Some History

In the late 1800s, several prominent people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia began to discuss the need for a school to educate women of the Delaware Valley. Father (later Bishop) McDevitt and Mrs. Mary McMichan were the leaders in founding five “High School Centres” in 1901 which paved the way for the building of Catholic Girls High School in 1911. Upon the death of Mary McMichan, the name of the school was changed to John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School in honor of her brother, as she requested. Over thirty-seven thousand young women have earned diplomas and have dedicated their talents and lives to society in such callings as mothers, medical professionals, educators and business executives throughout the nation and the world.

Vision Statement

John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School develops the intellectual, spiritual, and emotional potential of each student within a diverse Catholic academic community.  The Hallahan community works closely with its members to cultivate the leadership potential of each student. Through participation in Hallahan’s deeply rooted traditions, rigorous academics, and broad range of engaging activities and service, each young woman is encouraged to develop a vision for her future and is empowered with the faith and skills necessary to become a productive member of the global community.

Mission Statement

Inspired by a rich diversity and ideal center city location, John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School, through a Catholic values centered curriculum, educates women with faith, purpose, and vision.


Designed by Bishop McDevitt

OUR escutcheon incorporates the time-honored motto of the school, “Aptate Lampades Vestras”, “Keep trimmed your lamps”. Prominent in the seal is a lamp, representing not merely wisdom but Christian learning.  This is shown by the use of Christ’s monogram, the superimposed Greek letters Chi and Rho, which form the handle of the lamp.

Beneath it is an open book, the symbol of education.  The letter Alpha on the first page and the Omega on the last signify that all learning should begin and end with God.  The literary quill and the distaff of industry are on either side of the book, while Our Lady’s lilies occupy the center of the field.  The blue, the white, and the gold of the seal typify the loyalty , the blamelessness, and the integrity which should characterize the lives of the students who claim as patroness of their school, Mary Immaculate.

The Latin inscription, “Fides, Scientia, Modestia, Industria” found on the pages of the book suggests again that the education of the Catholic girl is not in the quest of knowledge alone.  Christian learning is closely allied with modesty, industry, and faith.

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