Damien High School

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Damien High School
Damien HS.jpg
Cor Unum et Anima Una
One heart and One spirit
2280 Damien Avenue
La Verne, California, (Los Angeles County), 91750
Coordinates 34°6′18″N 117°47′18″W / 34.10500°N 117.78833°W / 34.10500; -117.78833Coordinates: 34°6′18″N 117°47′18″W / 34.10500°N 117.78833°W / 34.10500; -117.78833
Type Private, All-Male
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Patron saint(s) Saint Damien
Established 1959
President Fr. Peadar Cronin SS.CC.
Principal Merritt Hemenway, Ph.D
Vice principal Jeffrey W. Coray
Chaplain Fr. John Roche SS.CC.
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 922 (2014)
Color(s) Green White and Gold         
Mascot Spartan
Team name Spartans
Accreditation Western Association of Schools and Colleges[1]
Newspaper 'The Laconian'
Yearbook 'The Spartiate'
Tuition $7,700
Athletic Directors Tom Carroll, Jeff Grant
Dean of Curriculum Chuck Ballingall
Dean of Faculty Chris Douglas
Deans of Students Ron Castillo, Dominic Zampiello
Summer School Director Mike Castillo

Damien High School is an all-male Roman Catholic high school in La Verne, in the U.S. state of California named for Saint Damien of Molokai. The school had its first graduating class in 1963. Each of Damien's freshmen classes draws from an average of over 75 different elementary and junior high schools for youths from Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. It is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It is a part of the tri-school community including St. Lucy's Priory High School and Pomona Catholic High School.


Holy Name Academy, a boarding high school for girls, located on Holt Avenue in Pomona, California, closed its doors in June 1949. In September of that year, it was reopened by Monsignor English, pastor of St. Joseph Church, as a high school for both boys and girls of the parish and surrounding parishes. Newly staffed by the Felician Sisters, it was named Pomona Catholic High School. Despite the expanding population, it was able to provide Catholic education for the next ten years.[2]

With the completion of the new Bonita High School in 1959, the Bonita Unified School District moved the public high school from their old campus on Bonita Avenue to their new location on D Street in La Verne. Cardinal James Francis McIntyre purchased the old campus site, and in September 1959, the newly named Pomona Catholic Boys' High School welcomed its first freshman class.[2]

In 1962, Pomona Catholic Boys' was accredited by the University of California for the maximum period of five years. In 1967, 1972, 1977, 1983, 1989, 1995, 2001, 2007 and 2013 the Western Association of Schools and Colleges granted accreditation to the school for the maximum term.[2]

In the fall of 1967. The school was given the name “Damien High School” in honor of St. Damien de Veuster, SS.CC., who was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday October 11, 2009.[3] The Sacred Heart Fathers have staffed and administered the school since its beginning in La Verne. The courage and capacity for self-sacrifice in the cause of others, is encouraged as an impetus toward social causes in the lives of Damien's students.[2]

In the beginning, classes were held in many of the buildings, which were as yet relics of the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s. By 1962 marked changes had begun to take place. In October of that year, a newly constructed wing was opened including eight classrooms and science labs. Spartan Stadium was also completed. During 1964, many of the older buildings were demolished and the campus received a face-lift. Parking facilities were completed during 1965, and early 1966 saw the completion of the priests' residence. The 1970s and 1980s were also a time of growth for Damien, witnessing the completion of a new gymnasium, the four new classrooms of the 500 wing and, most recently, the Administration and Science building, which includes six new classrooms, two science labs, and entirely new administration offices. In 1995, a music room was added and a library renovation was also completed. In 1996, a new swimming pool and locker room were constructed. Six new tennis courts were also built near the priests’ residence and a new ticket/snack bar/rest room facility was built in Spartan Stadium.[2] A new gymnasium, The Travers Cronin Athletic Center, was opened in 2006. In 2008, the Spartan Stadium was renovated. It now includes an all weather track and FieldTurf. 2010 brought a renovation of the baseball stadium, including the installation of a new scoreboard and stadium seating. The stadium was officially named "Tom Carroll Stadium," in honor of Damien's Athletic Director of 37 years.[4]

In 2014 the school was going to compete in the CIF-Southern Section in a parochial school league along with St. Lucy's Priory High School after competing in the Sierra League after the 2013-14 school year. The school hire a law firm to file against the CIF-Southern Section because many students do not want to compete in a parochial school league due to the long trips they have to made. The schools won the case. On March 21, 2014, principals and athletic directors from both schools meet with principals and athletic directors of the east San Gabriel Valley/Pomona Valley/southwest San Bernardino County schools which form the Mt. SAC area at Walnut High School. Both schools will be competing in the Baseline League with high schools located in Upland and Rancho Cucamonga starting in the 2014-15 school year.


School activities[edit]

Policy Debate Team[edit]

The Damien Policy Debate team has consistently achieved local and national success. The Damien debate team won the 2009 National Debate Coach's Association National Championship and the 2009 National Forensic League National Tournament. Those victories, as well as their semi-finals showing at The University of Kentucky's Tournament of Champions, netted Damien the inaugural Unger Cup, the award given to the "nation’s most successful high school debate squad." [5][6] Their longtime Director of Forensics, Mr. Chuck Ballingall, was inducted into the National Forensic League Hall of Fame in 2008. In 2011,the debate team won the National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA) Tournament a second time, and became the first school in history to win the NDCA twice.[7][8][9]

Tri-School Community[edit]

Damien High School is a part of the "tri-school" community existing between St. Lucy's Priory High School and Pomona Catholic High School. Numerous dances and functions are coordinated between the three schools during the school year. Additionally, financial incentives exist for parents who have multiple children attending these schools.

Notable Alumni[edit]


  1. ^ WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  2. ^ a b c d e DHS. "History of Damien High School". Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  3. ^ "''Pope proclaims five new saints''". Oecumene.radiovaticana.org. 2009-10-11. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  4. ^ "It’s a Great Day for Damien Baseball and Coach Carroll". La Verne Online. 
  5. ^ "NFL 2009 Results". 
  6. ^ "The Unger Cup". 
  7. ^ "Damien Becomes First School To Win Two NDCA National Championships". The 3NR. 2011-04-19. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  8. ^ "Hometown Educator Wins Prestigious National Award". La Verne Community News. 
  9. ^ "NFL News Around the Nation". 

External links[edit]