St. John's High School (Massachusetts)

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This article is about a school in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. For the similarly named school in Danvers, Massachusetts, see St. John's Preparatory School (Danvers, Massachusetts).
Saint John's High School
Ryken Center, St Johns High School, Shrewsbury MA.jpg
Ryken Center
Concordia Res Parva Crescunt.
In Harmony Small Things Grow.
378 Main Street
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, (Worcester), 01545-2299
United States
Coordinates 42°17′33″N 71°43′45″W / 42.29250°N 71.72917°W / 42.29250; -71.72917Coordinates: 42°17′33″N 71°43′45″W / 42.29250°N 71.72917°W / 42.29250; -71.72917
Type Private
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Xaverian Brothers
Established 1894
CEEB Code 222-515
Chairperson Bridget Welch
Principal Dr. Jacob Conca
Headmaster Michael Welch '78
Chaplain Rev. Edward Niccolls '66
Teaching staff 70
Grades 912
Enrollment 995 (2013-2014)
 • Grade 12 229 (Class of 2014)
Campus Suburban
Campus size 125 acres (0.51 km2)
Color(s) Red and White         
Athletics 16 interscholastic sports
Athletics conference Central Mass Conference
Mascot Pioneer
Team name Pioneers
Accreditation New England Association of Schools and Colleges[1]
Average SAT scores 609 Math
594 Verbal
580 Writing
Newspaper The Red & White
Tuition $11,575
Academic Dean Dr. John Morse '89,
Jeanne Depasse
Dean of Students Dr. David Lizotte,
Carlton Galligan
Athletic Director Patrick White, Sr.

Saint John's High School is a private Catholic boys' high school located in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. It is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester. The school was founded and is currently sponsored by the Xaverian Brothers.


The Xaverian Brothers' association with Worcester dates back to September 1894, when a pioneer community of four Xaverians arrived in the city to formally open Saint John's Parish Grammar School for Boys. In 1898 a three-year high school curriculum was introduced. A fourth, or senior year, was added in 1906, when the College of the Holy Cross dropped that institution's college prep or high school senior course to concentrate solely on college-level work.

In December 1953, John Cardinal Wright, who was then Bishop of Worcester, transferred the high school property under the new title of Saint John's Preparatory School of Worcester to the Xaverian Brothers. This event coincided with the centennial celebration of the Brothers' arrival in America in 1854. The school population in 1954 consisted of eleven Brothers and 354 and 1/2 students. The brothers purchased a large acre estate in neighboring Shrewsbury. This acquisition was the first step in the expansion of Saint John's to a regional high school serving all of Worcester County. In 1959, one hundred twenty-five acres at the foot of Main Street hill were purchased, and Pioneer Field came into being. In 1962, all classes had transferred to the Shrewsbury location. A gym and cafeteria were added in 1963 and 1964.[2]

From an enrollment of slightly over 410 and a staff consisting of four Brothers, Saint John's has emerged during the last ten decades as a regional, private, catholic, college-preparatory school with a student body of over 1,000. After the January 2008 retirement of Brother Plunket Doherty, there are no longer any Xaverian Brothers on the faculty, which is now composed solely of lay men and women.


Saint John's is a four-year college preparatory school. Students are tracked into several levels: Advanced Placement, Honors, Level I, and Level II. Along with traditional courses, students are required to take courses in religious studies including an Introduction to Religious Studies, Introduction to Biblical Literature, and Christian Morality and Justice. Seniors are offered religious studies electives such as Bioethics, World Religions, Christian Life, or The Catholic Church in History. Saint John's offers twenty four Advanced Placement courses and each year students take approximately 700 AP exams. Saint John's graduates consistently matriculate to Ivy League Universities and other top-ranked colleges. In 2007, Saint John's was honored by the Siemens Foundation as the top Math, Science, and Technology AP high school in the state of Massachusetts. St. John's is the top Advanced Placement school of Massachusetts and one of the top AP schools in the nation.


The football program won three consecutive Super Bowls from 2004-2006. They also won the super bowls in 2002, 2009 and 2010.

The highlight to the football season is the annual Thanksgiving football game between Saint John's and rival St. Peter-Marian. The game is held at Fitton Field in Worcester. The St. John's-Saint Peter-Marian football rivalry is the oldest Catholic high school rivalry in the nation.[3]

The school's basketball team won the 2000 and 2009 Division 1 state championships.

The Saint John's baseball team won the 2002 state championship.

The Saint John's ski team won the 2007 state championship.

The Saint John's golf team had won three consecutive state titles from 2005–2007.

In 2006, the 4 by 400 meter relay team won both state and New England titles.

In wrestling, the Pioneers hold several state and New England titles in individual weight classes.

In 2007 Saint John's won the Division 1 soccer state championship for the first time since 2002.

The Saint John's hockey team won a state championship in hockey in 1999 and 2004.

In 2004, the crew team won the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association (NEIRA) Championship Regatta. In the mid-1980s St. John’s established itself as a presence in the international rowing world by competing in Ireland and at the Henley Royal Regatta in England, seven times from 1984-1996. They have won the New England team championship, competed in the 2001 and 2006 National Championships and since 1996 been consistently one of the top seven crews in New England. They compete annually in the Head of the Charles in the fall and the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association (NEIRA) Championship Regatta in the spring.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Saint John's extracurricular activities consist of a broad array of more than fifty student programs. Activities include very successful academic programs such as the Model United Nations, Policy Debate, Mock Trial, Academic Decathlon, and Math Team.

Other activities such as the Cycling Club, Strategy Game Club, and the Chess Club are also popular. Students have opportunities to develop their journalistic and creative writing skills as part of SJ's student-produced publications, the Red and White newspaper and ICON literary magazine. Saint John's has a variety of Intramural sports teams as well.

The St. John's Improv Society is a student run club which meets every Friday after school. The club typically contains about 20-30 students. The Improv club puts on two to three shows per year in the Black Box Theater.

The Drama Club sponsors a number of performances a year, including two plays, (the fall play directed by Mr. Michael Clark and Mr. Richard Monroe, while the Winter show is directed by Mr. John Deedy) a Spring Spectacular variety show, and a student-directed play each spring.

The Campus Ministry office sponsors a number of community-building, religious, and service programs. Recently, the Campus Ministry began a program called "Global Encounter." Similar to a college Alternative Spring Break, this program sends students on national and international service trips during February and April vacations to places such as New Orleans, Louisiana, New York City, and Ecuador.


The Saint John's campus resides over the one hundred twenty-five acre hillside of the former Dunmorlan estate on Main Street in Shrewsbury. Campus facilities include several academic buildings, athletic fields, a chapel, and the Xaverian Brothers' residence.

Academic buildings[edit]

The principal academic building is (Brother) Conal Hall. Conal Hall holds all mathematics, English, and religious studies classes, as well as some science, foreign language and history classes. In addition to its classrooms, Conal Hall houses two computer labs, a writing center, a math resource room, an art studio, and administrative offices.

Constructed in 1999 at a cost of $5.2 million, the Ryken Center houses many of the school's science classes, with the exception of a single laboratory and a classroom used for the study of biology in Conal Hall. The Ryken Center is also home to the Black Box Theatre, the performance center used by the theatre art classes and clubs and host to various performances throughout the year, including productions by the Improv Society. Remillard Hall serves as a meeting and assembly space in the Ryken Center, used as both lecture hall and musical performance stage by students.

Flavian Hall, which was refurbished in 2006, houses the foreign language departments of Spanish and French (Chinese courses are held in Conal Hall) and several social studies classes.

Flavian Hall was demolished over the summer of 2014, and in its place, a new building, Founder's Hall, is currently under construction. Founder's Hall will house classrooms for the arts. In the meantime, classes continue as normal in only Conal Hall and the Ryken Center.

The Coaches Pavilion is the school's gymnasium, which was renovated in 2005 and again in 2007. The floor was renovated in the fall of 2008 and 2009.

Late 2006 saw the construction of the Salem Student Commons, a new cafeteria and study hall area. During the summer of 2008, Conal hall underwent a major renovation, in which many aspects of the hall were upgraded, most notably: the installation of larger and more energy-efficient windows; the addition of LCD projectors in every room; the replacement of traditional blackboards with whiteboards, as well as the replacement of all lockers, ceilings, and lights; and upgrading the electric and network infrastructure of the campus.

Notable alumni[edit]







  • Fred Borchelt (1972) Mens U.S Olympic Rowing Team 1976-1984 (also a current faculty member)





External links[edit]