Welcome to Aquinas High School & Middle School. Though I have spent nearly the entirety of my professional life in Catholic education, the 2022-2023 school year will be my first at Aquinas. I am incredibly excited to learn what makes our school community vibrant, innovative and faith-filled. In order to get to know me a bit better, I want to share with you one of my favorite parables - the Parable of the Sower:
One of my favorite parables of Jesus is the Parable of the Sower:
On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
-- Matthew 13:1-9
Jesus’ words in the parable of the sower are so powerful. They are meant as a reflection on how to receive the gift of God’s grace, as represented by a seed. Yet, they have power too in describing the seeds of knowledge and faith that our Catholic schools, like Aquinas High School, plant.
Our teachers do their best to plant the seeds on rich soil. These seeds, once grown, will ultimately enable our students to be successful in this world (whatever path they choose) and be with God in the next. Yet, our students play a key role in ensuring that happens. At Aquinas, we challenge our students to ask the tough questions: If this is your soil, what are you doing to make it rich and fertile? Are you willing to shoe away the “birds” in your life who try to eat those seeds? Are you making sure your soil is not “rocky” and it's free from “thorns,” so that those seeds, our teachers and staff work so hard to plant, can take root and flourish?
The Catholic education our students receive is a tremendous gift – but without proper care, it’s only a seed; it’s up to them to make sure it bears an abundance of fruit in their life and the life of others.
May God bless you, your families, and our Aquinas Schools,
The mission of the Aquinas Catholic Schools Foundation, an independent tax-exempt organization, is to promote and ensure that high quality Catholic education is made affordable and accessible to all in the
La Crosse Diocese through the Aquinas Catholic Schools.
The Aquinas mission is accomplished by ensuring that donors’ funds are utilized according to their wishes, investing entrusted donations in a prudent and effective manner to maximize their benefit, and, through active fund raising, maintain the affordability of education costs within the means of all families who desire a Catholic education.
Mr. Andrew Bradley
Aquinas High School & Aquinas Middle School
Bachelor's of Art in Government - Georgetown University
Master's of Education in Secondary Education - University of New Mexico
Master's of Education in Educational Leadership - Arizona State University
1st year with Aquinas Catholic Schools
15 years of Administrative & Teaching experience
Aquinas Catholic Schools is a Christ-Centered learning community carrying out a fundamental mission of the Church to educate, challenge and inspire students in the Catholic Tradition of Faith, Service, and Academic Excellence.
When Bishop Alexander McGavick came to Aquinas High School in 1922, he wanted to build a four-year Catholic high school in La Crosse to replace the two-year Catholic high school at Holy Trinity. By 1925, a building committee of Arthur Funke, Joseph Leinfelder, and John C. Burns had begun planning.
In 1927, the land for Aquinas High School was purchased from the Coleman Lumber Company. The architectural firm of Parkinson and Dockendorf drew blueprints, and Peter Nelson Construction Company built the school. The original wing, completed at a cost of $200,000 is a Tudor Gothic building trimmed in Bedford stone.
Aquinas High School was dedicated Sunday afternoon September 2, 1928, at 3 p.m. Bishop McGavick blessed the rooms. Two days after the dedication, 127 students were enrolled. Originally staffed by diocesan clergy and the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Aquinas High School provided a well-rounded curriculum.
Blue and gold were chosen as school colors during an all-school assembly on September 17, 1928. On March 16, 1929, the girls first appeared in their official uniforms – navy blue serge dresses with white collars and cuffs.
In 1929, the first graduating class of Aquinas High School consisted of four girls. The number of students attending was 192, the same number that graduated in 1978.
During the 1930’s, students came to Aquinas High School from as far away as Bloomfield, Montana, Minneapolis, and Canada. The girls at this time used the south stairway, and the boys used the north.
The first intra-city football game on September 23, 1934, against Central, ended in a tie. The first game against Logan was October 26 of the same year. Some 2,000 people saw the first city football game to be played under the lights. Aquinas High School lost, 25-0.
The student council was organized on October 7, 1936. The bronze statue of Christ the King was erected and dedicated outside of Aquinas High School in May 1938, and the first Aquinas High School graduate to become a priest, Philip Leinfelder, was ordained in 1938.
Building renovations and additions kept up with the growing student body. The building was enlarged in 1931, when the wing along Cameron Avenue, including the chapel, food lab, and rooms 297, 208, 301, and 302, were added. In 1936, the Cass Street Wing was extended. It included guidance offices and rooms 215, 216, 309, and 310. The third addition included the old gym, tunnel, Cameron Street entrance, library, ERC, and rooms 311, 312, and 313. In 1954, the commons and rooms 201 through 206 were added.
In the 1980’s, an extensive renovation of the interior and windows of the main building was undertaken, and in 1992, the renovation was completed throughout the building as room was set aside for Aquinas Middle School, located in the second floor hallways and opened in 1992.
On May 9, 1996, Bishop Raymond L. Burke announced that D. B. and Marge Reinhart had donated $3 million to kick off a $7.3-million building campaign for the construction of Bishop Burke Hall. The new facility was built on the corner lot of West Avenue and Cass Street and included the Reinhart Athletic Complex, a 1,000-seat gymnasium, new locker room facilities, a weight room, and a multi-purpose wrestling room. Also, a new music complex with separate vocal and instrumental, as well as several individual practice rooms, was added. To accommodate growing enrollment, 10 new classrooms, two science labs, and a shared computer lab became part of this expansion project. Due to the generosity of more than 1,100 benefactors, the goal was reached, and on September 12, 1997, Bishop Burke Hall was dedicated.
On Monday, May 13, 2002, Bishop Raymond L. Burke dedicated the life-size bronze sculpture of Saint Thomas Aquinas to the Aquinas Schools that is located in front of the music complex, facing Cass Street. Bruce Thomas of Minneapolis, Minn., created the sculpture. Bishop Burke blessed the sculpture and then led a procession of friends, faculty, and students to the Reinhart Athletic Complex, where he thanked all those who worked so diligently on the sculpture since 1996.
The Aquinas Chapel underwent renovations in 2007 thanks to an anonymous donation of $15,000. A confessional, sacristy, and stained glass windows were added, and improvements were made to the lighting and new carpet. In 2008, Aquinas upgraded and enhanced its technology offerings. An anonymous $100,000 donation matched by the Aquinas Schools Foundation made it possible to purchase new desktop and laptop computers, two SMART Boards, LCD projectors, and numerous other hardware and software upgrades.
On September 9, 2008, Aquinas High School was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Aquinas was given the prestigious honor for its academic excellence and ACT scores in the top 10% of the nation. Of 130,000 high schools in the nation, 320 were named National Blue Ribbon Schools in 2008, and Aquinas was one of only three private high schools to receive the honor.
OF PERPETUAL ADORATION
THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS
When Aquinas High School opened in 1928, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration became part of the first Aquinas High School faculty, which began the long tradition of Franciscan presence, shaping the present Aquinas High School community.
A group of three sisters grew in numbers, as the school added to its enrollment and peaked to 33 in the 1950s. With the decline in school population and in vocations, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration at Aquinas High School began to decrease in numbers until 1992, when the last sister on the staff, Sister Lucille Kleinheinz, retired from active duty.
The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration presence at Aquinas High School was revived in the fall of 2012 when Sister Julia Walsh joined the religion department faculty. In addition to being an almost total Franciscan presence for many years, the sisters also chaired every department from art to biology to world history and yearbooks with the exception of sports. Moreover, the sisters were part of the administration holding the position of vice principal until Sister Celine Schumacher's retirement in 1978.
Every sister who taught at Aquinas High School throughout the years was degreed and fully prepared both academically and theologically to educate our modern youth.
In addition to its professionals, Aquinas High School also graduated many young women who were gifted with a religious vocation to the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.
The total number of sisters engaged in teaching at Aquinas High School since its beginning is 175.
OUR HIGH SCHOOL CREST
The Aquinas High School crest, designed in 1942, symbolizes the depth of intent of Catholic education. It first appeared in the yearbook, the TRUMPET, and on the 1943 class rings.
The cross, which holds the central and most prominent position on the crest, identifies Aquinas High School as Catholic and indicates the importance of the faith and redemption of which it is a symbol.
XP, the first two letters (chi and rho) of the Greek word for Christ, signify that the life of a Christian should not be egocentric or world centric but Christ centric, centered around Christ. The fleur-de-lys, the symbol of sanctity and virtue, symbolize God, man's final end, and the Blessed Virgin, model of virtue. The lamp of learning and the books are symbols of knowledge and learning. The laurel over the books symbolizes reward and the lilies of the valley on the other side of the aureole symbolize humility.
"We are the friends of Christ. We have learned His spirit in chapel, in classroom, in hall, and gymnasium."
Rooted in faith and based in excellence, the spirit of Aquinas High School tradition and grown and spread immeasurably since the schools inception in 1927. The nearly 13,000 graduates in a multiplicity of professions from religion to business to medicine to education to law to entertainment have spread those high standards which are so much a part of the Aquinas High school experience throughout the world. The common memories, of Sisters' influence, of Father's jokes, of class Masses and meetings, of games and dances, of the dress code, the commons, and the classroom, serve to unite us all in experience, we each will always carry with us a bit of that special spirit that is Aquinas High School.