The History of the Southside Catholic Conference
Members of the Queen of Martyrs and Most Holy Redeemer Parish formed “The Southwest Catholic Grammar School Conference” in 1956. The Conference began with eight member schools, Queen of Martyrs, Most Holy Redeemer, St. Cajetan, Christ the King, St. John Fisher, St. Margaret of Scotland, St. Denis, and St. Bede. Six of the eight founding members remain active.
In 1956, Varsity Football (7th & 8th grade) was the only sport program. Varsity Basketball was added in 1958, JV Football (5th & 6th) in 1962, JV Boys Basketball in 1964, Girls Basketball in 1980, Girls Volleyball in 1986, Boys Volleyball and Golf in 2001.
In 2000, under the leadership of Hank Lenzen from St. Barnabas and Rick Jendry from St. Cajetan , the Conference was reorganized and renamed the Southside Catholic Conference. Currently, there are 24 member schools.
A five-person member elected Executive Board governs the Southside Catholic Conference. A member elected Sport Commissioner manages each sport program. A representative from each member school, the Executive Board and Sports Commissioner attend monthly meetings where policy and procedures within the Conference are discussed.
The Southside Catholic Conference is strong in tradition. Varsity or 8th Grade Champions are awarded the iconic Gold Ball. The Christian Leadership Award Ceremony is another proud tradition. Each member school nominates one 8th grade boy and one 8th grade girl, based on their Christian Leadership themed essay, to represent the member school in the CLA essay contest. The Conference gives a monetary award to each nominee. From the nominees, the Conference chooses one boy and one girl, and the winners are given a tuition award. Another tradition is the Sports Program of the Year or SPOTY award. Members vote annually. The SPOTY winner is presented a banner to recognize their achievement.
The high level of competition and the breadth of sport offerings have made the Southside Catholic Conference the most prestigious grade school sports conference in the Chicago area for six decades.