Bishop Watterson High School, the first coeducational diocesan high school in Franklin County, opened its doors in the fall of 1954. Bishop Michael Joseph Ready not only mandated that the school be established, but also directed that it be named in honor of Bishop John Ambrose Watterson who served as the second Bishop of Columbus from August 8, 1880 until his death on April 17, 1899.
Bishop Watterson was known as a spiritual leader, sympathetic listener, scholar, and able administrator who was dedicated to Catholic education. He increased the number of diocesan schools because he saw them as essential to the moral and intellectual development of young Catholics. It is certainly fitting that our school has been named for him.
This tradition of excellence is also a tribute to the leadership and vision of our principals. Monsignor Edward Spiers, the first principal, imbue the school with a commitment to the moral and intellectual development of its students. Monsignor Kenneth Grimes, Mr. John Durant and Ms. Marian Hutson gave many years of service to the Bishop Watterson community, carrying on and strengthening that commitment. Today, Deacon Chris Campbell ’77 leads his alma mater as principal, guided by Catholic tradition and inspired by his passion for the Bishop Watterson community.
The success of our graduates, the hours of community service, the scholarships received, the plaques on the lobby walls, the banners in the gym, the trophies in the cases – all are testimony to the dedication of our staff and students and proof that a rich heritage, begun in 1954, is alive and well today.
Bishop John A. Watterson
Second Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus
- Born in Blairsville, Pa., on May 27, 1844, Bishop Watterson was the 6th child of John and Mary McAfee Watterson.
- Bishop Watterson was ordained a priest on August 9, 1868 for Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pa.
- He founded more parishes and schools than any other Columbus Bishop.
- He was a firm believer in Catholic education and made it his practice to establish Catholic schools whenever possible.
- Bishop Watterson was the first Catholic Bishop ever to speak at The Ohio State University.
- He was a dynamic speaker – Catholics and Protestants would gather on the OhioStatehouse lawn on Sunday afternoons to hear him talk about some point of religion, book he read, or places he visited.
- His first act as Bishop of Columbus was to confirm 116 children at St. Mary Parish…ironically his last act as Bishop was to confirm 111 children at St. Mary Parish the day before he died on April 17, 1899.
- Bishop Watterson is buried at Mt. Calvary Cemetery located near downtown Columbus.
- Christ is the reason for this school – the unseen, but ever-present teacher in its classes – the model of its faculty and the inspiration of its students.
- The faculty and staff of Bishop Watterson High School understand and respect Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching.
- Bishop Watterson High School shows its Catholic identity through Christian inspiration, knowledge of the Catholic faith, faithfulness to the Christian message as it comes through the Church, and an institutional commitment to service.
- Bishop Watterson High School provides a positive learning environment that fosters opportunities for administrators, faculty, staff, parents, and students to share in the responsibility for advancing the school’s Catholic mission.
- Student learning and moral, spiritual, intellectual and social development are the primary focuses in decision-making impacting the work of the school.
- Students learn in different ways and are provided with a variety of instructional approaches and types of assessment to challenge them to learn and support in their learning.
- All students have the opportunity to learn and to assume responsibility in making educational choices for success.
- Students are provided with opportunities for critical thinking so that they can apply what they have learned in all aspects of their education-moral, spiritual, intellectual and social.
- Bishop Watterson High School is a safe, supportive, and challenging learning environment which gives students opportunities to become confident, self-directed, and life-long learners.
Restore all things in Christ by educating in the Catholic tradition through
prayer, service and study.
Let us praise our Alma Mater
Proudly we behold,
Sing and honor her forever
Garb’d in red and gold.
We her loyal sons and daughters
‘Round her colors come.
Hail to thee, our Alma Mater,
Hail to Watterson!
From her standards we have gathered
Faith and courage strong;
Pressing on to greater ages
Holding to one throng.
Through her halls our echoes raising
Bursting forth in song –
Hail to thee, our Alma Mater,
Hail to Watterson!
Lyrics by Patricia Huhn ’61 Niekamp
We seek to become your holy dwelling for the nourishment of our Catholic school community.
Bound by FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE, we desire to do your will and promote the spiritual fulfillment of our students, parents, alumni, and those we serve.
Help us, Lord, to know and share the truths of our faith.
We pray this with your Holy Spirit and through the Sacred Heart and Holy Name of your Son, Jesus Christ.
We commend ourselves through the prayerful intercession of Mary, the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Peace; and your beloved Saints Agatha, Andrew, Brendan, Brigid of Kildare, Dominic, Francis of Assisi, Joan of Arc, Michael, Peter, Timothy, and our patron, Pius X.