Today's Learners. Tomorrow's Leaders.

Cardinal Mooney Bulletin for August 1st, 2021

Revamped Purpose Driving Mooney

Dear Parents, Alumni, and friends,

Abraham Lincoln observed “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

Looking back at how far we’ve come since I arrived, it’s easy to view our progress as inevitable — and to forget the 426 days we’ve strived to get to this point. And if distance obscures details behind us, seeing ahead comes into more focus with each passing day.

A little more than a year ago, I returned to Ohio — much to the surprise of those who know how much I despise the cold! I was called back, though, and the Mooney Family welcomed me with warmth and kindness.

To connect with my new Family, I traveled from the city, through the Mahoning Valley, and out in every direction as far as Texas and Arizona. Each introduction and every experience has reaffirmed my purpose and the providence of this institution I lead to spread its unmatched power to change lives.

Cardinal Mooney’s ability to transform individual lives, to build strong communities, and to be in service of others through its graduates, is without question. As we prepare for our next academic year, we are sentient of our profound duty to educate the next generation of citizens and to meet pressing needs, wherever they arise.

Just as Mooney has changed lives, so too are we changed. In the nearly 65 years since Cardinal Mooney was founded, our mission has surely evolved — and we are not alone in that experience. All schools have evolved with the changing needs of our students and the world into which they graduate — a world that seems to be changing more rapidly.  It is more vexing, complex, and too frequently it’s more nettlesome than ever before. So, while institutional change is not new, what is required of us has changed dramatically, and nearly overnight.

Throughout this year I will be calling for each of us to rethink the nature of Catholic education in light of unprecedented societal needs and cultural changes, and then to act.

Here’s why:

There is a belief/theory in education (and politics) dating back to Plato, understood by St. Ignatius, Abraham Lincoln, and John Dewey that you educate today for the future that you want. In other words, “inputs” matter — and they matter a lot.

Cardinal Mooney, a Catholic institution, takes the long view.  We’re educating for college — and for heaven.

Our transformative view of education means we care not only what our students learn, but who they become. This “personalism” (respect for the dignity of the human person) is central to our faith and school.

In a world that tends to reduce the individual to the status of a mere instrument, or docile servant of the state, a Mooney education is more than acquiring knowledge and skills.  We cultivate our students’ active power to help them find meaning and happiness in their lives. Input matters.

We believe that there can be no synthesis of knowledge without reference to God. Revealed truth remains the basis of Mooney’s educational philosophy — “upon this rock of Catholicism” — as expressed in our three pillars of Sanctity, Scholarship, and Discipline and how we prepare students for the world beyond our halls. Input matters.

The children in Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley deserve lives as rich as our community’s history and as strong as those who built it. They deserve the economic security that comes from quality education. They deserve adult mentoring that will allow them to approach life’s starting line on even footing with their peers around the country.

With that in mind, we look forward to welcoming students back to campus on Aug. 19 and 20 for orientation and on the first day of class Aug. 23. A lot of work has been done in preparation for the new academic year.

I want to share a few of the landmarks that suggest Mooney’s upward trajectory:

The incoming Class of 2025 are some of the best-prepared students in Mooney’s recent history.

  • By design, we were more intentional in handpicking students who would thrive at Mooney.
  • They come from over 15 different middle schools.
  • The Class includes the first Mooney Merit Scholars — young men and women who were among the top of their eighth-grade classes and selected from a competitive field of applicants.

The Class of ’22 is entering the year having performed well on the PSAT and ACT.

  • With an avg gain on the PSAT of 89.5 pts. from 2019 – 2020
  • ACT composite average gain of two points.
  • They have realized both individual and aggregate achievement gains.

Retention rate is the highest in the past ten years.

Enrollment from outside our partner schools is up significantly over past years, nearly 35%.

Thanks to targeted investments in excellence:

  • Five faculty members attended enhanced AP training this summer.
  • We gained efficiencies in operations that allowed us to reinvest over $250k back into the school.
  • The Armory Project raised over $250k in private donations and is now used for training our men and women student athletes.

Our new schedule is designed to align curricular structures and support student learning.

We finished FY 20-21 operationally sound giving us a vantage point from which to plan and act for the future.

In this pivotal moment, one rife with possibilities, I’m calling on all Mooney supporters to these action items:

  • We must embrace our strengths and tackle our challenges and opportunities in the firm faith that Mooney makes a difference;
  • remember that those who came before us showed resilience;
  • and in today’s often contentious atmosphere, to embrace resilience by applying ourselves to the cause we all share.

With a renewed sense of purpose, Mooney is proceeding in the right direction. And in true Mooney “daring” fashion we can move Mooney forward.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all back on campus, continuing the dialogue started last year, and sharing our students’ successes with you.

God bless you all — and go Cardinals.


Tom Maj
Cardinal Mooney High School


Click here to download our full August 1, 2021 bulletin (PDF Format)