|Joliet Catholic Academy|
|1200 N. Larkin Ave.|
Joliet, Illinois, 60435
|Oversight||Diocese of Joliet|
|President||Sr. Faith Szambelanczyk, O.S.F.|
|Principal||Mr. Jeffrey Budz|
|School Colour(s)||columbia blue |
|Slogan||Inspiring Growth in Knowledge and Faith|
|Athletics conference||East Suburban Catholic Conference|
|Newspaper||The Victory View|
Joliet Franciscan Sisters
Joliet Catholic Academy (Joliet Catholic or JCA) is a coed Catholic High School located in Joliet, Illinois. It is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet. One of the oldest Catholic high schools in the Chicago area, Joliet Catholic is perhaps best known for its prowess in football. Since the advent of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state football playoffs in 1974, JCA has won more state football titles than any other team in the state, with 13 as of 2007.
The modern school is itself the result of a merger between the all girls St. Francis Academy and the all male Joliet Catholic High School, which itself was formerly known as DeLaSalle High School for Boys. It is this merger that results in the school's shared affiliation with the Carmelites and the Joliet Franciscan Sisters.
The Joliet Franciscan Sisters opened St. Francis Academy in 1869 as an all girls school. The academy was founded in a small stone building convent by Mother Mary Alfred Moes, who later would help found the Mayo Clinic. In 1923, the school moved to the campus of the University of St. Francis, which had opened in 1920. In 1956, the school moved to the building at 1200 N. Larkin, which is the current site of JCA.
George Cardinal Mundelein, Archbishop of Chicago, had the Christian Brothers create a new high school for boys as a part of their renovation of St. Patrick Church in Joliet. The school opened in 1918 as DeLaSalle High School for Boys with only two classrooms in the parish center, but moved to a new building in 1927. In 1933, the Carmelites took possession of the school, at which time, the school became Joliet Catholic High School.
In the summer of 1990, Joliet Catholic High School and St. Francis Academy merged to form the modern Joliet Catholic Academy.
In terms of Advanced Placement (AP) courses, the school offers Biology, Chemistry, U.S. History, Government and Politics, and European History. The school also offers one of the two courses in AP English and AP Calculus.
While there are no AP courses offered in foreign languages, students who take a fourth year of study in Spanish, French, or Latin may opt to take the appropriate AP test.
The mens teams at the school are referred to as the Hilltoppers, the same named used by the former Joliet Catholic High School, while the girls teams retain the name used by St. Francis Academy; the Angels. The school is a member of the East Suburban Catholic Conference.
The school sponsors teams for men and women in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Men also compete in baseball, football, and wrestling, while women also compete in softball, and cheerleading. The school also has a competitive dance team, which does not compete under the auspices of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA).
The football and both track & field teams host home games and meets at Joliet Memorial Stadium.
The following teams have finished in the top four of their respective state championship series sponsored by the IHSA:
- baseball •• 3rd place (2007—08); 2nd place (1989—90, 99—2000, 03—04); State Champions (1993—94)
- football •• 2nd place (1992—93, 96—97); State Champions (1975—76, 76—77, 77—78, 78—79, 81—82, 87—88, 90—91, 99—2000, 00—01, 01—02, 03—04, 04—05, 07—08)
- golf (boys) •• 3rd place (1956—57, 59—60); 2nd place (1958—59); State Champions (1957—58)
- softball •• 4th place (1987—88)
- volleyball (girls) •• 4th place (1998—99, 2005—06); 3rd place (1986—87, 2006—07); State Champions (2003—04) State champions (2007—08)
In addition, the school also claims the following
- Dance Team 3rd Place: 2006
- 6 pom pom national titles
- 2 cheerleading national titles
- 1 basketball national title
Of special note, the football team has won more football titles than any other team in the state. Since the start of the IHSA State Tournament for football in 1974, JCA has qualified for the playoffs 31 times (as of 2007-08 season)
 Notable alumni
- Mike Alstott (class of 1992) was an NFL fullback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and was a member of the team which won Super Bowl XXXVII.
- Terry Gannon is a former basketball player for, and current sports announcer for North Carolina State University.
- Mark Grant (class of 1981) was a Major League Baseball pitcher and is now a color commentator for the San Diego Padres.
- Melissa McCarthy is a professional actress
- Ed Mikan was a professional basketball player, playing in the BAA and its successor, the NBA (1948-54). He was the fifth overall pick in the 1948 BAA Draft.
- Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger (class of 1966) is a motivational speaker best remembered as the inspiration for the film Rudy. An early part of the film shows him playing football at Joliet Catholic.
- Tom Thayer (class of 1979) was an NFL offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, and was a member of the team which won Super Bowl XX. He is currently a radio play-by-play announcer for the Chicago Bears
- Allie Quigley (Class of 2004) Currently plays in the WNBA as a member of the Phoenix Mercury. Attended Depaul University and received honors such as Conference USA Freshman of the Year as well as two time first team all Big East.
 Notable Staff
- Gordie Gillespie was the football coach from 1959–86, leading the school to five state titles. He has also served as the head baseball coach at the University of St. Francis (1977–95 and 2006–present). He is the all–time leader in baseball coaching victories among American college coaches, recording his 1,800th career win on April 3, 2009. He was named NAIA "Baseball Coach of the Century", and was named by the Chicago Tribune as the Head Football Coach for the "All-Time Illinois High School Football Team".
- ^ 2008-09 tuition
- ^ "History of JCA"
- ^ Curriculum guide
- ^ IHSA records for Joliet Catholic Academy
- ^ State and national title claims
- ^ IHSA football table of titles
- ^ Mike Alstott page at nfl.com
- ^ 1981 MLB draft
- ^ Ed Mikan stats & bio; basketball-reference.com; accessed 1 January 2009
- ^ Rudy Ruettiger bio
- ^ Tom Thayer bio
- ^ Gillespie earns 1800th victory; 3 April 2009; Associated Press; accessed 4 April 2009
- ^ City of Joliet Hall of Fame: Gordie Gillespie; accessed 4 April 2009
 External links