Blessed Pope John Paul II Catholic Secondary School

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St. John Paul II Catholic Secondary School
Laudetur Jesus Christus
Praised be Jesus Christ
St. John Paul II CSS.JPG
685 Military Trail
Morningside, Scarborough, Ontario, M1E 4P6, Canada
Public transit access TTC:
North/South: 133 Neilson
West/East: 38 Highland Creek, 95 York Mills, 116 Morningside
Rapid Transit: Ellesmere, Kennedy, Scarbrorough Centre
School number 531 / 751537
School board Toronto Catholic District School Board
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic
Superintendent Geoff Grant
Area 8
Area trustee Nancy Crawford
Ward 12
Principal Michael Wetzel '92
Vice Principals Paul Adams
Bernard Burns
CSAC Chair Gustav Rodricks (2013-14)
Faculty 44
School type Catholic High school
IB World school
Grades 9–12
Mascot Panthers
Team name Pope Panthers
Colours Navy Blue, Silver, White             
Newspaper Off The Wall
Founded 1983
Enrollment 1426 (2013–14)
Parish St. Thomas More
Specialist High Skills Major Horticulture and Landscaping
Program Focus International Baccalaureate
Extended French
Broad-based Technology
Hospitality and Tourism
Homepage St. John Paul II Catholic Secondary School

St. John Paul II Catholic Secondary School (occasionally known as SJPII, St. John Paul II, SJPIICSS, JPII, or in short, Pope; formerly known as Blessed Pope John Paul II Catholic Secondary School and Pope John Paul II Catholic Secondary School prior to beatification) is a publicly funded high school administered by the Toronto Catholic District School Board in a West Hill and Morningside neighbourhoods of Scarborough, which is the eastern part of Toronto, Ontario, Canada named after the long-serving pontiff, Pope John Paul II.



Main article: Pope John Paul II

A very charismatic figure, John Paul II was acclaimed as one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. He is credited with helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe.[1] John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. Though criticised by progressives for upholding the Church's teachings against artificial contraception and the ordination of women, and by traditionalists for his support of the Church's Second Vatican Council and its reform, he was also widely praised for his firm, orthodox Catholic stances.

He was one of the most-travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonised 483 saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries. He named most of the present College of Cardinals, consecrated or co-consecrated a large number of the world's past and current bishops, and ordained many priests.[2] A key goal of his papacy was to transform and reposition the Catholic Church. His wish was "to place his Church at the heart of a new religious alliance that would bring together Jews, Muslims and Christians in a great [religious] armada".[3][4] On 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed venerable by his successor Pope Benedict XVI and was beatified on 1 May 2011. He was canonised alongside Blessed John XXIII[5][6] on 27 April 2014, Divine Mercy Sunday.[7]

As the school[edit]

Blessed Pope John Paul II Catholic Secondary School opened its doors to the first 135 students on September 6, 1983 at 685 Military Trail, the former home of St. Bede Catholic School (opened in 1978, later closed) in West Hill to begin their academic careers at BPJPII. But there were many doors to open. The school community of that day in a dozen temporary portable classrooms and the student population doubled, in 1984, as did the number of portables during that period. The school had came into presence due to overcrowding at Cardinal Newman to the south and Francis Libermann to the north despite the population being bused to other schools above.

Growth and expansion have been key elements in the intervening years. The physical structure with 1074 pupils took over six years to complete. In the spring of 1989, the actual building was officially blessed and opened. Another St. Bede was later built that same year beside Blessed Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School in a port-a-pak building until its new structure opened in 1993.

The Board approved the renaming of the school to Blessed Pope John Paul II Catholic Secondary School on June 16, 2011 as a result of the beatification a month prior.[8] In June 2014, the board renamed the school to St. John Paul II Catholic Secondary School after canonization.[5][9][10]



St. John Paul II sits in a 14 acre land once held by the former St. Bede. The facilities consists of a baseball diamond-like structure building with 41 classrooms, seven science laboratories, three gymnasia, a large library, a student services area, a drama room, two music rooms, a drafting room, two tech shops, and two art rooms as well as a 400m eight-lane track and athletic field regularly found in public secular collegiate schools. To meet demand for overcrowding, there are 13 portable classrooms in place. As of 2013-2014 school year, there are 1426 students attending SJPII.


As a publicly funded separate high school, SJPII provides a religious studies program in each year. The school was accredited by the International Baccalaureate Organization in 2002 with its first class of IB Diploma students graduated in 2005. The school also provides gifted, cooperative education, and extended French programs, as well as English and French Writing Clinics, a peer helper program (P.A.S.S) and a Math Help Centre.

Student life[edit]

Various councils run the majority of BPJPII's inter and extracurricular activities. These councils are the Executive Student Council (ESC), the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), the Panther Athletic Council (PAC), DECA, and the Environmental Council. Following in their lead of student engagement are a multitude of clubs including the Health Action Team who runs the Breakfast Club. There is also a school newspaper by the name of "Off the Wall", that is published four times a year.[11]

Ninety percent of SJPII graduates go on to post-secondary education. About 1 in 20 graduates does so with a scholarship.[12]


The current principal of SJPII is Michael Wetzel who previously attended the school from 1987-1992 and served as vice-principal from 2009-2011. Wetzel was a former teacher at Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School for years.[13]

Previously, Paul McAlpine and Louise Brighton, the school's former principal and vice principal respectively, served Pope from 2006-2013 and has since been transferred to Senator O'Connor College School.

Notable students[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°47′23″N 79°11′58″W / 43.789829°N 79.199549°W / 43.789829; -79.199549