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Messmer High School

In 1926, Messmer High School was established as the first Catholic high school by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The school grew to over 1,200 students during the 1940s until enrollment declined to less than 200 students in the mid-1980s.

The Archdiocese decided to close the school in 1984 due to low enrollment. A group of parents, friends, and alumni re-opened the school as an independent Catholic high school. Starting with an initial enrollment of 115 students, the high school has grown to nearly 700 students.

Messmer Preparatory Catholic School

In 2000, Messmer added Messmer Preparatory Catholic School, serving grades K4-8, to form Messmer Catholic Schools.  Located in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee, Messmer Prep now boasts an enrollment of over 400 students.

St. Rose and St. Leo Catholic School

In 2007, at the request of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Messmer assumed management of St. Rose and St. Leo, then known as the Catholic Urban Academies. Now fully integrated as part of Messmer Catholic Schools, St. Rose and St. Leo Catholic School has an enrollment of over 400, allowing even more of Milwaukee’s youth to receive a high quality education.


1926 - Archbishop Messmer establishes Diocesan High School (now Messmer High School) with 166 students.

1928 - Diocesan High School renamed Messmer High School after Archbishop Sebastian Gebhard Messmer.

1940 - Enrollment reaches all-time high with two shifts of classes to accommodate more than 1,400 students and no freshman classes.


1980 - Messmer begins to see a steady decline in student enrollment.

1984 - Archdiocese of Milwaukee announces the closure of Messmer High School and Save Messmer Committee is formed.

1984 - With support from the DeRance Foundation, the Messmer school building is purchased from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

1985 - Messmer High School reopens with 115 students and 16 faculty members and becomes the first independent Catholic school in Milwaukee.

1995 - Messmer High School becomes the first religious school accepted into School Choice program.

1998 - Archbishop officially recognizes Messmer as an independent Catholic school.


1999 - Messmer Catholic Schools is established to oversee Messmer High School and the new Messmer Preparatory Catholic School (formerly St. Mary Czestochowa).

2007 - Messmer Catholic Schools assumes management of St. Rose and St. Leo schools at the request of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

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