Belen Jesuit Preparatory School
|Belen Jesuit Preparatory School|
Men For Others
|500 SW 127 Avenue
Miami, Florida, (Miami-Dade County), 33184
|Religious affiliation(s)||Roman Catholic,
Society of Jesus
|President||Rev. Pedro A. Suarez, S.J.|
|Principal||Dr. María Cristina Reyes-García|
|Color(s)||Blue and Gold|
|Rival||Christopher Columbus High School|
|Accreditation(s)||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools |
Belen Jesuit Preparatory School is a Roman Catholic preparatory school in Miami, Florida operated by The Society of Jesus. It was established in Cuba by the Jesuits in 1854, but moved to the United States after the communist government of Fidel Castro, himself an alumnus, took power and expelled the Jesuits. It has since developed into one of the top Catholic high schools in the United States.
Belen's time in Cuba
In 1854, Queen Isabella II of Spain issued a royal charter founding the "Colegio de Belén" in Havana, Cuba. The school began its educational work in the building formerly occupied by the convent and convalescent hospital of Our Lady of Belen, hence the name of the school. Over time, the school expanded through the donation of several nearby buildings in Havana. The resulting complex would ultimately be known as "El Palacio de Educación" (The Palace of Education). "El Palacio" still stands, now called the Instituto Técnico Militar (Military Technical Institute).
Belen's History in the United States
In 1961, the new political regime of Cuba confiscated the school's property and expelled the Jesuit faculty. Belen Jesuit was re-established in Miami the same year, and by the next year it had acquired its own building and moved to a new site on the corner of S.W. 8th Street and 7th Avenue in Miami. 1980 saw a Ground-breaking ceremony for a new building on a 30-acre (120,000 m2)-site located in west Miami-Dade County, opened the following year. Initial enrollment on the new grounds consisted of 598 students.
1992 to 2002 marked a period of expansion for the school. The library was renovated, multiple computer labs were built as well as an athletic center and the number of classrooms were increased. Belen inaugurated the Ignatian Center for the Arts in 2004 which included new classrooms, a choir and orchestra practice room, a stagecraft workshop, an amphitheater, the Olga & Carlos Saladrigas Art Gallery, and the Ophelia & Juan Js. Roca Theater with a 662 patron capacity.
The 2008 fall semester was Rev. Marcelino Garcia's SJ's last semester serving as President and Principal of Belen Jesuit after twenty-five years of service. Spring 2010 marked the beginning of Rev. Pedro Suarez SJ's service as President and Rev. Guillermo Garcia-Tuñon, SJ's as Principal.
Belen Jesuit annually provides over $1.9 million in need-based grants to students. The grants are funded by the endowment, private donations, and profits from the annual fair ("Tombola").
In addition to need-based aid, in 2006 Belen and Ocean Bank created the Agape Scholarship to promote diversity at the school and committed $1.2 million over the next ten years for the program. The scholarship fully covers tuition, books, and other educational expenses. The school also created a scholarship committee charged with ensuring the success of the scholarship recipients.
As of 2012, they have been named as one of the top 50 catholic high schools for the seventh consecutive time.
As of 2004, a new building was added to the campus solely for the arts, named The Ignatian Center for the Arts. The Center consists of a theater, art gallery, music rehearsal hall, a film lab, various classrooms and an administrative office. The Ophelia & Juan Js. Roca Theatre features a 662 person occupancy, an orchestra pit, catwalk, a stage area and male and female dressing rooms. Prior to the construction of the theater, Belen productions were staged in the school auditorium which has since been renamed in honor of Guillermo F. Kohly.
Belen competes in baseball, basketball, crew, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, roller hockey, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling. In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011 Belen won state titles in cross country, swimming, and track and field.
The Ramón Guiteras Memorial Library, located on the campus, is one of the top school libraries in Miami-Dade County. It serves the student body and faculty of Belen, as well as the community at large. The library currently has over 35,000 volumes, 15,000 ebooks, and subscriptions to electronic databases. The library staff includes one professional librarian and three assistants.
The library also houses La Colección Cubana (The Cuban Collection), a special collection of Cuban books. La Colección Cubana consists of over 7,000 volumes, with books either about Cuba or written by Cubans and Cuban-Americans. La Colección Cubana is open to the public. La Colección Cubana is the second-largest collection of Cuban books and other media (second only to the University of Miami) outside of Cuba
Main article: List of Belen Jesuit Preparatory School people
- SACS-CASI. "SACS-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement". Retrieved 2009-06-23.
- Ada Evening News February 24, 1961
- The Miami Herald; March 2, 2000; TRIP TO TOMBOLA A WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE
- Ocean Bank Community: Leaders “Open The Door” To A New Day In Private Education
- Catholic High School Honor Roll
- The Miami Herald- November 3, 2006; BELEN GIVES DADE TEAM TITLE
- The Miami Herald, November 3, 2007; SWIMMING CLASS 2A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS: Belen wins state swimming title again, The Belen boys' team captured its second consecutive state swimming championship.
- The Miami Herald, August 30, 2007; TROPICAL PARK: Miami-Dade parochial schools are heated rivals, A LONGTIME RIVALRY BETWEEN MIAMI-DADE'S PAROCHIAL SCHOOL GIANTS HAS CULMINATED FOR THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW AT THE BELEN VS. COLUMBUS FOOTBALL KICKOFF CLASSIC AT TROPICAL PARK.
- Belen Jesuit Preparatory School - Library
- Belen Jesuit Celebrates 25yrs of Humanitarian Missions
- Belen Jesuit Home Page
- Belen Jesuit Rowing Home Page