History

The following milestones remind us of where we started and show how far we’ve come.

1929

The cornerstone is laid for a new Providence High School, a Catholic all-girls school run by the Sisters of Providence.

1969

Providence High School combines with St. Mel High School, an all-boys school operated by the Christian Brothers.

1971

Paul J. Adams III arrives as an interim guidance counselor, and soon accepts a position as head of the school.

1972

Mr. Adams lays down strict rules, making gangs, drugs, gambling, graffiti, stealing and fighting grounds for expulsion.

1974

As Mr. Adams continues to eradicate dangerous distractions, 78% of Providence St. Mel graduates enrolls in college.

1978

When the Archdiocese severs ties with PSM, Adams announces that PSM will stay open as an independent school.

1978

Physics, calculus, and business courses are added to strengthen the college-preparatory curriculum.

1980

The Sisters of Providence decides to support PSM and sells Adams the building.

1982

NBC’s Mike Leonard does an inspiring story on PSM, giving the school much-needed national exposure.

1983

President Ronald Reagan is so moved by the story, he visits the school and proclaims it a “shining light”.

1984

The auditorium, physics lab, cafeteria and several classrooms are renovated, and the computer lab is expanded.

1985

The varsity boys’ basketball team captures the IHSA State Championship (Class A), finishing with a 31-3 record.

1990

The Summer Opportunity of A Lifetime program begins, offering students enrichment experiences all over the world.

1993

PSM now includes grades 1 through 12, offering a foundational college-prep education to younger students.

1994

Third Semester (PSM’s summer school program) begins, accepting students who are two to three grade levels behind.

1996

Adams hires Jeanette Butala (DiBella), who leads PSM to increase test scores by 14 points in less than three years.

2000

PSM’s lower school expands further to include Kindergarten, setting high standards even at this early stage.

2009

The Providence Effect, a documentary celebrating PSM’s academic accomplishments, is released.

2010

In his book, On Purpose, education researcher Dr. Samuel C. Carter selects PSM as one of the nation’s finest schools.

2011

Jeanette Butala becomes the Chief Educational Officer of the Jay Pritzker Academy in Cambodia, which follows the PSM model.

2015

For the first time, 100% of PSM graduates are accepted at Tier One colleges and universities.