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|
|President||Rev. Pedro A. Suarez , S.J., Ph.D.|
|Principal||Dr. María Cristina Reyes-García|
|Asst. Principal||Dr. Lucila Marazita-Espinosa (High School), Rev. Jorge L.Rojas, S.J.|
|Color(s)||Blue and Gold|
|Rival||Christopher Columbus High School|
|Accreditation||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools |
Belen Jesuit Preparatory School is an all-male Roman Catholic preparatory school in Miami, Florida operated by The Society of Jesus. It was established in Havana, 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. The name Belen is Spanish for "Bethlehem."
Belen's time in Cuba
In 1854, Queen Isabella II of Spain issued a royal charter founding the "Colegio de Belén" in Havana. 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).
About Belen Jesuit Preparatory School
The education of students was assigned to the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). In 1961, the revolutionary regime confiscated the school's property and expelled the Jesuit faculty. The school was re-established in Miami the same year, and began to grow over the next decade. Today, Belen Jesuit sits on a 30-acre site in western Miami-Dade County. Since its inception, over 6000 young men have graduated from Belen Jesuit, all of whom have advanced to post-secondary education.
Belen Jesuit is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The school is also affiliated with the National Catholic Educational Association and is a member of the Jesuit Secondary Education Association (JSEA) and Jesuit High School College Counselors Association.
The Belen Observatory for Astronomy and Meteorology was built with donations from the Belen Jesuit Class of 1972 and features a 16” telescope with CCD camera for astrophotography. Weather forecasts from the facility are radioed daily to various cities in Florida.
For the 2013-14 academic year, the school provided over $1.8 million in financial aid to 26% of its students. Financial Aid is available to all students based strictly on financial need. These grants are funded by private donations, net profits from the annual gala and Fr. Izquierdo Memorial Golf Classic, as well as carnival ("Tombola") proceeds. Belen Jesuit does not award academic or athletic scholarships.
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.
2014 marked the eighth consecutive time Belen Jesuit has been named one of the Top U.S. Catholic High Schools by the National Catholic High School Honor Roll. In 2014 Belen Jesuit was the only Catholic School in Miami-Dade County to receive this recognition and one of only three in the entire state of Florida.
The Ignatian Center for the Arts, inaugurated in October 2003, is the hub of the Humanities Department. Its facilities include the 665 seat Roca Theater, the Saladrigas Art Gallery, a stagecraft workshop, an art studio, and a band hall. The Saladrigas Gallery hosts two annual exhibits curated by professionals, an exhibit of young artists from Archdiocesan high schools, a Belen community art show, and several other projects.
The Belen Jesuit bands program was established in 2005 and features 240 student musicians. There are three major band units in the school: The Jazz Band, the Concert Band and the Drum Line. The Belen Jazz Band has won first and second place awards in competitions at Disney World, the Miami- Dade Youth Fair and the Festival of Music in Washington D.C.(2013). The bands perform two annual concerts at the Roca Theater, while the Drum Line performs in the school's pep rallies and athletic competitions.
Drama classes use the Roca Theater for their performances and sets are built by students enrolled in stagecraft classes. Belen presents three dramatic productions annually: two performed by the high school and a third performed by middle school students. Student productions of the last decade include Death of a Salesman, Fuenteovejuna, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Godspell, A Few Good Men, West Side Story and The Sound of Music.
Belen Jesuit competes in baseball, basketball, bowling, crew, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling.
Team State Champions Sunshine Cup All Sports Award 2011-2012 Cross Country 1995, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Swimming 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 Track and Field 2007 Water Polo 2009
Academic State Champions Basketball 2008, 2009 Bowling 2012 Football 2009, 2010 Volleyball 2009
The Ramón Guiteras Memorial Library is located on the campus and serves the student body and faculty of Belen as well as the local community. The library currently lists over 35,000 volumes, 15,000 ebooks, and dozens of subscriptions to electronic databases. The library staff includes one professional librarian and three assistants.
The library houses La Colección Cubana (The Cuban Collection), a special collection of Cuban books. La Colección Cubana consists of over 7,000 volumes, written either on the subject of Cuba or penned by Cubans and Cuban-Americans. La Colección Cubana is open to the public and is the second-largest collection of Cuban books and other media 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.
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- Belen Jesuit Rowing Home Page