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Image courtesy: Mike Day. Kendall C. Day family collection.
WAHLERT HIGH SCHOOL. The largest high school in the Dubuque Archdiocese, Wahlert was designed in 1959 by the Durrant Group and constructed at a cost of $2.75 million. The Christian symbol of the fish is displayed on two percent of the bricks used in the school display.

Planning for the construction of Wahlert started at a meeting on June 17, 1955, with discussions between Archbishop Leo BINZ and pastors of the Dubuque parishes about the deteriorating state of the existing parochial high school buildings. A second meeting on July 1st concerned the site for the school. On July 13 it was announced that H. W. (HARRY) WAHLERT would donate one quarter of a million dollars toward the construction of a new high school for Catholic students in Dubuque.

The high school, covering 222,860 square feet, was constructed on fifty acres across from the intersection of Chaney Road and Kane Street. The final cost of the project was $3,250,000 toward which each of the parishes made contributions. The official name of the school was announced on February 25, 1959, when the archbishop, with the unanimous endorsement of the Council of Administration, named the school in honor of Harry Wahlert. The opening day for the school was August 31, 1959, although classes first met on September 3.

Wahlert's Reserved Officer' Training Corps (ROTC) detachment, dating from its beginning at Columbia College (now LORAS COLLEGE), made it the nation's oldest junior ROTC unit. Relations between the high school and the Department of the Army were ended on July 1, 1963.

In 1974 Wahlert was selected as one of twenty schools in the United States to participate in the National Humanities Faculty's two-year bicentennial study of "The American Covenant: The Moral Uses of Power." Wahlert was one of two Roman Catholic schools chosen from the one hundred that applied to participate.

In 1998 the first class to spend four years under Wahlert's outcomes-based education became seniors. The program required graduating seniors to demonstrate mastery of a subject to pass a test or class. To graduate, each student also had to produce a portfolio of their work and make a major presentation. (1)

Wahlert, accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, the Iowa Department of Education and the ARCHDIOCESE OF DUBUQUE, is governed by a board elected by the fourteen Dubuque area parishes who support the school financially. During the 1989-90 academic year, the school enrolled 973 students from Dubuque and the tri-state region.




1. Krapfl, Mike. "Seniors Present a Look Beyond Grades," Telegraph Herald, March 26, 1998, p. 1. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19980326&printsec=frontpage&hl=en