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History of PJP

History of Pope John Paul II Catholic High School 





  • Established in 1980, Pope John Paul II High School in Slidell, LA was founded by then Archbishop of New Orleans Phillip Hannan, after the closure of Holy Redeemer High School in Lacombe and under the constant encouragement of priests in our deanery to establish a Catholic High School in a more populated area in East St. Tammany, serving the St. Tammany and surrounding areas, including:  Picayune, Bogalusa, New Orleans East, and even St. Bernard.


  • Fun Fact:  The statue of Jesus in the north end zone of our football field was transported here from Holy Redeemer’s campus upon its closing.


  • Pope John Paul II began his papacy in October of 1978.  Archbishop Phillip Hannan developed a close relationship with the Holy Father.  Both men shared an advocacy for empowering the youth in our world and were strong proponents of Catholic education.  


  • Our school was originally slated to be named Archbishop Hannan High School until Hannan intervened and convinced the Superintendent and the Archdiocese to give proper credit to our church’s newest Holy Father.  Hannan was on hand to break ground and opened the school in August 1980.


  • We are the very first high school to receive John Paul II’s namesake, who was well aware and - in conversations with Hannan - would ask “How is my school doing?”


  • John Paul II’s papal crest bears the colors navy, red and gold - offering an easy choice for PJP to choose their school colors.


  • We graduated our first class of 23 seniors in 1981, nine of which were from the disbanded, Holy Redeemer High.  Our original students and families took a great deal of pride in enhancing and creating the school’s campus.  Parents and students helped build our football field, literally from the ground, up.  PJP was granted membership into the L.H.S.A.A. immediately upon opening its doors due to the closing of Holy Redeemer High School. Not only did PJP compete at the varsity level from the outset in boys and girls basketball, volleyball, and baseball, PJP made the state playoffs in boys basketball and baseball in 1980-1981 season.


More Fun Facts:


  • Members of the class of ’81 and ’82 helped establish our school mascot - the Jaguar.

  • Our Alma Mater is sung to the tune of Poland’s National Anthem in honor of John Paul II’s native land.

  • The words were written by Mrs. Beryl Parent, longtime employee of PJP (Bookkeeper & Administrative Assistant to our school’s first 5 principals) who recently passed away in June 2013.

  • Our Fight Song is sung to the tune of Notre Dame’s Fight Song and was authored by Katie Bruhn from the class of 1982 and her father Jay Bruhn.


  • In September of 1987, John Paul II made an historic visit to New Orleans. Orchestrated by Archbishop Hannan, the Holy Father’s trip included a youth rally in the New Orleans Superdome, visits to Xavier University, and celebrating an outdoor Mass at the University of New Orleans’ campus.   Students of PJP were honored to participate at the mass celebrated by John Paul II.  Subsequently, our school acquired the 3 banners of navy, red and gold carried at that Mass are the very same banners have been used at our school liturgies ever since.


  • The glass etchings of John Paul II, along with his papal crest are proudly displayed at our school’s front office.  They were used in the WWL-TV studios during the Papal visit & gifted to PJP after the visit.


  • Now in our 36th year of education young men and women from Eastern St. Tammany and the surrounding areas, PJP welcomes everyone to come visit our campus and encourages our alum to return "home" to their Jaguar family at any time!!