Benedictine High School (Richmond, Virginia)

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Benedictine College Preparatory
Benedictine College Preparatory.jpg
Ecce Homo
Behold The Man
12829 River Road
Richmond, Virginia, 23221
United States
School type Private, Military, Day, College-prep
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Patron saint(s) St.Benedict
Established 1911
Founder Benedictine Monks
Sister school St. Gertrude High School
President Fr. Adrian Harmening, OSB
Headmaster MAJ Jesse Grapes, USMC
Commandant LTC Sickinger, USA (Ret.)
Grades 912
Gender Boys
Enrollment 285 (2014)
Campus Suburban
Color(s) Green and White         
Nickname Cadets
Rivals St. Christopher's
Collegiate School
Accreditation Virginia Association of Independent Schools
Newspaper The New Chevron
Yearbook The Cadet
Tuition $16,500
Benedictine College Preparatory
Benedictine High School (Richmond, Virginia).JPG
Benedictine High School (Richmond, Virginia) is located in Virginia
Benedictine High School (Richmond, Virginia)
Coordinates 37°33′26″N 77°28′35″W / 37.55722°N 77.47639°W / 37.55722; -77.47639Coordinates: 37°33′26″N 77°28′35″W / 37.55722°N 77.47639°W / 37.55722; -77.47639
Built 1911
Architect Father Michael McInerney
Architectural style Romanesque Revival[1]
Part of Museum District, Richmond, Virginia (#94000153)
Designated CP March 7, 1994

Benedictine College Preparatory is a private, Roman Catholic military high school in Richmond, Virginia. It is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond, and is owned and operated by the Benedictine Society of Virginia.


Benedictine is an independent secondary school operated as a ministry of the monks of Mary Mother of the Church Benedictine Abbey, though the school is not funded by the Diocese of Richmond. The school has remained all-male since its founding in 1911. (Saint Gertrude High School, an all-female Catholic high school located two blocks away from the original school location, was founded in 1922 and has long been considered a sister school.) Benedictine is the only Catholic military high school for boys in Richmond.

Benedictine offers a strong college preparatory academic curriculum. Over 90% of its graduates attend college.


Benedictine College Preparatory was founded in 1911, under the name of Benedictine College by a group of Benedictine monks from Belmont Abbey in North Carolina. Seeking to continue the work of their founder by establishing learning and culture, they came to Richmond to establish a Catholic high school for boys. They adopted the successful and prestigious military academy type model, which also meshed well with the monastic life of the monks. The order, discipline, and hierarchy of the military is very much analogous to the structures in the monastery and the Church. The aim was, and continues to be, to form young men in body and soul —- to nourish a love of Truth, foster the life of virtue, and promote a healthy life. As of August 1, 2011, Benedictine High School changed its name to Benedictine College Preparatory "to reflect the school’s goal to become more academically rigorous." [2]

In April 2011, Benedictine announced that it was selling the property to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond,[3] and planned to move forward with plans to move the school to Goochland, Virginia. The sale included a buy-back option for the school in case the plans to move the school fail.

As of Tuesday December 6, 2011, Benedictine moved to the Mary Mother of the Church Abbey location and the sale of the Shepard Street building finalized. The building was sold to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond allowing for continued parking at the church during Sunday mass which was a preexisting arrangement with the St.Benedict's parish. This also allowed for the renovation of the Abbey location for reinstalled educational use. Mary Mother of the Church Abbey is located in Goochland County and the school received backlash from the residents and several alumni for the desire to sell and move locations. The sale of the Shepard street location is estimated to be around 5.5 million and is being used for renovations.

Student life[edit]

All students at Benedictine participate in the school's Army JROTC program. The students are known as Cadets, and the school's athletic moniker is the Cadets. The JROTC program at Benedictine currently holds the highest rating given by the Army – Honor Unit with Distinction – which allows the school to nominate directly a student for appointment to a service academy or for an ROTC scholarship. Many Cadets have attended the service academies and other military colleges (most notably Virginia Military Institute) to further their education. Currently the military department is run by Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) J. Kevin Sickinger (Commandant), First Sergeant Clayton Plumley, and Sergeant First Class Patrick Rosier.


The athletic program is an integral part of life at Benedictine. The basketball team is perhaps the best known athletic program, and one of the most storied programs in central Virginia. The late Virginia basketball legend Warren Rutledge was head coach for 43 years and amassed 949 wins, making him the winningest high school coach in Virginia and eleventh in the nation.[4] Rutledge's teams won numerous state championships, including 14 consecutive Virginia State Catholic titles in the 1970s and 1980s. In 2000 Benedictine's baseball team led by Josh Owens, Donnie Coleman, Del Smith and John Svanda won the Cadets first ever State Independent Title. The following fall the football program led by future NFL lineman Patrick Estes, highly recruited quarterback Patrick Dosh, Smith and Coleman led the Cadets to their second State title. Over the years the school has developed multiple Division I athletes who have succeeded in achieving a high level of performance. Prominent graduates of the school include former congressman Thomas Bliley, football coach Bobby Ross, Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach John Kuester, NFL offensive tackle Patrick Estes, NBA forward Ed Davis, and many more. For three seasons, from 1951 to 1954, the school served as host to the University of Richmond's basketball team, before the opening of Richmond Arena.


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