A half-dozen Pittsburgh region parochial schools have been honored with the prestigious designation as a top-50 "Honor Roll" high school by the Cardinal Newman Society, based in Manassas, Va. Appearing on the 2012-13 Catholic High School Honor Roll, released Sept. 20, are these local schools:
• Aquinas Academy of Pittsburgh, West Hardies Road in Hampton.
• Geibel High School in Connellsville.
• Oakland Catholic in Pittsburgh.
• St. Joseph High School in Natrona Heights.
• Serra Catholic in McKeesport.
• Quigley High School in Baden.
"It's quite a concentration of schools in one area. Whatever is going on over there, it's good," said Bob Laird, director of programs at the Cardinal Newman Society and manager of the National Catholic Honor Roll.
Aquinas, Oakland and St. Joseph appeared on the list two years ago. Geibel and Serra applied for the first time this year, he said.
The honor roll is released biannually and was begun in 2004 by the society, formed in 1993 to strengthen Catholic identity in higher education.
Of 1,500 Catholic high schools in the United States, some 150 applied for the designation. Schools must apply for the honor roll designation in February and they are judged in these areas:
• Catholic identity -- "Whether the Catholic identity is woven into the fabric of the school as opposed to having a religion class once a week," Mr. Laird said.
• Academic excellence, in terms of the range of classes taught, the qualifications of the teachers and standardized test scores.
• Civics education -- "Looking at classes as well as student participation in civic and service organizations," he noted.
Karen Kane: email@example.com or 724-772-9180.