History of VRCS

100 Years of Catholic Education right here in Venango County.


Our History

No history of Venango Catholic High School would be complete without first referencing St. Joseph High School. St. Joseph High School was officially dedicated on October 19, 1930. It had been the vision of Fr. Driscoll, then-pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Oil City, to build a high school to accommodate the growing community and to provide an education that would continue beyond St. Joseph Academy. Over the years St. Joseph High School flourished, so much so that the school eventually outgrew its building. Due to the increase in attendance, St. Joseph High School officially graduated its last class in the spring of 1962, and Venango Catholic High School opened its doors in the fall of the same year.

In 1958, the diocese of Erie purchased 55 of the most beautiful, wooded acres in the West End of Oil City. On 10 of the acres, the diocese constructed a 400 foot-long brick structure in the form of a semi-circle, consisting 1,100,000 cubic feet. On the 4th of September in the year of our Lord 1962, the doors of Venango Christian High School were opened to 442 students. Archbishop Gannon officially dedicated the school on September 16, 1962. He stated, “This school will be open to all Faiths, free to worship God, privately in any way they wish.”
Venango Catholic has had six Headmaster’s since the schools creation in 1962. The first was Fr. Lawrence J. Antoun who guided the school from 1962 until 1975. Fr. Antoun died in 1986 and the auditorium/gymnasium at Venango Catholic is now named after him. Dr. James Ruby succeeded him and led the school until 1989. Mr. Robert Haas was in charge of the school until 1992, and has since passed on to our Lord after his retirement from education. Fr. John (Jay) Schultz was Headmaster until 1999, when Fr. John P. Malthaner took over. Fr. Malthaner served as Headmaster from 1999 – 2012, when Fr. Shane Mathew, served as Headmaster, until June 2016. Mr. Brian Slider previously served as an acting Headmaster in August 2016.

When the Venango Region Catholic School system was formed in 2019, Laura Blake was named President of VRCS. Dominic Varacallo is the current President of VRCS beginning in November 2022.

The school has always used uniforms, although the style and color of the uniforms has changed slightly over the 50 year history of the school. In addition to the uniforms, most alumni will remember their education here in the Phasing System, which the school implemented in 1965. It was a cutting edge educational format that created a lot of interest from other schools.

In 2001, the official name of the school was changed from Venango Christian High School to Venango Catholic High School. The move was meant to identify the specific faith of the school, but the inclusion of any and all faiths is still an important tenet of the school today.
webhistorysportsVCHS is incredibly proud of its history, including the strong alumni community of St. Joseph High School and VCHS. We have alumni who own their own businesses, are CEO’s of companies, and are priests, nuns, coaches, teachers, moms and dads who are trying to raise their children with morals and integrity. We have the singular delight of teaching the children of alumni, who have sent their children to VCHS to get the quality education they themselves received.

Venango Region Catholic School is eternally grateful to all who continue to support this excellent educational institution with their time, talent, and resources. We are incredibly proud of our history and our contributions to the surrounding community, and we look forward to a bright and successful future.



Catholic schools strive to help students develop both spiritually and academically. Research shows that students who attend Catholic schools are more likely to practice their faith, consider a religious vocation and be involved in their communities. Catholic schools are a place where students learn, serve, lead and succeed.


The learning experience at our Catholic schools is personalized to your child’s unique needs. Students who need more help can receive it. Students who need more rigor will be given it. Over time, your child will be nurtured to achieve his or her highest potential. This translates into greater opportunities that span a lifetime.


Large enough to have what you want, small enough to be what you need – that’s our school system! It also means that your child will have lots of opportunities to participate in top-notch athletic, performing arts, extracurricular and service activities. Your child’s learning experience will be enriched by opportunities to learn world languages, music, visual arts, robotics and more.


Following Christ’s example, each student is cherished for his or her unique talents and interests. Families find sustenance and fuel for growth by participating actively in the school and its supporting parishes. Grants and scholarships make Catholic education accessible to families of all income levels.

Did you know?

For St. Joseph

  • That St. Joseph High School’s colors were green and gold.
  • That the school was funded in large part by Henry McSweeney, a friend of Fr. Driscoll’s.
  • That student athlete Forey Hall went on to play for the San Francisco 49ers.
  • That the yearbook “Spires” was originally called the “Shamrock”

    For VC

    • That VC has attained and retained the highest rating possible for accreditation offered by the Middle States Accreditation Association.
    • The cost to build VC was $832,500 – about $15 million in today’s money!
    • The largest graduating class to date has been 452 students in 1968.
    • Mark Garbacz still holds the Pa and National record of 55 rebounds in one game, a feat which he performed during a game on February 22, 1970 against East Forest.

    Contact Us

    Venango Region Catholic School


    Venango Catholic Campus

    1505 W. First Street
    Oil City, PA 16301


    Saint Stephen Campus

    214 Reed Street
    Oil City, PA 16301


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