Archbishop Riordan High School

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Archbishop Riordan High School
Archbishop Riordan High School (logo).gif
Archbishop Riordan High School is located in San Francisco
Archbishop Riordan High School
Archbishop Riordan High School
Archbishop Riordan High School is located in California
Archbishop Riordan High School
Archbishop Riordan High School
Archbishop Riordan High School is located in the US
Archbishop Riordan High School
Archbishop Riordan High School
175 Phelan Avenue
San Francisco, California 94112
United States
Coordinates 37°43′40″N 122°27′11″W / 37.72778°N 122.45306°W / 37.72778; -122.45306Coordinates: 37°43′40″N 122°27′11″W / 37.72778°N 122.45306°W / 37.72778; -122.45306
Type Private, all-male
Motto Mihi Vivere Christus Est
(For Me to Live Is Christ.)
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic;
Established 1949 (as St. James, 1906)
President Andrew Currier
Principal Timothy Reardon
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 710
Campus Urban
Color(s) Purple and gold         
Athletics conference West Catholic Athletic League
Team name Crusaders
Accreditation Western Association of Schools and Colleges[1]
Average SAT scores Class of 2016: 1810
Average ACT scores Class of 2016: 27.8
Publication Future
Newspaper The Crusader
Yearbook Lance
Tuition $20,000

Archbishop Riordan High School is a diocesan, all-boys Catholic high school established by the Society of Mary in San Francisco, California. It is part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco. Originally called Riordan High School, the school was named after Archbishop Patrick William Riordan, the second Archbishop of San Francisco, and opened in the fall of 1949. In 1989, then-student body president Derrick Kualapai met with principal Fr. William O'Connell and shared his vision of branding a new name for the prestigious college preparatory institution. In 1990, "Archbishop" was officially added to the school's name. The school is known for its historically successful basketball, wrestling, track and field, football, marching band, concert band and theatre programs.

The Marianists[edit]

The Marianist Organization has remained a guiding force throughout Riordan's existence and follows several specific "Characteristics of Education in the Marianist Tradition":

  • Educate for formation in faith
  • Provide an integral, quality education
  • Educate in family spirit
  • Educate for service, justice and peace
  • Educate for adaptation & change


Archbishop Riordan High School offers a variety of Honors and Advanced Placement courses. Advanced Placement offerings include:

Archbishop Riordan is the home to four AP exam readers. As of 2015, 426 AP tests were administered to 218 students, with 67% of those scores qualifying for college credit.

In the fall of 2017 the school launched a House System to increase school unity, and also an engineering program that prepares students for a college level engineering major.

Archbishop Riordan High School operates a residential boarding program with students from nine countries currently living on campus. The program is one of only a few that are located in a major US city.

1:1 iPad program[edit]

Archbishop Riordan began its 1:1 iPad program in 2012. Many students were expected to buy an iPad and the required apps for the school year. The school was finally able to adapt to this new technology during the second semester, and it was used to its full potential. Many teachers now receive work from students via email, whereas reading assignments and homework assignments can be seen by both students and teacher through iTunes U or Schoology. All students are use this technology to supplement the learning experience. Every area of the school has internet for students to use.

Student body[edit]

The 100% male student population ranges from 690 to 710. The student body is currently 25% Caucasian, 25% Hispanic, 15% Filipino, 10% Chinese, 13% multi-ethnic/other, 5% African American, and 6% other Asian ethnicities. 81% of the student body is Catholic. 18% of the student body is a different Christian denomination, and 1% is another non-Christian group.

Student life and campus ministry[edit]

A Riordan student is required to complete 100 community service hours before graduation. Four retreats are offered to students, with Kairos Retreats in the fall, winter, and spring. These aim to help students have a better understanding of the natural world and society. Each incoming freshman is given a Crusader Brother, either a senior, junior, or sophomore, that will guide him during the freshman year. Sophomores and juniors have the chance to have an overnight retreat twice per year. Annual drives are held, such as the "Every Penny Counts" campaign for AIDS patients, the International Drive to support Our Lady of Nazareth, Nairobi, Kenya M. Primary School, and the Blood Drives. Archbishop Riordan is number one in the Bay Area in donating blood.

Not only does the school help the community, but it also enriches students' characters. There are 34 clubs at Riordan, and at least two out of three students join a club. Counselors are also committed to help the student in his everyday life. The school strongly advises students to participate in activities. Freshmen are required to fulfill a Freshman Marianist Requirement of earning 7 points in order to pass their freshman year. Actions include commitment to a sport, club, or having a 3.0 or better unweighted GPA.

Marching and concert bands[edit]

Riordan is the only high school in San Francisco to have its own marching band. The program consists of marching, concert, jazz, and pep bands. At Riordan, the majority of musicians pick up their new instruments in their freshman year while enrolled in the Instrumental Music Ensemble (Beginning Band). They move into the Intermediate Band as sophomores and join the marching band in the second semester and their junior and senior years. The band program is one of the few high school music programs that starts students with no musical experience.

The band competes in the Northern California Band Association (NCBA) along with many other bands from all over the Bay Area. It competes in the small schools division (Class D or E) and is one of the biggest bands in its division, with around 90 members. The band appears in every San Francisco city parade (Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Chinese New Year, and St. Patrick's Day). In 2010, the band was invited to perform as part of the San Francisco Giants Victory Parade down Market Street following their first ever World Series Championship, and has performed in each one since.

The school also has a Pep Band, a Jazz Combo that regularly participates in California Musical Educators competitions, a drumline, and a Color Guard team, featuring girls from Mercy SF and ICA, two local high schools that perform with the band during parades. The band travels each year and visited Disneyland in 2009, 2011, and 2015. There are 160 students in the band program, averaging to nearly one out of every four students being in the band program.


Two productions are made year-round, a fall play and a spring musical. Those involved in the theater production regularly do community service along with working on the stage or other elements of the play.


The Riordan Crusaders field a variety of team and individual sports in the West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL). Sports that Riordan fields include football, cross-country, wrestling, basketball, soccer, track, tennis, baseball, and golf. Riordan's most notable championship seasons include a WCAL Championship in football in 2000 and a 2007 Division II CCS championship, a CIF State Championship in basketball in 2002, a WCAL championship in track in 2004, a CCS title in track in 2005, and a Division III CCS championship in basketball in 2006 and in 2007.

Tyrone McGraw, '06, in a football game for the Crusaders against Burlingame


Participating in the newly created Catholic League for high schools around San Francisco. The student body enthusiastically supported the program, as Riordan fielded new sports every few years. Notable events of the decade include the first football game at Riordan (September 18, 1951), the first homecoming night rally (November 10, 1955), the Riordan versus St. Ignatius College Preparatory football game at Seals Stadium (November 3, 1956), the Faculty versus Seniors basketball game (April 4, 1957), and the Block Society's sponsoring of Fight Night, which featured eight boxing matches as well as wrestling and judo (March 28, 1958).

Sports at Riordan were initially shaped by Edward Fennelly, a then 24-year-old graduate of St. Joseph's High School in Alameda. He coached the basketball and track teams, and expanded his influence on the Riordan teams in the following years. To many he is a symbol of the origins and development of Riordan, and to thousands of alumni was the epitome of sportsmanship and gentlemanly behavior. He coached, taught, and served as an administrator for 40 years.


Joining the new West Catholic Athletic League in 1967, the Crusaders were successful in a number of athletic endeavors. The victory bell was introduced, which still resides in the junior hallway of the school. It was put to good use, as basketball won varsity championships in '60, '68, and '69; cross country won championships in '65, '66, '68, and '69); football in '66; and track in '67 and '68.

As the CAL divided, and Riordan joined the WCAL, Ed Fennelly became commissioner. This coincided with the 1966 football team's dramatic championship win against league powerhouse Bellarmine. Under "Doc" Erskine, the Crusaders battled the Bellarmine Bells under the lights of Kezar Stadium to come out on top, 13-10. In their exuberance after the game, students tore down the goalposts at Kezar, fashioning trophies from the wood. These trophies, signed by the team, reside in the Crusader Forum today, memorializing their legendary upset for the first WCAL championship.


The '70s saw the most varsity championships (13 in all) and the greatest varsity record (six sports). They included one each in track and cross country, two in football and baseball, three in basketball, and four in soccer. The varsity soccer team won four consecutive WCAL titles and the Central Coast Section championship in 1976.

Riordan saw the birth of Camp Crusader, a summer camp for future Riordan athletes started in 1974 for boys in 4th through 8th grades. Consisting of two three-week sessions, hundreds of youngsters swarmed to Riordan. Original organized leagues included baseball, football, soccer, basketball, pee-wee golf, tennis, track, field hockey, tumbling, wrestling, and bowling. Each participant received a camp polo shirt and a trip to see the Giants at Candlestick Park.


Riordan won six straight basketball championships from 1985 to 1990, going to sectional and state championships several times.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  2. ^ a b "Muckraking SF journalist Warren Hinckle dies at 77". SFGate. Retrieved 2018-03-12.
  3. ^ Fagan, Gary (April 21, 2017). "Gary Thomas, prosecutor paralyzed in 1970 courthouse shootout, dies". SFGate. San Francisco. Retrieved April 21, 2017.

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