Portsmouth Catholic Regional School continues the century-old tradition of Catholic education in the Portsmouth area. The Daughters of Charity, who with the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh and lay teachers, first became known to the people of Portsmouth through their volunteer nursing work during the Civil War. About ten years later on September 27, 1876, at the request of Father Thomas J. Brady, the Sisters staffed the first Catholic school in the city. The first school was located on the corner of Dinwiddie and King Streets and was called Saint Joseph’s Academy.
In 1891 the Xaverian Brothers came to Portsmouth to staff the newly erected Saint Paul’s Academy for Boys at the corner of Washington and London Streets. The Brothers staffed the Academy for thirty nine years until 1931 when the coeducational system of education was adopted by the schools and the Daughters of Charity assumed the staffing of both the elementary and high schools. In the same year a new school for the black children of the city opened and was called Our Lady of Victory. The three Portsmouth Catholic Schools continued to expand through the Thirties and Forties, serving the educational needs of the children of the area. After World War II two more elementary schools were opened. Little Flower School opened in 1954 in the Oregon Acres section of the city. The Bernadine Sisters staffed the school for sixteen years. In 1955 another Catholic elementary school opened in the Brentwood area of Chesapeake. It was called Holy Angels School and was staffed by the Daughters of Wisdom for fifteen years.
In 1959 the decision was made to integrate the Catholic Schools throughout the city of Portsmouth. Our Lady of Victory consolidated with Saint Paul’s to form St. Paul’s Central High School. The school again changed its name to Portsmouth Catholic High School in 1964. In 1990 a decision was made to further centralize all Catholic High Schools in the Tidewater area. Thus, Portsmouth Catholic High School was closed and Catholic High School, now Bishop Sullivan Catholic High, was opened in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
In February of 1970 the decision was made to consolidate and centralize all Catholic elementary schools in the Portsmouth and Chesapeake areas. Saint Paul’s School, Little Flower, and Holy Angels School merged to form the present Portsmouth Catholic Regional School. The school was staffed by The Daughters of Charity and lay teachers through 2000. Due to a shortage of Sisters, the Daughters were unable to return to teach at the school. Presently Portsmouth Catholic is staffed by a lay staff dedicated to teach as Jesus did encouraging the students to respond personally to the call, challenges, and commitment of the Christian way of life in the world today and the future.