History

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

1929

The Sisters of Providence lay the cornerstone for a new Providence High School, an all-girls Catholic school.

1969

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

1971

Paul J. Adams III begins his tenure at Providence St. Mel as the Director of Guidance.

1972

Mr. Adams is named principal and begins the mission and vision of Providence St. Mel, first by enacting strict rules that make gang association, drugs, gambling, graffiti, stealing, and fighting grounds for expulsion.

1978

The Archdiocese decides to close Providence St. Mel, but Mr. Adams’s commitment and a national campaign allow for Providence St. Mel to remain open as an independent college preparatory school. Sister Loretta Schafer and the Sisters of Providence sell the school building to Mr. Adams.

1980

Providence St. Mel expands by creating Grade 7 and Grade 8.

1982

Providence St. Mel is featured on an inspiring story by NBC’s Mike Leonard.

1982

President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan are so moved by the story of Providence St. Mel, they the school for the first time.

1983

President Ronald Reagan returns to Providence St. Mel and proclaims it a “shining light” and a model for the nation to follow.

1985

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

1987

Providence St. Mel expands further to include Grade 5 and Grade 6.

1990

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

1993

Providence St. Mel expands to Grade 1 through Grade 4, offering a foundational college-prep education to a wide-range of students. Providence St. Mel is now Grade 1-12.

1996

Jeanette Butala (DiBella) begins her tenure at Providence St. Mel and increases test scores by 35% in less than three years.

1999

The Intervention Program (AIM) is established to offer additional tutoring to students.

 

2000

Ms. Butala is named principal, and Mr. Adams is named president.

2000

Providence St. Mel’s lower school expands further to include Kindergarten, setting high standards at an early age.

2003

Providence St. Mel is transformed with a new fine arts center and science labs, central air conditioning, bathroom renovations, a new elevator, and new lighting.

2004

The Michigan State University study is released in the Journal of Educational Psychology and names Providence St. Mel as a “Model for Urban Education”.

2005

The CURL study, finding 72% of our alumni graduate from college in four years, is released.

2008

Providence St. Mel’s commitment to setting high standards at an early age continues with the addition of pre-Kindergarten classes.

2009

The Providence Effect, a documentary celebrating Providence St. Mel’s academic accomplishments, is released in theaters across the country.

2010

Dr. Samuel C. Carter, a renowned education researcher, selects Providence St. Mel as one of the nation’s finest schools in his book, On Purpose.

2011

Ms. Butala becomes the Chief Educational Officer of the Jay Pritzker Academy in Cambodia, which follows the Providence St. Mel instructional model.

2014

Ms. Butala is named president, and Mr. Adams is named executive chairman.

2015

For the first time in school history, 100% of Providence St. Mel graduates are accepted to Tier One colleges and universities.

2016

Providence St. Mel is majorly renovated. Classrooms and hallways are refreshed, and the cafeteria – including a senior/parent lounge, front office, and admissions areas are transformed.

2016

The Ohio State University alumni study is conducted. “Find a way or make one” is a life model with graduates exceeding norms in all educational expectations.