Saint John's Catholic Prep (Maryland)

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Saint John's Catholic Prep
Saint John's Literary Institution
Prospect Hall, Frederick, Maryland.jpg
Old Prospect Hall Campus
3989 Buckeystown Pike
Buckeystown, Maryland, (Frederick County), 21717
United States
Coordinates 39°24′16″N 77°26′36″W / 39.40444°N 77.44333°W / 39.40444; -77.44333Coordinates: 39°24′16″N 77°26′36″W / 39.40444°N 77.44333°W / 39.40444; -77.44333
Type Private, Coeducational, College Preparatory
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1829
Founder John McElroy, S.J., (1782–1877), "Jesuits" (Society of Jesus)
President Gordon Oliver
Principal Marc Minsker
Teaching staff 30
Grades 912
Color(s) Green and Gold         
Athletics conference M.I.A.A./I.A.A.M.
Mascot Viking

Saint John's Catholic Prep (also known previously as the St. John's Literary Institution) is a private, Roman Catholic, coeducational, college preparatory high school in Buckeystown, Maryland, near and southwest of Frederick City. For 45 years (since 1958–1959), the School was previously at the historic "Prospect Hall" mansion, (1787–1803), also southwest of Frederick and previously located since its 1829 founding on Second Street in eastern downtown Frederick. St. John's was the first independent Roman Catholic school in the state of Maryland. It was also the first Roman Catholic secondary school/high school in the state of Maryland.


In 1756, a small Roman Catholic boy's school was opened in Frederick, which provided a space for class and mass to be held. The population of Frederick was expanding, and in 1763 the first Roman Catholic Church, (under the Archdiocese of Baltimore), St. John's Frederick-Town Church, was constructed by Father John Williams, the first priest and pastor in Frederick.[1] This new structure would house classes for 66 years.

John McElroy, SJ (1782–1877)

In 1822, a "Jesuit" (Society of Jesus) priest, Father John McElroy, (1782–1877), was appointed to the pastorate at "St. John's Frederick-Town Church" in Frederick, Maryland. His first major action was to work with the religious order Sisters of Charity in nearby Emmitsburg, Maryland in having five sisters opening the "St. John's Female Benevolent and Frederick Free School" in Frederick, in January 1824.[1]

With the educational needs of Frederick's girls gradually being met, McElroy's next task was to found an educational institution for boys in the town. In 1822, subscriptions were beginning to be taken and by August 7, 1828, the construction of the boys school began on East Second Street, in the eastern section of downtown Frederick, Maryland. The following year the construction was completed and the school was opened in 1829 as "St. John's Literary Institution".[2] Occasionally known thereafter as "St. John's College", the school was an academic rival to the earlier founded, famous Georgetown College, (1829), near Washington, D.C., by first American Bishop John Carroll, and Archbishop of Baltimore. After several years of running St. John's in Frederick, Fr. McElroy was transferred to Boston in 1847; there he would use the skills he acquired in Frederick to establish the later nationally-known Boston College, and its preparatory institution, Boston College High School along with the Church of the Immaculate Conception, all "Jesuits" institutions.[3]

The Jesuits left Frederick in 1903, and transferred control of the St. John's Literary Institution and the parish of St John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church to diocesan priests from Baltimore, Maryland.[1] In 1915, Father William Kane, the first diocesan pastor of St. John's the Evangelist of Frederick, arranged for the educationally focused women's religious order, the School Sisters of Notre Dame to help staff the school. He also combined classes from the girls' Visitation Academy and the boys from St. John's to create the first co-ed school under the name of St. John's L.I.[4]

St. John's then began allowing girls to enroll for classes in 1925. With attendance expanding, the original school structure built on Second Street by founder Father John McElroy in 1828 was demolished and a new building was erected in its place in the easatern sections of downtown Frederick.[4]

In 1958, the School separated and the high school of grades 9 to 12 moved from the East Second Street location, which would continue to house what was to be called "St. John's Elementary School" to the newly purchased Prospect Hall, a large mansion constructed on old "Red Hill" southwest of town off of Jefferson Pike and the new Butterfly Lane, built 1787-1803 and most recently owned by a former U.S. Representative (Congressman) Joseph H. Himes, (also source for the renamed nearby road segment and postal address of Himes Avenue). An additional temporary building was constructed at the rear of the mansion providing additional classrooms, an auditorium and gymnasium.

At this time the school was also colloqially renamed as "St. John's at Prospect Hall" which it used for general newspaper and sports stories in addition to the traditional historic name of St. John's Literary Institution.[5]

The School Sisters of Notre Dame withdrew from staffing and leading St John's in 1972, and under the pressure and possibility of closure, a group of parents, alumni, faculty and parishioners pooled their energies and resources and rechartered with reopened St. John's as the first independent Roman Catholic School in Maryland, with a Board of Trustees.[4][5] During the early years of the 21st century, the school and its Physical Education Department and interscholastics athletics programs became renown throughout the state for its winning and powerful athletic teams especially in basketball, winning several state titles and scoring high on the local newspapers' lists of top high school athletic teams. By 2005, having outgrown the facilities at Prospect Hall, St. John's acquired 46 acres of land in nearby Buckeystown, Maryland, further southwest of Frederick and Prospect Hall along the Buckeystown Pike, property that was adjacent to the former St. Thomas More Academy property, there in Buckeystown. With the goal of moving from the historic "Prospect Hall" mansion property, by whose name it had been known by for almost 45 years, the School began a "re-branding" campaign and changed the name of the school to "Saint John's Catholic Prep".

St. Thomas More Academy property located in Buckeystown, Maryland

On Monday, December 5, 2011, Saint John's agreed to buy the former St. Thomas More Academy property located in Buckeystown, Maryland for an undisclosed amount. The property was assessed by the state Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation on January 1, 2010, and was valued at $5,424,400.[6][6]

With the Buckeystown property being expanded from the original St. Thomas More buildings, and with the addition of more classrooms and sports fields, Saint John's Catholic Prep moved from Prospect Hall to the Buckeystown campus in January 2013, and resumed classes January 14, 2013, ready to continue its' 184 year old tradition of academic excellence in western Maryland.[6]


In addition to high school level courses, Saint John's Catholic Prep also offers Advanced Placement (AP) courses, which are taught at a college level. St. John's offers many AP classes including Literature & Composition, Language & Composition, Art History, French, Spanish, Latin, Calculus (AB and BC), Statistics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, US History, European History, Government, and Economics (Micro and Macro).[7]

The academic requirements imposed for receiving a high school diploma are consistent with the Maryland state requirements. St. John's also imposes academic requirements that are beyond those set by the state.[7]

Saint John's Catholic Prep offers 3 diplomas:

  • The College Preparatory Diploma, awarded to students who have fulfilled the basic academic requirements for graduation.[7]
  • The College Preparatory Diploma with Honors, for students who have fulfilled the basic academic requirements for graduation, have completed 4 advanced classes and a GPA of 3.0. The recipient of this diploma may specialize in one of two tracks, Math/Science or Humanities. [7]
  • The College Preparatory Diploma with High Honors, for students who have fulfilled the basic academic requirements for graduation, have completed 6 advanced classes and a GPA of 3.5.[7]


All boys' sports participate in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), while the girls' sports participate in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM), both established in 1993 as the private schools successors to the previous old Maryland Scholastic Association (M.S.A.), founded 1919, as a private-public schools league.

Saint John's Catholic Prep Athletics Programs[edit]

Boys Girls
Baseball Softball
Basketball Basketball
Cross-Country Cross-Country
Football Cheerleading
Lacrosse Lacrosse
Soccer Soccer
Tennis Tennis
Track & Field-Indoor & Outdoor Track & Field-Indoor & Outdoor

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Williams and McKinsey (1910).History of Frederick County, Maryland, Volume 1, p. 381,446-447,510-511. Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore. ISBN 9780806380124.
  2. ^ Shea, John Gilmary. Memorial of the first century of Georgetown College, D.C., p 81. P.F. Collier, New York
  3. ^ O'Tool James (Summer 2007). "The old man, A life in the fray prepared John McElroy for the start-up of Boston College", "Boston College Magazine".
  4. ^ a b c "History=St. John Regional Catholic School Website". [1]. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
  5. ^ a b "History=St. John the Evangelist Church Website". [2]. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
  6. ^ a b c Ames, Blair. "St. John's Catholic Prep to buy school building", The Frederick News Post, Frederick, 8 December 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Program of Studies=Saint John's Catholic Prep Website". [3]. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
  8. ^ "Ambitious Ferguson heads to Hargrave". Frederick News-Post. May 28, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Maryland Governor Enoch Louis Lowe". Former Governors' bios. National Governors' Association. Retrieved May 26, 2012. 
  10. ^ " Winfield Scott website". [4]. Retrieved 2012-07-25.

External links[edit]