• History

    1849 - The first Wausau Catholic Mass took place in the home of Walter McIndoe.

    1861 - St. Mary Parish was established as the first established Catholic church in Wausau.

    1883 - St. Mary Parish opened a Catholic school beginning the legacy of Newman Catholic Schools.

    •  St. Mary School was built at a cost of $6,000
    • Five Notre Dame Sisters from Milwaukee came to teach in the new two-story, four classroom structure.

    1883 - 1970 Catholic schools in the Wausau area continued to grow and new parishes were started in our community.

    1955 - Diocese of La Crosse established Newman Catholic High School supported by contributions from area parishes, providing K-12 Catholic school education to families in the area.

    1975 - Two area Catholic parishes, St. James and St. Mary formed for the first unification in Wausau.

    • Parishes shared their resources to offer high quality Catholic school education
    • The former St. James School became St. Francis Cabrini Elementary for students in kindergarten through fourth grade.
    • St. Francis Cabrini Middle School was housed in the former St. Mary School building on Grand Avenue in Wausau serving students in grades 5-8.

    Mid- 1980’s - Catholic parishes, under the leadership of their pastors, began community discussions about expanding the unified system approach initially started between St. James and St. Mary Parishes.

    1987 - Wausau Area Catholic Schools (WACS) unified system was established and supported by eight area Catholic parishes: St. James,  St. Mary, St. Michael, St. Anne, St. Matthew, Holy Name of Jesus, St. Therese, Schofield, and St. Mark, Rothschild.

    Fall 1987 - A unified WACS PreK-12 Catholic school system classes began with an enrollment of 1,359. The system is located within and is under the direction of the Diocese of La Crosse.  As a unified system, all parishes shared their resources to continue the important parish ministry of Catholic school education.

    1992 - Wausau Area Catholic Schools added an Early Childhood Center to its educational programs, offering its first state licensed child care center at St. Therese.  

    July 2004 - Wausau Area Catholic Schools was renamed Newman Catholic Schools (NCS) connecting the schools more closely by sharing the name of the High School (Newman) in each school’s name. The shift in thinking of WACS as a consolidated school system, to Newman as a unified school system, was realized. This work validated the strong commitment Wausau area parishes have held for the ministry of Catholic school education for over 100 years.

    2006 - A second Early Childhood Center was established in Wausau at Holy Name of Jesus Parish.

    2010 - Holy Name Early Childhood Center transitioned to St. Michael Parish.

    Today Newman Catholic Schools remains firmly committed to Catholic school education and has built upon the original elementary program started at St. Mary's in 1883. NCS remains committed to its long-term mission of providing excellence in education in a Catholic school environment, offering high quality faith formation and education to youth in the Wausau area from the cradle to high school graduation. 

    The story which began at St. Mary’s in 1883 is one that has grown, flourished, and continues through today!  The Lord has truly worked through many over the generations to make this possible. We are blessed indeed.

    Newman Catholic Schools: Witness the Difference