St. Joseph by the Sea High School

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St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School
5150 Hylan Boulevard
Staten Island, New York, 10312
United States
Coordinates 40°31′32″N 74°10′36″W / 40.52556°N 74.17667°W / 40.52556; -74.17667Coordinates: 40°31′32″N 74°10′36″W / 40.52556°N 74.17667°W / 40.52556; -74.17667
Type Private, Coeducational
Motto Ipsius Est Mare
(The Sea is His)
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Patron saint(s) Saint Joseph
Established 1963
CEEB Code 335-383
Principal Father Michael Reilly
Faculty 55
Grades 9-12
Enrollment ~1,200 (2014)
Student to teacher ratio 23:1
Color(s) Blue and Gray         
Athletics 2010 New York City CHSAA Varsity Baseball Champions defeating Xavier H.S.
Sports Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cheerleading, Cross Country/Track & Field, Football, Golf, Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling
Mascot Viking
Team name Vikings
Accreditation Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools [1]
Newspaper 'The Viking Press'
Yearbook 'SAGA'
Dean of Students Greg Manos (boys)
Catherine Nebel (girls)
Athletic Director Greg Manos (boys)
Kathy Kelly (girls)
Cheerleaders in Manhattan

St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School (also known as SJS or Sea) is a co-educational Catholic school in the Huguenot neighborhood of Staten Island, New York. Though technically an independent school, it functions for all intents and purposes as a school of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York; though it has its own board of trustees. The school serves approximately 1,200 young men and women in 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades.


All students take a college preparatory course, with an advanced "honors" track for more advanced students. All students receive a Regents diploma "with advanced designation" (that is, students are expected to pass the New York State exams in English, Algebra, Geometry, Living Environment, Global Studies and U.S. History necessary for a Regents-endorsed diploma, plus Algebra II/Trigonometry, Chemistry, and either Italian or Spanish required for the "advanced" endorsement; students take a third science Regents exam in Earth Science or Physics, placing them even above the advanced designation).

Students in honors take three years of Latin and earn six credits in Latin From St. John's University. Students can earn up to 60 college credits from SUNY Albany, St. John's University, and Iona College in their junior and senior years.[citation needed]

In addition to the above courses and several other requirements, students are required to take four years of Catholic Studies (Introduction to the Creed and Sacraments; Sacred Scripture; Church History; Moral Theology) and pass a Religious Competency Examination. The school is staffed almost entirely by lay teachers, but as of 2014 there was a priest-principal teaching religion, an IHM sister teaching Gym, and visiting priests.[citation needed]


Entrance is by examination — the cooperative "Test for Admission to Catholic High Schools" (TACHS) used by most Catholic schools in the archdiocese. The student body is roughly evenly split between young men and young women, and is drawn almost entirely from Staten Island.[citation needed]


The land upon which the school sits was once one of the estates of Charles M. Schwab, the steel magnate and benefactor of Catholic institutions. A large tract that originally included a broad beach area on Raritan Bay in what was then a very rural section of Staten Island, it sat near a number of Catholic facilities, including Camp St. Edward (a summer camp for African American children served by the Handmaids of Mary) and the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin at Mt. Loretto (a vast orphanage and farm for boys and girls started by Fr. John C. Drumgoole in post-Civil War New York).

Schwab's property passed into the hands of the Sisters of Charity of New York early in the 20th Century, and was used as a summer "villa" for children from the New York Foundling Hospital and St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan, both of which were run by the sisters. It was also the site of a summer school for the sisters themselves: as almost all of the Sisters of Charity at that time were either teachers or nurses in various schools and hospitals throughout the archdiocese, young sisters were sent to St. Joseph by the Sea to complete their degrees during the summer months under the auspices of the College of Mount Saint Vincent, an institution of higher learning originally located in Manhattan, then moved to The Bronx, and also run by the sisters.

Cheerleaders at a football game

In 1963, as Staten Islanders braced for a population boom that came with the building of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Brooklyn, the Sisters of Charity transformed the land into a girls' high school. Financial problems almost forced the school to close in the mid-1970s, but under the direction of Cardinal Terence Cooke, then archbishop of New York, and his designee as the first priest to serve as principal, Msgr. Thomas Gaffney, the school sold off a part of the beachfront area, expanded its facilities and went co-educational, doubling in size and eventually achieving financial solvency in the process. Angelo Castillo '77 from New Dorp was the first young man to be admitted into the school in the summer of 1973 when it went co-ed, and since then, thousands of young men have graduated from Sea. Msgr. Thomas Gaffney eventually became the pastor of St. Charles Church in Oakwood. Msgr. Joseph Ansaldi became principal. Msgr. Ansaldi was a weekend associate at St. Charles, who remained as principal through 2009 before stepping down. Fr. Michael Reilly succeeded Monsignor Ansaldi as principal.[citation needed]

In the last decade of the 20th Century; under the leadership of Msgr Ansaldi, the school campus underwent massive renovations. A new 500 seat auditorium was dedicated to the late former principal Msgr. Thomas Gaffney in 1999. Renovations continued into the 21st Century with new tennis courts and a fitness center added in 2001. In 2003 ground was broken for a new track and field-turf football field (one of the first in the state). The baseball, softball, and soccer fields are now field turf. In October 2005 renovations of the baseball and softball fields began. By the beginning of the 2006 school year the renovations were completed. On October 27, 2007, Bishop Dennis Sullivan dedicated "Viking Park" the 11-acre (45,000 m2) all turf athletic complex at the high school. At the entrance to the park stands an original 1918 US Navy anchor and a statue of a Viking dedicated to St. Ansgar, both donated by Michael Coppotelli (class of 2001), a former Director of Institutional Advancement at the School. Other additions in the last decade include a music wing, computer labs, television studio, and new science labs. In 2012, Viking Park was renamed Msgr. Joseph Ansaldi Park.[citation needed]

Sister Jude Trank was the last Sister of Charity to retire from the school, in June 2012. For the first time in the school's 50 year history the Sisters of Charity, the order that founded and staffed the school, will no longer have a physical presence. There is an active alumni association and the administration is reaching out for alumni to become more involved in the school community.[citation needed]

Seamless Online Learning Environment[edit]

St. Joseph by-the-Sea is known for pioneering the Seamless Online Learning Environment (SOLE) in partnership with Kennedy Catholic High School in Somers, NY. The project consists of Smart Classrooms, featuring teacher computers projecting on a smart board, Blackboard Learn, and studnet iPads. Student textbooks, notebooks, homework, and testing are all completed online in an integrated learning environment that supports a collegiate learning style.


Saint Joseph is also known for its football team, which won its first AAA playoff game in 2012. The team is led with a blue collar power run game. They play in the CHSFL AAA level (highest).[citation needed]

Notable alumni[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ MSA-CSS. "MSA-Commission on Secondary Schools". Retrieved 2009-05-27.