History & Tradition

A Tradition of Excellence

Coyle and Cassidy ~ A Living Legacy

Coyle and Cassidy’s long tradition of excellence began with one of our school’s namesakes, Monsignor James Coyle. As a native Irishman, Monsignor Coyle was keenly aware of the prejudices facing the poor Irish immigrants at the turn of the 20th century.  Knowing the importance of education in providing hope and opportunity, Monsignor Coyle founded St. Mary’s Grammar School.  Staffed by the Sisters of the Holy Union, St. Mary’s opened its doors to 538 pupils in the fall of 1908.

In June of 1911, recognizing the need to extend Catholic education beyond grade 8, Monsignor Coyle announced his plans to open a Catholic high school.  That September, two rooms in the grammar school and one in the convent were used to house the first freshman class while construction of a high school addition was begun.  In the years that followed, St. Mary’s Grammar School and High School thrived as enrollment grew and students achieved high academic success.

Monsignor James Coyle High School

Monsignor James Coyle High School ~ A Diocesan School for Boys

A man of great vision, Monsignor Coyle then set his sights on extending Catholic secondary education to all boys in the Diocese of Fall River.  In the midst of the Great Depression, Monsignor Coyle was able to raise a substantial amount of money for its construction.  Unfortunately, he passed away before he was able to see his vision become a reality.  At his funeral in June of 1931, Bishop Cassidy announced that the money raised would be used to build the Monsignor James Coyle Memorial High School for Boys.  The new high school built on Summer Street and  staffed by the Brothers of Holy Cross, opened in September of 1933.  At the same time, St. Mary’s High School which had been co-ed became St. Mary’s Catholic Girls’ High School.

Bishop Cassidy High School

Bishop Cassidy High School ~ Providing New Opportunities for Girls

In the late 1950s, St. Mary’s High School could no longer effectively meet the needs of the girls that it served.  With the desire to provide more young women with an opportunity to obtain a Catholic secondary education, Bishop Connolly began a campaign to raise the funds necessary to construct a new school for girls at the corner of Adams and Hamilton Streets.  This school would be named after Bishop James Cassidy.

At the time of Bishop Connolly’s announcement, he clearly did not foresee the decline in Catholic school enrollment post-Vatican II.  Nor did he envision that the memory of Monsignor Coyle and Bishop Cassidy would ultimately be enshrined in the name of one united school.  As other regional Catholic high schools were built, there was no longer a need for boys to be bused to Coyle High School from around the Diocese.  A decline in vocations also created staffing and budgetary issues as the schools required a greater reliance on lay teachers. Also looming on the horizon were plans to replace an aging Taunton High School with a new state-of-the-art facility.

Coyle and Cassidy High School ~ Traditions Merged

In 1971, a critical decision was made to insure the sustainability of Catholic education in Taunton.  Monsignor Coyle High School would merge with Bishop Cassidy High School to become Coyle and Cassidy High School and thereby return to its co-educational roots.  Under the capable leadership of Sister Virginia O’Hare, S.U.S.C., the first principal of the merged school, Coyle and Cassidy emerged as one of the finest high schools in Southeastern Massachusetts.  Drawing from the fine traditions of excellence from Monsignor Coyle and Bishop Cassidy High Schools, Coyle and Cassidy became renowned for its academic rigor and student preparedness.

In addition to merging the two high schools, the Diocese also opened Taunton Catholic Middle School in September of 1971.  That fall, over 500 students in grades 6-8 were moved to the former Monsignor Coyle High School building for the local parish elementary schools.  Today, St. Mary’s and Our Lady of Lourdes continue to educate students in grades pre-K through 5.  Though the transitions were difficult, history has proven that these consolidations worked.  Their success was in large part due to the commitment of school leaders, dedicated families and resilient students.

Coyle and Cassidy Middle School ~ Enrolling Grades 5-8

In a move to provide students with more opportunities and resources for their Catholic education, Coyle and Cassidy High School and Taunton Catholic Middle School joined together as one School at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.  Serving students in  grades 5-12, the combined school utilizes the facilities of the Coyle and Cassidy campus to house the high school and middle school and to maintain the integrity of both school experiences.

With a rigorous high school curriculum and a unique middle school program that is distinct from others in the area, Coyle and Cassidy continues to be a leader in education. Today, our school remains fiscally, programmatically, and spiritually strong with the faculty and resources to prepare our students for college and for life!  We hope that you will choose to become part of our family.