September 5, 1961 marked the opening of the first Catholic High School of Kearney. Construction had begun on the new school in July of 1960. Catholic High School of Kearney was dedicated by Bishop John L. Paschang on October 18, 1961. The new school cost $600,000 including the furnishings.
At the time of the dedication, Rev. Monsignor Raymond Miles explained that the school’s front mural, with a scripture phrase “Behold Thy Mother,” is a colored stone copy of a rather famous religious painting of the crucifixion. “The idea behind it is that the school is to be dedicated to the mother of Jesus,” Msgr. Miles explained in 1961. Based on the artist’s mural, the architect turned the project over to a commercial artist, who in turn gave the plans to a firm in Phoenix, Arizona from where the rectangular stone slabs which compose the mural were shipped.
The school began with 123 students in four grade levels, the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth, with the intention of adding a grade each year as the advanced class moved toward graduation. The Class of 1964 was first class to graduate from Kearney Catholic High School with 22 students.
Prince of Peace Parish was founded in Kearney in February, 1986. Together the two parishes conducted a building drive in 1994 for additional 6th grade classrooms, a multi-purpose room and a music room. In 1999, an art room was added next to the old chapel.
Through the generosity of donors who gave $3.8 million towards the “Proud Past. Promising Future.” Capital Campaign, Bishop William Dendinger blessed the newly remodeled classrooms and the addition of the new Cope Coliseum, Marshall Band and Choral Room, weight room and wrestling room in February, 2006.
In 2016-2017, the enrollment was 361 students for grades six through twelve. To date, 1641 students have graduated from Kearney Catholic High School since 1964.
Father Raymond B. Hain, S.T.D., superintendent of Aquinas High School in 1961, who gave the principal address at the evening banquet during the dedication of the school in said, “Schools must put into their education what they want out of their students.” He said, “To serve the needs of the whole man we must instill the ideals of a Judaeo-Christian culture into our education…(a Catholic school) not only fulfills a great need, but is the symbol of enthusiasm, determination, and Christ-like optimism of Catholic clergymen and laymen throughout the United States.”