Cathedral High receives $30 million boost to fundraising campaign

BRAINTREE -- When Ta'Qaire Bell first stepped through the doors of Cathedral High School, he was nervous.

"Coming to Cathedral, I didn't think it would be the right place for me," Ta'Qaire told The Pilot in a May 6 interview, "but I was proven wrong when it gave me so many opportunities."

Ta'Qaire is now a sophomore at the school, located adjacent to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston's South End. Cathedral High School "feels like home" to him, and he loves the school's culture and supportive staff. Students of color make up 98 percent of Cathedral High's student body, and every student has at least half of their tuition covered by financial aid. The average household income for a Cathedral student is $44,000 a year, and no student is turned away due to lack of funds.

The school, which educates students in grades seven through 12 and celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2026, is in the midst of its Adopt-A-Student Foundation Cathedral Now, Cathedral Forever fundraising campaign, which aims to raise $60 million. That campaign recently received a massive boost in the form of a $30 million matching gift from an anonymous donor who graduated from Cathedral in the 1950s.

"I'm still pretty astonished by it every day that I think about it," Cathedral High President Dan Carmody told The Pilot in a May 3 interview. "As I say to a lot of people, it's the most generous act I've ever seen."

Currently, the Cathedral Now, Cathedral Forever campaign has raised $22 million, which doubles to $44 million thanks to the anonymous alum's donation. The school must raise an additional $8 million to receive the full $30 million match and achieve the campaign's $60 million goal, the majority of which will be used to endow student scholarships.

"It's game-changing for a lot of families," Carmody said. "It says a lot about the belief he (the anonymous donor) has in Cathedral and our students and the opportunities we're creating. Our kids come, and they work hard, and they battle through a lot of challenges, and they succeed, so it's pretty remarkable."

For the last 20 years, every single student who graduated from Cathedral High has gone on to attend college. Carmody said that the $30 million donation, which will provide financial aid for decades of future students, will help secure Cathedral High's future for another 100 years.

"It's just a tremendous feeling to know that we're going to be able to continue to do what we do," he said.

Reezahnny Veiga-Rodrigues, a seventh grader at Cathedral, is a student ambassador and member of the student council. Speaking to The Pilot on May 6, she said that the school's generous financial aid has been a great relief to her mother.

"Cathedral has changed my life by opening new paths for my life," Reezahnny said. "At my other school, I wouldn't have been able to get that opportunity."

Ta'Qaire said that the anonymous donation "shows a lot of character" on the part of the donor.

"Coming to private school, there's always been a financial barrier," he said, "and I feel like with this donation, it's finally been let down," he said.

The scholarship money will be a "great help to kids who might have the ability to do great things but might not be in the right place" without a Cathedral High education, he added.