymnasium.
In 1972 Reverend Patrick Sheedy was given permission to solicit funds for the Martin Power Center. Because of the generosity and dedication of so many people, ground was broken for the new center in January of 1973.
Santa Fe Catholic remains the only Catholic high school for the 11 parishes in the Western Deanery. Maintaining a school in the Catholic tradition is vital to our mission of “Developing each student fully as a child of God.” Santa Fe means Holy Faith. Faith is what puts the heart in who we are. Along with the rigor of our academic program, our students are steeped in Catholic Christian values.
Those involved with Santa Fe Catholic in its early years shared awareness that they were participating in something truly special.
Shaping our Future…Through Catholic Education
The Catholic school advantage is reflected in the philosophy that infiltrates the total education program and the lives of the faculty and students. This philosophy challenges students to improve the world by sharing Gospel values and living Christ’s message of salvation.
- Catholic schools stress the value of self-discipline and commitment. Catholic schools encourage each student to accept the challenges of being a Christian in tomorrow’s world.
Santa Fe Catholic High School, a ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, offers a program of college preparatory studies encompassing values grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and serves the families of the surrounding communities. Through academic, spiritual, athletic, artistic, extracurricular and service programs, the school endeavors to help each student develop fully as a child of God.
“Developing each student fully as a child of God”
Santa Fe Catholic High School, founded in 1961, is a Catholic high school of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando. The school serves young men and women in grades 9 through 12. The 40-acre campus is located between Lakeland and Winter Haven and serves all of Polk County and the surrounding area.
Though Santa Fe Catholic High School is a Catholic educational institution, families of all faiths find the school has not only an outstanding academic program, but also a very solid foundation of religious education and values. Together, these factors create an environment that promotes healthy spiritual, intellectual, physical, and social growth.
We at Santa Fe Catholic High School embrace the challenge set forth by the Vatican in the statement, Catholic Education in the Third Millennium issued in 1999. We will embrace “courageous renewal.” We know and recognize that education today is very different than it has been historically. Technology continues to advance at astounding rates. Families are often more scattered and less cohesive than was evidenced even 10 years ago. Issues like autism, ADHD, ADD, Aspberger’s Syndrome, Tourrett’s Syndrome and a myriad of other learning differences are being recognized and diagnosed with a far greater frequency. At this time in history when all aspects of life are changing and growing at unparalleled rates, we in education cannot afford to move slowly or we will risk falling behind the educational needs of our students and lose relevance. To be relevant today and in the future we must embrace a broad and demanding educational plan to ensure that our young people are well prepared for the world that they will enter and one day lead.
Santa Fe Catholic will meet the challenge to educate today’s students with the same degree of excellence that has been its trademark for more than fifty years. In doing so we will not, in meeting this challenge, forget the heart of our mission and thus we will continue to educate with our feet firmly planted in faith and our eyes set on God.
Preparing Students for College and the World
The Santa Fe Catholic High School community believes that God is the creator of life and source of human rights and duties. In partnership with the Diocese of Orlando, Santa Fe offers a Catholic educational program vitalized by the truth that people achieve happiness by loving service to God and to others.
Santa Fe Catholic accepts the responsibility of cooperating with other educational influences, especially the family, in the formation of the whole person – spiritually, academically, emotionally, socially, and physically – in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.
Santa Fe Catholic commits itself to teach the Gospel message through word and example and to model Christianity in action for its students. Santa Fe unites in liturgy and prayer as a school community and responds to the needs of the wider community through action for social justice in a global society.
Santa Fe Catholic is committed to helping its students grow in the image and likeness of Christ for each other. In accordance with the belief that each individual is unique and blessed with different talents, a Santa Fe education provides the opportunity for students to discover, develop, and utilize those talents.
Santa Fe Catholic believes that learning is a life-long process and strives to motivate the students to take ownership for their own learning and seek out solutions to life problems in the light of Christ’s teachings.
Our Motto: Ad Fidem Per Scientiam, To Faith Through Knowledge
- Torch: Sign signifying knowledge and the enlightened meaning it gives to life
- Chevron: Badge of honor, for excellence in both sports and academics
- Book: Reminder that life is a period of constant study and only though application is a lesson learned
- Atom: Symbol of progress and active participation in a modern world
- Hawk: Finally, atop our emblem stands the hawk, our mascot, a bird of keen awareness, courage, and love of freedom.
- Cross: “That in all things God may be glorified”– motto of the Benedictine Sisters who first staffed Santa Fe. “Ut in Omnia glorificetur Deus.”