Cate School

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Cate School
Cate School Logo.jpg
Servons (Let Us Serve)
Carpinteria, CA
Type Private, Boarding
Established 1910
Head teacher Benjamin D. Williams IV
Enrollment 270
Color(s) Blue/White
Athletics Tri-County Athletic Association
Mascot Rams

The "Cate School", established in 1910 by Curtis Wolsey Cate, is a four-year, coeducational, college-preparatory boarding school in Carpinteria, California, United States.[1] Cate has a student body of 270 (81% boarders) that includes 40% students of color, as well as students from 22 U.S. states and 17 foreign countries.[2][3]

A not-for-profit organization, Cate School is directed by a board of trustees, including two faculty advisory trustees, and four ex officio members. Cate is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and is affiliated with the National Association of Independent Schools, the California Association of Independent Schools, the Western Boarding Schools Association, the Cum Laude Society, the California Interscholastic Federation, A Better Chance, and the Secondary School Admission Test Board. The school is also associated with Round Square, an internationally recognized organization of schools which follows the ideals of Kurt Hahn. The program encourages and helps coordinate (through its member schools) exchange programs and service trips around the world.[4]


Cate School is located east of Santa Barbara, California in Carpinteria, California. The Cate campus occupies approximately 150 acres (0.61 km2) of land atop a mesa in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The school's first president of the board of trustees was the Episcopal bishop Joseph Horsfall Johnson, and his son, the architect Reginald Davis Johnson, designed the first permanent campus buildings on the Cate Mesa in the 1920s.[5] The campus today includes nine student dormitories, classroom facilities and labs, a library, theater, dining hall and various art buildings. The athletic facilities include two gyms, three full-size playing fields, an all-weather track, an aquatics center with two pools, a baseball diamond, a softball diamond, a rock wall, and tennis and squash courts.[6] In addition, the school owns more than 1,000 acres of undeveloped backcountry land that is used by students for hiking and exploration.[7]


The academic curriculum features 101 course offerings with more than 40 advanced, AP or honors courses. The average class size is 11 with a 5:1 student-faculty ratio.[8] The school also provides the opportunity for independent study projects through the directed studies program and science research courses.[9]

Freshmen and sophomores are required to take courses in English, History, Art, Mathematics, Science, and Human Development, as well as a foreign language with which the student is not already familiar. Juniors and seniors can choose from over 35 elective courses such as Oceanography, Comparative Government, and Film Studies.

The most popular college selections of Cate graduates over the past 5 years are the University of Southern California, New York University, University of Chicago, Columbia University, Stanford University, Colorado College, and the University of Pennsylvania.[10]

In 2001, Cate School was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Outstanding Boarding Schools in America. In 2008, The Princeton Review ranked Cate School #14 of the best boarding schools in America.


All students are involved in an extracurricular program that includes athletics, drama, music, dance, community service and an extensive outdoor program which allows students to engage in many activities such as taking students surfing, kayaking, rock climbing, backpacking, mountain biking, and rafting.

Interscholastic athletic teams compete in soccer, cross country, volleyball, water polo, football, basketball, lacrosse, squash, tennis, track, baseball, and softball. Intramurals include surfing, ultimate frisbee, weight training, Tae Kwan Do, dance and others. Cate School has outdoor programs that include sea kayaking, hiking etc.

In addition to the usual clubs and activities, Cate includes a 24-page newspaper, El Batidor, a drama society that produces several productions each year, a literary magazine, The Cate Review, and numerous musical groups that perform in concert and in what are known as "coffee house" presentations. Other sample clubs include: Mock Trial, the Pirate Club (ARRR), the Fencing Club, the Martial Arts Club, Blue Crew, the Black Student Union (BSU), Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FLAG), and the Film Society.

Cate School is home to a Student-Faculty Senate. The only legislative body on campus, the Student-Faculty Senate is composed of both elected senators and appointed officials and deals with legislation concerning all aspects of community life. The senate is chaired by the Student Body President, the only official elected by a community-wide vote. Student senators are elected by their respective classes. Two others systems the school has in place are the Prefect and Teaching Assistant (T.A.) programs. Prefects are elected at the end of their junior year by students and faculty to serve as leaders, role-models, and "big brothers and sisters" in the dorms. T.A.s work with the Human Development department in their Sophomore and Freshman seminars.

Students are also involved in service projects in the community. Students help tutor local schoolchildren, visit with the elderly and disabled, and work on local environmental improvement projects. Faculty and students also travel regularly to northern Mexico to work on community construction projects and help with children and their families in the Los Niños program, a Cate tradition for more than 30 years. Through Round Square students also have an opportunity to travel abroad for community service, work projects and exchange programs.[11]


Cate's traditional athletic rivalry is with The Thacher School, and often considers a victory over Thacher (The "Toads") the most important goal in any sport. The Cate-Thacher lacrosse game is the oldest lacrosse rivalry in the west. In 2007, two Cate students formed a cheering squad for athletics called The Blue Crew. The team distributes rally towels, teaches old and new cheers to spectators, and organizes students to perform collaborative cheers at various sporting events.

The roots of Cate School are actually linked to Thacher. Curtis Cate, a graduate of Roxbury Latin School and Harvard College, traveled to California in 1908 with plans to start a boarding school that "combined the academic excellence of the best East Coast prep schools with the can-do, adventurous spirit of the West". Upon his arrival in California, Cate was hired by Sherman Thacher to teach English "at his famous school in Ojai Valley". Cate spent a year teaching at Thacher before moving to Santa Barbara in 1910 to start his own school (Cate School was originally called the Santa Barbara School).[12]

Cate also enjoys competitive rivalries with other Southern California boarding schools including former league rival Dunn School. Second to Cate's rivalry with Thacher is its rivalry with its geographic rival Laguna Blanca School, a private day school located in Santa Barbara, California.

In the fall of 2014, Cate and Thacher began play in the Tri-County Athletic Association, thereby ending league rivalries with Laguna Blanca and Dunn.

Notable alumni[edit]


Specific references
  1. ^ "History and Traditions of Cate School." Cate School. Retrieved on August 2, 2013.
  2. ^ Cate School Retrieved 23 April 2015.  Text "title. Quick Facts" ignored (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Cate School". Boarding School Review. Boarding School Review LLC. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Round Square at Cate. Cate School Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  5. ^ Mr. Cate's School: A Seventy-Five Year History, 1910-1985. (1984). Carpinteria, CA:Cate School Historical Society.
  6. ^ "Map of the Mesa" (PDF). Cate School. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Life at Cate." Cate School. Retrieved from on August 2, 2013.
  8. ^ Cate School Quick Facts. Cate School. Retrieved August 2, 2013
  9. ^ "Independent Study". Cate School. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "College Matriculation & School Profile". Cate School. Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "Life at Cate." Cate School. Retrieved from on August 2, 2013.
  12. ^ "History and Traditions of Cate School." Cate School. Retrieved from on August 2, 2013.
  13. ^ Konecky, Chad. "Boateng nets National Player of the Year". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
Other sources

External links[edit]