Vincentian Academy

In 1932, athletes from 17 countries competed in the third Winter Olympics; Amelia Earhart became the first woman to complete a transcontinental flight; Babe Ruth pointed to centerfield and hit a home run into those bleachers; Groucho Marx performed on the radio for the first time. Also, on November 14, Vincentian High School, a private, independent, Catholic boarding school for girls, opened in the North Hills. Today, when things change so rapidly and so many other Catholic high schools have disappeared, it is exceptional that Vincentian Academy is celebrating 85 years of providing outstanding Catholic education. What is Vincentian’s secret? Excellence—it is the common denominator throughout Vincentian Academy’s History. 


The Vincentian Sisters of Charity (who were merged into The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth) founded Vincentian High School primarily for young women to foster their vocations to the sisterhood. However, by the 1950s, the school was providing a superior education to young women who were exploring a variety of vocations. Families throughout the area recognized that a Vincentian education offers students opportunities that were not available in the mill towns that were numerous in the region. These boarding students helped boost the school’s enrollment to nearly 200 girls. Its business curriculum won acclaim from regional employers and colleges, and the mandatory study of Slovak was attractive to the large Eastern European communities that dotted the area.

In 1959, the high school moved from the Vincentian Motherhouse building into a newly constructed building, the current location. With a new gymnasium, Vincentian began competing in basketball, and later introduced other competitive sports teams. Enrollment increased as the school continued to enjoy popularity with the growing Catholic population in the northern area of the city. In the 1960s, the increasing population in the northern suburbs further increased the high school’s enrollment. In 1971, Vincentian made its exceptional education opportunities available to young men as well.

While providing more than two decades of exceptional coeducational opportunities, the administration sought to further improve the quality of education at the high school. In 1995, the Vincentian Sisters of Charity entered into a partnership with Duquesne University. As a result of that 15-year partnership, Vincentian Academy developed the International Baccalaureate Degree Program (IB) as its core curriculum. During that time, the Academy became a ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth because the Vincentian Sisters merged into the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in 2008.

Today, during the school’s 85th anniversary, Vincentian Academy is a shining example of what a 21st century Catholic high school should be. With a globally recognized IB program, Vincentian Academy thoroughly prepares students for a college education. The IB program is one of many examples of how Vincentian has grown and adapted to ensure that its students receive an exceptional education. “We are the only Catholic IB World High School in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and we have a 100 percent college admissions rate,” said Mrs. Canton, Principal/Head of School. “Our graduates go on to attend the top colleges and universities in the nation and world.”

Today’s Academy is vastly different from the high school that opened in 1932. Every student has a laptop, and the school has a newly renovated computer lab. Recently formed partnerships allow Vincentian Academy to provide additional courses in technology, engineering, and robotics. Students come from locations around the world seeking a Vincentian education. Along with its rigorous curriculum, Vincentian Academy has a top-notch performing arts program, 35 clubs, and a successful athletic program, fielding 17 sports. The Royals have earned numerous WPIAL and PIAA state titles, including back-to-back PIAA state championships in girls’ basketball, three PIAA cross-country championships, and the 2016 PIAA state championship in baseball.

To learn more about Vincentian Academy, visit us at Open House on January 21, 2018 or visit our website at