Texas’ first Catholic career, technical high school hosts open house event Feb. 17

February 13, 2024

Univision community program host Grace Olivares interviews Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Office Director of Student Support Services Benita Gonzales and student Max Guevara, member of the first class of St. Peter Catholic High School, in January. They discussed family financial assistance available for all Catholic schools and the Feb. 17 Open House at the new school. (Photo courtesy of Catholic Schools Office)

HOUSTON — St. Peter Catholic High School, a career and technical school featured both on local TV as well as a national news story, is celebrating its first Open House for a newly renovated multimillion-dollar building.

Archdiocesan officials are inviting the public and interested families to tour the campus at 6220 La Salette St. and Old Spanish Trail in Houston on Saturday, Feb. 17, from 1 to 3 p.m.

“We are combining the Archdiocese’s academic excellence with the latest in technological trends to prepare students both academically and for the workforce,” said founding principal Dr. Marc Martinez.

The 10-acre campus is welcoming its first class of incoming freshmen who will graduate as the Class of 2027. The school has a goal of 50 or more students to begin with.

Catholic School Superintendent Dr. Debra Haney said that, in 2018, she spoke with the only other four-year co-educational, vocational Catholic high school in the U.S. when St. Peter was being planned. Information provided by staff at Mercy Career & Technical School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, served as part of the strategic plan for the local business model.

“Since January 2022, the Archdiocesan Catholic School Office has been working with the St. Peter Board of Trustees to raise up to $12 million to renovate, furnish and equip the former St. Peter the Apostle Catholic School, upgrading it from an elementary and middle school to a state-of-the-art high school,” she said.

Both Mercy Career & Technical as well as St. Peter were highlighted in a recent national Catholic news story on how vocational training and technical certifications in construction and other businesses are resurging.

Dr. Martinez said rising costs in college, which may not be suitable for everyone, and shortages of skilled workers in the labor market, have educators reviewing what students want to train for. Several generous donors have helped St. Peter from the start, including the Scanlan Foundation and Shea Homes, a national home-build construction company.

Now, the two-story brick building is being turned into a state-of-the-art high school, focusing on information technology and web development; business, marketing, and finance; architecture and construction; education and training; and other major subjects.

The school is designed to accommodate up to 200 students during Phase 1, beginning with an incoming first-year class of 50 students.

As enrollment grows, Phase 2 will add a transportation, distribution, and logistics career path. Phase 3 would add health, science, and pharmacy technology.

Project-based learning and hands-on experience with industry-standard software and technology will be available for students to be professionally competent in their chosen career paths, said St. Peter school board chair Mark Letsos. Students can choose to go on to associate degree programs or four-year colleges, or they can go directly into the workforce with certifications to do jobs that are needed by industry, Letsos said, an operations manager at Johnston, LLC, business, engineering, and architectural consultants.

Two eighth graders from St. Christopher Catholic School were among the first students accepted to St. Peter Catholic, and they participated in the high school’s groundbreaking last March.

Arturo Alonso, 14, said he plans to study architecture and construction, and wants to earn a certification in HVAC.

Logan Whitley, 13, is interested in the business, marketing, and finance career path. Whitley said, “I want to be an accountant and own my own business.”

Possible partnerships with interested businesses can offer internships to students. Companies can have opportunities for their own experts to be specialized instructors at the school to train students for the workplace.

St. Peter Catholic High School was designed by the Archdiocese and community partners to be affordable to all students and families who are seeking a Catholic secondary education.

The school will not only serve Houston’s Catholic community students but will be available to all students and families seeking an alternative to public high school, high-cost private school, or charter school. For additional information, including how to apply to the school, visit stpeterhs.org.