Friendly, welcoming and family-like, Badin High School opened its doors the fall of 1966 in Hamilton, combining all-boys Catholic school Hamilton Catholic and all-girls school Notre Dame High. Badin is named for Stephen T. Badin (1768-1853), the first priest ordained in the United States and known as the Midwestern “Johnny Appleseed of Catholicism.”

It’s the only Catholic high school in Butler County—but its focus is far more than just faith. It’s also about thinking, achieving and leading. In the high school’s class of 2017, 55 students received $100,000 or more in college scholarships, and those students went on to attend 26 schools in 11 states and the District of Columbia. 

“More than 96 percent of our students go on to college, so while we welcome all students, our focus is to prepare and motivate students to attend college,” says Dirk Q. Allen, director of admissions and media relations. “The word I use for Badin is ‘opportunity.’ Students have the opportunity to get involved in the school, to have a memorable high school experience and to be well prepared for the adventure ‘beyond’ high school.”

The class of 2017 had one National Merit Scholarship finalist and three National Merit Commended students. 

“In addition, Andrew Walsh is attending the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Walsh was not only admitted to the Naval Academy, but to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He opted for the Navy,” says Allen.

The school is revamping its service program so the incoming freshman class of 163 students will be involved in an intentional four-year program that focuses on a particular theme and action plan each year. Students are encouraged to grow in their awareness of social justice issues and become “other-centered.” This is during a time when a lot of students are encouraged to only think about themselves and avoid the plight of those around them, notes Allen.

“Other students will continue to do regular and valuable service hours, but this new program will put an even greater emphasis on the importance of service,” Allen says. “Our students are very involved in the school community—more than 90 percent are involved in an extracurricular activity.”

Badin just completed a two-year heritage celebration; the class of 2016 represented the 50th graduating class of the school, and then 2016-17 was the 50th anniversary of the opening of the school. Now at 575 students representing 35 different junior highs and 26 ZIP codes, Badin is rapidly expanding. 

With a growing student base, the school itself will be growing. As far as building expansions go, Badin received the OK from the Archdiocese to proceed with a Student Commons Connector that will be built between the main building and the Pfirman Family Activity Center. 

“It will connect the two facilities and include a nice study and meeting area for students as well as new office space for our counselors and campus ministry,” says Allen. “We’re very excited about this project [which costs $1.2 million or so]. We hope to begin construction in March of 2018 and complete it in a timely fashion in the fall of 2018, weather permitting.”

There are many new programs and courses being added to the Badin curriculum.

“We have added a fourth year of engineering to our curriculum, Engineering Design & Development, so that we now have a four-year engineering program with a national curriculum through Project Lead the Way in Indianapolis,” Allen says. “We’re always looking to improve what we do. We went to an eight-period day a few years ago that has been a major plus for the fine arts program and overall electives in general, in that it gives students an additional opportunity to add a course of interest to their schedule.”

The school has also recently enhanced its STEM offerings through the engineering program and other technology offerings, including Game Theory & Design, Robotics and an Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles class. 

“This is the fifth year that all students have had iPads. We are currently considering how to improve even that 1-to-1 personal technology in coming years,” says Allen. 

All classrooms are equipped with Smartboards and white boards.

“We have focused our professional development the last two years on new apps and programs for the iPad and have seen an increase in technology integration in all classes to help assess student learning and to enrich and extend the classroom experience,” adds Chris Mate, assistant principal for academics. 

Some other school-wide additions include a focus on mental health issues, something that is important for high school students to have access.

“One area of focus has been on student mental health issues, with presentations from Children’s Hospital and Nicole Pfirman from Mason City Schools,” Mate says. 

Allen also notes the music program is terrific, with a curriculum that includes the primary band and Badin Rocks Ensemble, plus a Music Tech class, Piano, Beginning and Advanced Guitar, Jazz Band and Choir.

Badin’s annual Open House is set for Sunday, Oct. 29, from 1-4 p.m. The entire school is open, with faculty on hand, and families can receive a guided student tour or explore on their own. 

“We thrive on the Badin Family aspect of our school—students come from all over, but they come together to become the Badin Family,” says Allen. “When we ask students what their favorite thing about Badin is, that’s typically what they tell us how much they enjoy the friendly, welcoming Badin Community.”

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