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  • The class that missed its senior year
    Frank Spitulski’s life would have been different had an arsonist not burned down North Catholic High School 40 years ago.
  • Vision for a co-ed Catholic high school emerged in late '50s
    One evening in the mid-1950s, Father Francis Maloney sat in a Chinese restaurant on North Lombard Street in Portland.
  • Flagging finances doomed reopening; families felt great pain
    The fire that destroyed North Catholic High School in 1970 was painful. The decision not to rebuild left even deeper wounds.
  • Parents worked hard, saw beauty of North Catholic High School
    On occasion, a handful of gray-haired men meet for lunch at the Fishwife restaurant on North Lombard Street. They talk fish, sports, ailments, grandchildren and their beloved Catholic faith. And they reminisce about North Catholic High School, which they helped establish and where they sent their children.
  • Spirit of North Catholic High inspires young school
    The education at North Catholic High School was a special one, according to graduates, and they hope for the same for students at De La Salle North Catholic High School. A healthy portion of the young school’s financial supporters are North Catholic graduates, who after their own building burned down in 1970, no longer had a physical location to focus their support.
  • School like a 'small town'
    The old gym from North Catholic High School is still standing, having been used as a community center. Not long ago, Royal alumni gathered there and played some of the old music that had filled the same building for dances in the 1960s. “There was a lot of bonding,” says Meridee Kaiel, a 1969 graduate who grew up just a few blocks from North Catholic and recently bought her old family home. “A lot of us are still friends. I see people at work and church all the time.”
  • Closeness at North bonds sweeties for life
    Michelle Sosinski and her husband Gary are high school sweethearts who are still happily married after 40 years. That’s a pretty rare and special occurrence. But during a North Catholic High School reunion-planning meeting, Michelle began looking around and realized they weren’t alone. There were at least three other couples in the room that had been together since they were teens.
  • Unique teachers fostered closeness at North
    The fire that destroyed North Catholic High School happened in the early morning hours of July 14, 1970. “I was, without a doubt, the last person in the school,” said Father Karl Schray, who regularly stayed behind and worked late. “That night I’d gone home for dinner, and come back because I was the head counselor. All my paper work was there, so it was just easier to do work there.”
  • Fire altered course of Catholic life in district
    On the morning of July 14, 1970, an arsonist’s angry flames destroyed Portland’s only co-educational Catholic high school.
    North Catholic High would not rise from the ashes. That displaced 430 students and broke the hearts of North Portland families. But the idea of boys and girls studying together in Catholic secondary schools would win out within a dozen years.
© 2014 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press