Vermilion Catholic, a legacy of Mount Carmel, EMPOWERS students to learn and serve Christ, ENGAGES students in a rigorous learning community and guides students to EXCEL in an inclusive, opportunity-driven environment.
Our Vision Statement: Empower, Engage, Excel; Through Christ, We Soar
The Vermilion Catholic Community is committed to the work of the Church through the ministry of education. Its special goal is to “announce the message revealed by God which the Church proclaims; build fellowship in the life of the Spirit; give service to the Christian community and to the entire community” in other words, to teach as Jesus did.
Vermilion Catholic strives to teach the individual to seek the good in all people by helping students develop social acceptance of others regardless of race, color, creed, handicap, national origin, or financial status, in a safe, peaceful environment.
Through the educational process Vermilion Catholic nourishes self-esteem as well as humility in each individual and continues the development of Christian values and God-given talents begun in the home. Self-discipline is recognized as a prime factor in keeping alive the enthusiasm for learning.
The greatest accomplishment Vermilion Catholic can achieve is to foster in partnership with the parents the spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional and physical development of each student, which will enable each to grow into a mature and active Catholic parishioner, capable of serving God, country, and others, now and in the future.
The History of Vermilion Catholic, a legacy of Mount Carmel
More than 120 years ago, the pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church extended an invitation to Mother Theresa Chevrel, the foundress of the Sisters of Mount Carmel to send members of her order to begin a school in Abbeville, Louisiana. Father Alexander Mehault began preparations for a convent building using the lumber from a demolished old Catholic Church. The convent for the Sisters of Mount Carmel on the Place des Beaux Arts (now known as Vermilion Street) was completed in 1885. That same year, four sisters arrived in Abbeville and opened a school with a total enrollment of 40 girls. In 1889, boys were also allowed to attend Mount Carmel. Early tuition was $1.00 per month.
The 20th century saw a strong growth with students in grades 1-12. Mount Carmel gained a reputation for religious development, academic excellence, athletic superiority, and civic pride. In 1940, through the efforts of the Sisters of Mount Carmel, the pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Church and numerous benefactors from Abbeville, a new building and gymnasium were erected right next to the old building. In 1947 Mother Mary Grace came to Mount Carmel as the new principal, and alongside Father LaFleur, Monsignor Paul Fusilier, and Monsignor Ignatius Martin, saw that the school was rapidly growing. In that same year Cabrini Hall was built, permitting the enrollment to increase by two hundred students.
In October of 1949, with the dream of a bigger and greater Mount Carmel School in mind, Mother Mary Grace signed the papers for the purchase of the land on which the present Mount Carmel School is located. By May of 1953, it was evident that the new school being constructed would not accommodate all the students applying for entry, so the old Cabrini Hall was moved from the site of the old school to the site of the new school. In July of 1953, Bishop Jeanmard blessed the cornerstone of the new school. In October of that same year, the dream came true as the new Mount Carmel opened its doors, at the present site, 405 Park Avenue, housing grades kindergarten through 12.
In the mid-1960s, the need to expand classrooms and overall space became necessary again. As expansion was examined, the idea of a new high school separate from Mt. Carmel was explored. Since it would be the only Catholic high school in Vermilion Parish, the name Vermilion Catholic High School was chosen and its doors opened in September 1967. Mount Carmel School continued to serve grades kindergarten through 8th.
Because of a need to accommodate an increase in enrollment, St. Mary Magdalen donated Mouton Hall to Mount Carmel. Under the direction of Monsignor Richard Mouton, the building was moved here in 1984 and housed preschool classes. St. Mary Magdalen’s support illustrated the continued close relationship between Mount Carmel School and Vermilion Catholic High School.
Twenty-nine years later, in 1996, Vermilion Catholic High School was awarded the Presidential Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Award from the United States Department of Education. This distinction confirmed the school’s goal of providing high school students of Vermilion Parish a quality Catholic education.
In 2008, Vermilion Catholic was again recognized for its academic excellence when the school received accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which demonstrates a commitment to offer the best educational environment possible.
AdvancedEd and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation awarded Vermilion Catholic a five year accreditation again in 2015, marking the quality of Vermilion Catholic’s commitment to educational excellence.
The future is bright for Vermilion Catholic, as we will acquire and integrate Mount Carmel School of Abbeville over the next year, forming the only Pre-Kindergarten 3 through 12th grade Catholic School in the lower Acadiana region. The school will be named “Vermilion Catholic, a legacy of Mount Carmel”, bringing our shared history full circle, as we come together to offer new programs, the most advanced technology, and the greatest enrichment opportunities for all of our students.
Today, as we are moving through the 21st century, Vermilion Catholic High School is continuing its long and proud tradition of striving for excellence, and remains committed to continuing the vision and noble tradition of Carmel.