Skip To Main Content


The History of Newman Catholic Schools


Walter McIndoe

The first Wausau Catholic Mass took place in the home of Walter McIndoe.


St. Mary's Oratory of the Immaculate Conception

St. Mary Parish was established as the first Catholic Church in Wausau.


Sisters of Notre Dame

St. Mary Parish opened a Catholic school at the cost of $6,000. Five Notre Dame Sisters from Milwaukee came to teach in the new two-story, four classroom structure.


As new parishes started in our community, Catholic schools continued to grow.  Schools were managed and funded by the parishes they were affiliated with. 


February 6

Most Reverened Bishop John P. Treacy

Bishop John P. Treacy established Newman High School on February 6, 1951. A decision made in response to the need for a Catholic secondary school.


The First Freshman Class

The first freshman class was held at St. Mary School. 78 "Pioneers" attended classes within two rooms of the building. As the population grew with each new class, the school expanded into two rooms at St. James School.


September - October 

Local parishes held a fund drive, lead by Fr. Lloyd Geissler, aimed at raising the necessary capital to build a standalone high school.


Newman Catholic High School Under Construction

Groundbreaking ceremony at 1130 W. Bridge Street in Wausau.



The first graduating class walked the stage. Commencement was held at St. Therese School Auditorium since the high school was not complete.


Laying of the Cornerstone of Newman Catholic High Schools

Cornerstone on the new building was laid by Bishop Treacy.



Senior Offices Class of 1956

Though they never attended class in the building, commencement for the Class of 1956 was held in the Newman High School gymnasium (the roof was not yet complete on the gym).



The Red Hat

The first 400 students walked through the doors of the newly finished building.


Newman Catholic Fighting Cardinal

Originally known as the Pioneers, the mascot name was changed to the Cardinals in honor of the school's namesake, Cardinal John Henry Newman.


St. Mary and St. James

First Unification Occurs: St. Mary and St. James unified to share their resources and offer a high quality Catholic education. St. James School became St. Francis Cabrini Elementary (Kindergarten-Grade 4)


WACS logo from the 1980s

Catholic Parishes, under the leadership of their pastors, began community discussions about expanding the unified system approach initially started between St. James & St. Mary Parishes.



WACS logo from the 80s and 90s

Wausau Area Catholic Schools (WACS) unified system was established and supported by eight parishes; St. James, St. Mary, St. Michael, St. Anne, St. Matthew, Holy Name of Jesus, St. Therese, and St. Mark.



WACS Logo from 90s and 2000s

Unified WACS Pre-Kindergarten-Grade 12 Catholic school system classes began with an enrollment of 1,359. All parishes shared their resources to continue the important parish ministry of Catholic school education. 


Entrance to St. Therese School

Wausau Area Catholic Schools added a Child Development Center to its educational programs, offering its first state licensed child care center at St. Therese.


Newman Catholic Schools

Wausau Area Catholic Schools was renamed Newman Catholic Schools (NCS), connecting the schools more closely by sharing the name of Newman throughout the system. The shift in thinking of WACS as a consolidated school system to Newman as a unified school system was realized. Elementary School at Holy Name was closed.


Holy Name of Jesus Parish

A second Child Development Center was established at Holy Name of Jesus Parish.


Newman Catholic High School and Middle School

Multiple closures/moves occurred:

St. Michael Elementary School closed.

Holy Name Child Development Center moved to St. Michael Parish, and became known as an Early Childhood Center.

St. Matthew Middle School closes with the middle school moved to share the high school building on Bridge Street.