St. Catherine's Academy

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St. Catherine’s Academy
United States
Type Private
Military boarding & day school
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1889
President Sr. Johnellen Turner, OP
Grades K-8
Gender Boys
Student to teacher ratio 10:1
Campus 8 acres (32,000 m2)
Color(s) Green and gold ‹See Tfm›    ‹See Tfm›    
Athletics conference Parochial Athletic League
Mascot Knights
Affiliation Dominican Order
Former name St. Catherine's Military Academy
Director of Admissions/Recruiting Graciela Salvador
Athletic Director Greg Jones

St. Catherine’s Academy is a Catholic military school located in Anaheim, California. It was founded in 1889 by The Dominican Sisters of Mission San José. The school offers a challenging academic program for boys in kindergarten through eighth grade, as well as military structure and leadership training. The school is open to both resident and day students.

Mission statement[edit]

“St. Catherine’s Academy, a Catholic school with a military tradition, builds within young men a foundation for success through a formation program, which is rooted in the Dominican charism and emphasizes faith, leadership, academics, and service.”[1]

Honor code[edit]

“A St. Catherine’s cadet will tell the truth, do his own work, respect others' property and retain their trust, respect all other people, encourage others to act similarly.”[2]


St. Catherine’s Academy was founded by Mother Pia Backes, the foundress of the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose. The school was dedicated on March 19, 1889, and opened on March 22, 1889, as an academy for girls and a parochial school for local families. St. Catherine’s also spent time as an orphanage and a school for boys before becoming a military school in the 1920s. The name was changed to St. Catherine's Military School and later St. Catherine's Military Academy. In August 2010, the academy began using its original name, St. Catherine's Academy. The tagline "A Catholic School with a Military Tradition" is used to reflect the school's continued military tradition. The Dominican Sisters continue to be a presence on campus. Today, sisters hold positions in administration, resident care and teaching.


St. Catherine’s Academy has an 8-acre (32,000 m2) campus in Anaheim, California, two miles (3 km) from Disneyland. Facilities include a classroom building, administrative office, dining hall, social hall, infirmary, indoor swimming pool, gymnasium and a large playing field. Resident cadets stay in one of four dormitories staffed with a resident care provider and enjoy a recreation room and theatre.

The school’s chapel is the St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel. Decorated by the artist Jan Henryk De Rosen, it is dedicated to the memory of Captain William Maguire, the cadets' chaplain in the 1950s. Maguire was a United States Navy Chaplain to the Pacific Fleet during World War II. He was at Pearl Harbor, preparing to celebrate mass when the Japanese attacked.

Accreditations and memberships[edit]

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)[3]
  • National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA)[4]
  • Catholic Boarding Schools Associations (CBSA)[5]
  • Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States (AMCSUS)[6]
  • International Boys’ Schools Coalition (IBSC)[7]


St. Catherine’s academics adhere to the standards of both the State of California and the Diocese of Orange.[8] The school is proud of its commitment to computer technology, advanced math and science, and music programs.

Military tradition[edit]

The military program begins for students in third grade. Its primary objectives are to develop within each cadet a keen sense of honor, commitment, cooperation, initiative, self-discipline, leadership, and respect. Cadets participate in drill training each afternoon. The military department also takes cadets to a one-week leadership camp at Camp San Luis Obispo each summer.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

St. Catherine’s is accomplished in both athletics and music. St. Catherine’s competes in the Parochial Athletic League (PAL) in three sports: flag football, volleyball and basketball. The school has won championships in all three sports (basketball - 2006-2007; flag football - 2003-2004; volleyball - 2001-2002).[9] The music program is among the oldest ongoing programs in Orange County with over 70 years in existence. In addition to weekly music classes, students can take individual guitar and piano lessons. The school’s band, The Marching Knights, participates in local parades and concerts.[10]

Popular culture[edit]

St Catherine's Academy was used for exterior shots in the movie The Private War of Major Benson.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°50′07″N 117°55′19″W / 33.83529°N 117.92200°W / 33.83529; -117.92200