St. Norbert High School was founded in 1898 as the first educational program established by the Norbertine Order in the United States. From the humble beginnings of tutoring students in the rectory kitchen of St. Joseph Parish in De Pere, the Norbertines eventually developed a formal classical high school curriculum with both day and boarding students. St. Norbert high school and St. Norbert College coexisted on the same campus until 1959, in what is today Boyle Hall. St. Norbert High School began with four registered students and their teacher, Abbot Bernard Pennings, O. Praem.

In 1959, the location and name of the school changed. St. Norbert High School, whose enrollment had grown to 180 students, moved into the former Nicolet school building where the school was renamed Abbot Pennings High School.