- Student Life
Sacred Heart Catholic Church dedicated a high school and grade school on September 4, 1904, on the corner of 22nd and Binney Streets. Both schools continued to grow in enrollment and in 1928 a new brick school was built. This building is still used today as Sacred Heart Elementary School. By 1930, enrollment reached 450 and Sacred Heart students were gaining solid reputations, often prevailing in competitions around the city.
World War II brought many changes to America, Omaha, and Sacred Heart School. New wealth swelled growth in the suburbs as the older parts of town lost population. Creighton Prep and Cathedral High Schools brought new competition for the high school. The demographics of the neighborhood continued to change.
By the 1960s, the rapid pace of change took a toll in urban Omaha. The peace of the established, settled neighborhood gave way to social unrest that would test the mettle of parishioners, clergy, school faculty, and families moving into and out of Sacred Heart. Enrollment continued to decline.
The fall of 1969 brought a turn around in grade school enrollment as North Omaha families began to recognize the value of Sacred Heart's individualized education system. More non-Catholic students were enrolling and the majority were minorities.
Father Tom Furlong, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in 1972, decided "something had to be done" if the school was to survive. Father Furlong and Father James Gilg talked with politicians and business people and gave presentations to people of influence as well as civic groups. All the efforts and advice led to the creation of the Christian Urban Education Service (CUES) as a fundraising vehicle for Sacred Heart Elementary School. It was well accepted in the community that Sacred Heart provided an invaluable service to the community and deserved support. Sacred Heart School became a service by the church to the community, not a parish school.
More than 30 years later CUES continues to support Sacred Heart School and its families, providing financial aid so that all parents who seek a private education for their children can attain it.
Taken from A Century of Faith, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Omaha, Nebraska
by James D. Fogarty, 2003