HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) – St. Patrick Catholic High School in Harrison County made education history in Mississippi Friday.
"Today to us is a huge celebration of our accomplishments that are rooted in 100 years of history, but putting us on the map," said Principal Bobby Trosclair.
Hundreds of students, parents, and community leaders who came to the celebration at the school Friday had no idea about the announcement. Their invitation only stated that they would be part of an unprecedented event.
"Catholic High School Honor Roll today has announced that St. Patrick High School is one of the top 50 Catholic high schools in America," Trosclair announced.
At that moment, confetti rained on the cheering crowd and a banner unfurled above the stage. Trosclair explained why the school had reason to celebrate.
"We are the first school ever in the state of Mississippi to get this distinction from this organization," said Trosclair.
"It's unprecedented in the history of the local church and the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi, and so we have a great deal to be proud of," said Bishop Roger Morin of the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi.
St. Patrick landed on the top 50 list, out of 1,300 Catholic high schools in the nation. And it is one of only two Catholic schools in the region to make the national honor roll. The school was selected based on three criteria: Catholic identity, civic involvement, and academic excellence.
"This senior class right now has an overall, altogether, overall GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. That is humongous," said Trosclair. "There's no one that compares in this area. So it's big for our small school and the things that we do day in and day out."
The honor is even more significant because St. Patrick opened just three years ago, after two high schools merged.
"It's not any more Mercy Cross and St. John. It's St. Patrick together as a family," said Alex Waldrop, the Senior Class President.
It's a small school family that has earned quite a huge achievement. The national Honor Roll recognizes excellence in Catholic education and it's used as a resource for parents, schools, donors, and colleges. Two years ago, St. Patrick received an Honorable Mention.