St. Cecilia's Roman Catholic Church was established in 1866 and saw substantial growth in the number of students served by its parochial school, necessitating an expansion that would be able to double the number of students that the school could serve. A building designed to accommodate 600 students was designed, with a cornerstone ceremony held in May 1901 and a formal dedication in January 1902.The Book of Englewood, a history published by the city in 1922, describes the building as "an imposing edifice of red and gray sandstone."
In 1939, two years after his graduation from Fordham University, Vince Lombardi began his football coaching career at St. Cecilia; he worked there for several years before leaving to take a junior coaching staff position at Fordham, his alma mater. At the school, Lombardi taught algebra, chemistry, physics and Latin; in addition to coaching the school's baseball and basketball squads, he coached the football team to six state titles and a streak of 36 consecutive victories.
A 12–0 victory against the Brooklyn Prep team led by quarterback Joe Paterno earned the 1943 football team coached by Vince Lombardi recognition as the high school national championship.
Ian O'Connor (born c. 1964, class of 1982), sports columnist for ESPNNewYork.com, host of The Ian O'Connor Show on ESPN Radio, and author of Arnie & Jack: Palmer, Nicklaus, and Golf's Greatest Rivalry and The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter.
^"St. Cecilia's Church, Englewood"Archived 2016-06-12 at the Wayback Machine, Hudson County NJGenWeb, updated July 2017. Accessed September 11, 2017. "He therefore caused to be erected the beautiful stone building which in every detail is modern and stands as a living memorial to his faithful efforts in this community. The schools is built of cut stone and is erected to accommodate six hundred children. The corner-stone was laid May 2d, 1901, and the dedication ceremonies were held January 19th, 1902, by the Rt. Rev. J. J. O'Connor, D.D., bishop of this diocese."
^Sterling, Adaline Wheelock. The Book of Englewood, pp. 209–210. Mayor and council of the city of Englewood, N. J., 1922. Accessed September 11, 2017. "The building, an imposing edifice of red and gray sandstone with an overall measurement of 88 by 82 feet, stands on Waldo place."
^Wallace, William N. "Vince Lombardi; Football Coach, Dies", The New York Times, September 4, 1970. Accessed September 11, 2017. "Lombardi stayed at St. Cecilia for seven years. He soon was head coach of the football, basketball and baseball squads. His football teams won six state championships and had a string of 36 victories in a row."
^Walters, John. "Down and Out in New Jersey", Newsweek, January 29, 2014. Accessed September 12, 2017. "In its final game of the 1943 season, undefeated St. Cecilia High School, led by a brusque 30-year-old coach named Vince Lombardi, meets Brooklyn Prep, whose quarterback is a wiry youth named Joseph Paterno (the game program misidentifies him as 'Taterno'). St. Cecilia wins and is proclaimed the top high school team in the nation."
^Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey, 1970, p. 434. J. A. Fitzgerald, 1970. Accessed September 10, 2017. "William J. Dorgan (Rep., Palisades Park) Assemblyman Dorgan was born in Cliffside Park, November 9, 1921. He graduated from St. Cecilia High School and attended Seton Hall University."
^Charles Osgood, Fordham University. Accessed September 11, 2017. "Born in the Bronx, Osgood attended St. Cecelia High School in Englewood, New Jersey, before earning his bachelor’s degree in economics at Fordham College at Rose Hill in 1954."
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