DeLaSalle High School (Minneapolis)

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For other schools with similar names, see De La Salle High School (disambiguation).
DeLaSalle High School
New main entrance and offices of the school
One DeLaSalle Drive
Nicollet Island
Minneapolis, Minnesota, (Hennepin County), 55401-1500
United States
Coordinates 44°59′12″N 93°15′47″W / 44.98667°N 93.26306°W / 44.98667; -93.26306Coordinates: 44°59′12″N 93°15′47″W / 44.98667°N 93.26306°W / 44.98667; -93.26306
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1900
President Barry Lieske, AFSC
Principal Jim Benson
Grades 912
Enrollment 670 (2012–13)
Campus Urban
Color(s) Black and gold         
Athletics conference Tri-Metro
Team name Islanders
Accreditation AdvanED / North Central Association of Colleges and Schools[1]
Yearbook 'The Delta'
Admissions Director Patrick Felicetta
Student Activities Director Darcy Cascaes

DeLaSalle High School is a Catholic, college preparatory high school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is located on Nicollet Island.


DeLaSalle opened in 1900 and has been administered by the Christian Brothers throughout its history. The school's current president is Barry Lieske, AFSC. Lieske has been an administrator at DeLaSalle since 1982 and served as principal (chief operations officer) from 1993–2012. Enrollment peaked at 1654 boys in 1964, dropped to the range of 400–500 by the early 1970s despite the 1971–72 advent of co-education, and continued to decline to a 70-year low of 306 in 1991. Over the past two decades DeLaSalle's enrollment has climbed, and the school now receives an average of 400 applications each year for ninth grade admission. Strategic plans from 2000, 2007 and 2012 are based upon an optimum overall enrollment of 600–700 students.

Then-Archbishop John Ireland helped raise money to build the new Catholic secondary school in Minneapolis. Only a few months after groundbreaking, the "DeLaSalle Institute" building was ready for occupancy. Fifty boys joined three teaching Christian Brothers in the new school in October 1900. The number of pupils rapidly expanded, and by spring, a fourth Brother had arrived to handle the overcrowding. By 1907, an addition had been added to the original building, and in 1914, the Archdiocese, at Archbishop Ireland's direction, purchased the adjoining King property to provide space for eventual expansion. Enrollment stood at 352 boys.

In those early days, DeLaSalle was a commercial school. Through the work of Brother Heraclian, the first graduating class, 13 members strong in 1903, all received positions with the leading business firms of Minneapolis before graduating.

By 1920, parents were calling for a high school that was primarily college preparatory. So Archbishop Dowling, Ireland’s successor, went to all Minneapolis parishes to raise the $200,000 needed to build a new high school on the former King property, adjacent to the existing commercial building. Construction began in May 1922, and within a year, the new DeLaSalle High School building (today known as the "B Building") had opened.

Within six years, DeLaSalle was accredited as college preparatory by both the University of Minnesota and the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. (More than eight decades later, the school is still accredited by AdvanceEd, the successor to North Central.) In 1992 the school focused its curriculum only on college preparatory classes, in large part to maximize resources that could be available for financial assistance for families. Graduation requirements mirror typical college entrance requirements, plus requirements for completion of Christian Service hours and Theology coursework. Placement is available in one of two levels within a department: Honors/Advanced Placement or regular college prep. Since 2000, over 96 percent of each graduating class has matriculated to college. De graduates are enrolled in colleges in 34 states.

The school was founded to provide a Catholic school option to poor and immigrant families (primarily European) moving into Minneapolis in the late 19th century. This mission continues to this day, to provide a Catholic and college preparatory education to students from all family and socio-economic backgrounds. The school provides nearly $2 million of financial assistance to assist 52 percent of its students with reduced tuition. In addition to its socio-economic diversity, DeLaSalle is the most diverse Catholic School in the state of Minnesota as measured by almost all demographic areas: 39% of its students are people of color, 35% matriculate from single-parent households, and 30% have been raised in faiths other than Catholic.

The student body of 670 is drawn from over 100 parochial and public grade schools across the Twin Cities. Over 50 students were born in other countries, some attending DeLaSalle because of its proximity to the University of Minnesota. The school also participates in the University of Minnesota's College in the Schools program.[2]

DeLaSalle is one of 12 Catholic high schools in the Twin Cities, one of two within the city limits of Minneapolis.

Sports and activities[edit]

Over 90 percent of DeLaSalle students participate in at least one school activity each year, and more than 75 percent will join two or more. Academic, fine arts, athletic and leadership/service groups and teams all available

Since 2000, teams or individuals from DeLaSalle have qualified for participation in the MSHSL's championship tournaments in speech, one-act play, boys' and girls' basketball, football, boys' and girls' track-and-field, wrestling, cross country, and baseball. DeLaSalle students have succeeded in other programs not directed by the MSHSL, including competitive cheer (five state titles) and Quiz Bowl (six straight years qualifying for the National Championships). Of note, nearly 45 percent of the students are in a music program, one of three bands, two choirs or orchestra.

DeLaSalle is a member of the Tri-Metro Conference, a mix of private and public high schools throughout the Twin Cities that sponsors competitions, leadership programs, and other collaborative activities.

Over its history, several dozen DeLaSalle alums have continued to participate in college athletic and arts programs, many with scholarship support from their colleges.

DeLaSalle athletic field[edit]

The school has sought to build a 750-seat football field and track on adjacent city-owned parkland, and in March 2006, permission was granted by the city council. Work on the stadium has been completed, despite objections from the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission and Friends of the Mississippi River, who sought to preserve a 140-year old street that was removed to build the field.[3] Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Attorney Brian Rice (DeLaSalle Class of 1975) is negotiating with the Metropolitan Council to absolve DeLaSalle from its contractual obligation to reimburse the city $2,000,000 for the land.[4] DeLaSalle Athletic Field is now open as of September 2009.

Notable alumni[edit]

•Derreck Robinson NFL (Football),

•Jonah Travis (Basketball) Harvard,

•Reid Travis (Basketball) Stanford, 2014 McDonald's All-American



  1. ^ NCA-CASI. "NCA-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement". Retrieved June 23, 2009. [dead link]
  2. ^ College in the Schools – Participating Schools
  3. ^ "Football Stadium Proposed for Nicollet Island". Friends of the Mississippi River. Retrieved October 7, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Officials with school ties push stadium on historic district". Friends of the Riverfront. Retrieved October 10, 2007. 

External links[edit]