Brief History of Roncalli

Established in 1969, through the consolidation of Chartrand High School and Kennedy Memorial High School, Roncalli today serves over 1,100 students. The majority of students are enrolled in a college preparatory curriculum but the school offers a comprehensive curriculum for students of all levels of ability. Since the initiation of the special needs resource program in 1993, over 150 students with a variety of learning disabilities are served through our award winning STARS and Life Academy programs.

Roncalli High School is an interparochial archdiocesan Catholic high school. The term interparochial refers to the fact that the school receives financial and pastoral support, along with the majority of its students, from the 14 parishes that comprise the South Deanery of the Indianapolis Archdiocese. The school is named Roncalli in honor of Angelo Cardinal Roncalli, who, upon being elected pope by the College of Cardinals in 1958, took the name of Pope John XXIII. Blessed Pope John was canonized a Saint on April 27, 2014 and is now known as Saint John XXIII.

Roncalli has been recognized three times by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School.

Roncalli High School, a co-educational, life-preparatory high school, has a long, rich and proud heritage of Catholic education. Its tradition of service to the southside of Indianapolis extends back more than 100 years with the founding of Sacred Heart High School which, in 1966, was renamed John F. Kennedy Memorial High School.

Bishop Chartrand High School was opened in 1962 to serve the growing needs of the suburban south, and soon a vigorous rivalry was born between the two schools.

In 1969 the facilities of these two schools were merged and a new institution was created to provide the very best in educational opportunities. The new school was named (by the students) Roncalli High School in memory of Angelo Roncalli, who is more widely known as Saint John XXIII.

Roncalli High School is a four year inter-parochial high school operated by the Roncalli High School Board of Directors under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Roncalli High School is accredited by the Indiana State Department of Education. Our school is located in a residential, suburban community of Marion County (in Indianapolis) and is approximately ten miles from the center of downtown Indianapolis.

In January 2021, the student body at Roncalli High School selected a new nickname for the school: Roncalli Royals. For the past fifty years Roncalli has been known as the Rebels, however the decision was made to change the name in order to better reflect the school’s Catholic mission as well as the ministry and life of patron Angelo Roncalli, Saint John XXIII.

Choosing this nickname acknowledges Jesus Christ as our King and Our Blessed Mother as our Queen. As Christians we are God’s children by adoption through Jesus (Ephesians 1:5), and this nickname signifies that we participate in His royal, divine mission to build up His Kingdom on Earth.

The high school has been recognized three times as a Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education and the service program earned the “Set A Good Example Award” from the Concerned Businessmen’s Association while the Department of Education bestowed a Special Emphasis Award for the Service Learning program. Roncalli was recognized with an Innovation in Education Award by the National Catholic Education Association in 2012. Most recently, Roncalli was named a Four Star School.