Archmere Academy

Coordinates: 39°48′07″N 75°27′18″W / 39.80194°N 75.45500°W / 39.80194; -75.45500
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Archmere Academy
Archmere Academy school crest
3600 Philadelphia Pike

New Castle County

United States
Coordinates39°48′07″N 75°27′18″W / 39.80194°N 75.45500°W / 39.80194; -75.45500
TypePrivate, coeducational
MottoPietate et Scientia
(Faith and Knowledge)
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Established1932 (91 years ago) (1932)
CEEB code080010
RectorRev. Fr. Joseph McLaughlin, O. Praem
PrincipalKatie Eissler Thiel
HeadmasterMichael Marinelli
ChaplainFather John Zagarella
Enrollment514 (2020–21)
Average class size15
Student to teacher ratio6:1
Color(s)Green and white
MascotGreat auk
AccreditationMiddle States Association of Colleges and Schools[2]
NewspaperThe Green Arch
YearbookThe Patio
TuitionApproximately $30,900[1]

Archmere Academy is a private Roman Catholic college preparatory school located in Claymont, Delaware, United States. 514 students were enrolled for the 2020–21 academic year.[3] The academy is co-educational and is run independently within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington.


Archmere Academy was founded in 1932 by the Norbertine religious order, initially as an all-boys school.[4] It began on the former estate of U.S. industrialist John J. Raskob, who lived there with his wife Helena and their 12 children until 1931. Raskob was the campaign manager for New York Governor Al Smith during his presidential campaign in 1928 and the home was used for many meetings, including those of the Democratic National Committee.[5]

John J. Raskob, owner of the former estate on which Archmere Academy now sits

The estate was purchased by Bernard Pennings in 1932. He was the Abbot of the Norbertine Order and is attributed as the founder of St. Norbert College, a private Catholic liberal arts college located in De Pere, Wisconsin.[6] The estate was purchased for $300,000 in the spring of 1932 and officially dedicated in the fall of 1932.[4] The first year of operation, Archmere Academy had an enrollment of 22 students, 16 freshmen and 6 sophomores. In 1933 and 1934, enrollment grew to 50 students and 72 students respectively.[4]

Archmere Academy began slowly expanding during the mid to late 1930s due to enrollment increases. Minor expansions were made to accommodate boarding students. In 1939 it built its first gymnasium[7] and by 1940 it had converted the manor on the property into a science center. The school made a transition in the mid-1940s by where it became strictly a four-year college preparatory institution. It phased out both 7th and 8th grades during the 1946–47 and 1947-48 school years. It continued as a day school and boarding school for boys while its enrollment continued to increase.

In 1957, Archmere Academy celebrated its 25th anniversary with the groundbreaking for St. Norbert Hall, the school's main academic building, which was completed in 1959.[4] Going into the 1960s, it continued to expand to accommodate the increase in enrollment, which had reached 394 students by the end of that decade. The Justin E. Diny Science Center was opened in 1973 with classrooms for physics, chemistry, biology, and environmental science.[8] The old science center was turned into a center for the arts which held classes for the school's chorus, band, theater, and studio arts program.[8]

St. Norbert Hall, the center of academic life at Archmere

The 1970s brought about two major changes for Archmere Academy. It moved away from being a boarding school and became a day school exclusively.[9] In 1975 it also announced the decision to become a co-ed institution,[9] enrolling 50 girls into the school. It was near the end of the 1970s that a board of trustees was for the academy, with the first meeting taking place in 1980. The board has been credited with expanding the curriculum and extracurricular activities at the academy as well as further expanding to accommodate the new programs. One expansion included a renovation of St. Norbert Hall which included an addition to the current building. Additional expansion in the early 1980s included a new auditorium that seated 750 people, as well as a new library constructed on campus.

In April 2001, an internal dispute among the Norbertines relating to the establishment of Claymont Priory separate from Daylesford Abbey spilled over into the administration of Archmere Academy. Interventions from alumni calmed the turmoil and resulted in the academy taking control of the former Raskob residence, known as "the Patio."[10] 2003 marked the beginning of the academy's "building on mission & heritage" campaign that included goals to complete the Justin E. Diny Science Center expansion, the construction of a student life center, and renovations to the athletic field.

The school broke tradition with the installation of a non-Norbertine headmaster when Dr. Michael Marinelli, a 1976 graduate of Archmere Academy, took over at the beginning of 2010.[11]

Towards the end of the 2015-16 academic school year, Archmere began massive renovations on Saint Norbert's Hall. This reconstruction made changes to the library and every room in the building.


The Patio, country estate of John J. Raskob
Archmere Academy is located in Delaware
Archmere Academy
Location3600 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont, Delaware
Coordinates39°48′08″N 75°27′13″W / 39.8023°N 75.4537°W / 39.8023; -75.4537
Area15 acres (6.1 ha)
ArchitectHarper, Alexander James; McCure, Clay
Architectural styleRenaissance, Italian Renaissance
NRHP reference No.92001143[12]
Added to NRHPSeptember 9, 1992 (31 years ago) (1992-09-09)

The Patio, one of the buildings of Archmere Academy, was built between 1916 and 1918 and was originally used as the country estate of John J. Raskob and his wife. Raskob was a financier, the developer of the Empire State Building, and a previous chairman for the Democratic National Committee. The name "Archmere" was given to the estate because of the natural arch of the trees formed over the Delaware River vista. The original building that Raskob constructed, also known as the Patio, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.[4] In 2009, the Delaware Public Archives dedicated Archmere Academy with a historical marker.[4]


Archmere students are required to take courses in a variety of areas, including eight semesters of English, seven semesters of religion, and six semesters of mathematics, foreign language, history, and the sciences. Choices for elective classes include art, yearbook (which meets during class time), band, chorus, and computer courses.

Archmere offers a large number of AP courses, including Spanish, French, statistics, calculus (both AB and BC), physics, chemistry, biology, environmental science, art portfolio in 2-D and 3-D, computer science, English, composition, US history, European history, and world history.[11]

Music program[edit]

The music program at Archmere Academy is an elective program that focuses on performance practices from the Renaissance to the 20th century including jazz and Broadway. Instruction is provided mostly through rehearsal experience although there is a course on music theory for advanced students as well as a songwriting course. Performing groups include the jazz ensemble, concert choir, stage band, and Mastersingers. The Mastersingers was founded in 1988 and consists of 30 students selected by audition at the beginning of the school year. In addition to performing at school liturgies and community concerts, they compete nationally and internationally. The academy also has a partnership that allows student musicians to study with the Serafin String Quartet.[13]


Archmere competes in the Diamond State Conference for interscholastic sports such as American football, field hockey, basketball, rugby, soccer, swimming, diving, lacrosse, volleyball, golf, tennis, cheerleading, baseball, softball, cross country, track and field and wrestling.[citation needed]

Archmere's campus has two artificial turf fields (used by American football, M/W soccer, M/W lacrosse and field hockey), a baseball field (upgraded with dugouts), a softball field (upgraded with dugouts), six tennis courts and a running track.[citation needed]

Archmere has won a number of DIAA championships, such as cross country, volleyball and rugby. From 1991 to 2013, Archmere won eight XC championships and was runner-up for seven. The 2014 girls' volleyball team won the trophy following a victory over Charter. In the following year, Archmere volleyball once again went to the finals, but lost to Delaware Military Academy. The rugby team won three consecutive Delaware state titles in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The rugby team would win again in 2019, capturing the Mark Dombroski Cup and the Subaru 7's Regional Championship. The boys' soccer team won the school's first state title in soccer and the first DIAA state title since 2014. It went on to defeat Wilmington Friends 1-0, ending the season 17-1.[citation needed] The rugby team continued its dominance in the 2021 spring season. The A-side was undefeated for the entire season including winning the 2021 Delaware 7s state title against Salesianum 26-10. In 2023 the Archmere rugby team would win a thriller against Salesianum in overtime to win their 3rd title in 5 years.

In the 1960 season, Archmere's American football team broke a 12-year slide of losing seasons by finishing the season 8-0, led by star athlete Joe Biden, who later became the 46th President of the United States.[14][additional citation(s) needed]

In the 2021 |merican football season, Archmere's varsity football team was undefeated, 13-0, winning district 2 and the class 2A State Championship.[15] The JV team also went undefeated, with a record of 5-0. [16]

In the 2022 Field Hockey season, Archmere's Varsity team advanced to the DII State Championship for the first time in 23 years. The Auks went 13-2 in the regular season. The team had a total of 5 all state players.

In the 2022-23 Girls Soccer Season, Archmere's varsity team won an amazing game against St. Marks defeating them 6-1 in the DII State Championship game. This team was the first girls soccer team to win the Championship in school history.

Notable alumni[edit]

Joe Biden '61, second from left, at Archmere Academy


  1. ^ "Archmere Academy | Tuition & Financial Aid".
  2. ^ MSA-CSS. "MSA-Commission on Secondary Schools". Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved June 23, 2009.
  3. ^ "Archmere Academy 2020 - 2021 College Profile" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "The Delaware Public Archives Dedicates Historical Marker at Archmere Academy". Claymont Renaissance News. Summer 2009.
  5. ^ Johnson, Hugh S. "Wall Street Buys The New Deal". Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  6. ^ Barkan, Elliott Robert (2013). Immigrants in American History: Arrival, Adaptation, and Integration. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781598842197.
  7. ^ "Delri League All Stars Divide Twin Bill on Cadet Court". Delaware County Daily Times. March 7, 1939. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Eager students await opening". Delaware County Daily Times. February 26, 1974. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Archmere Academy". Delaware Today. December 16, 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  10. ^ Margot Patterson (May 11, 2001). "Turmoil follows school firings - Archmere Academy". National Catholic Reporter
  11. ^ a b Medoff, Theresa Gawlas (January 2010). "The Private School Primer". Delaware Today. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  12. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  13. ^ Nardone, Mark (August 2014). "Serafin String Quartet Books Big-Time Fall Gigs". Delaware Today. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  14. ^ Abrams, Jonathan (November 12, 2020). "Sports Helped Shape Biden. But Expect a Quieter Fan in the White House". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  15. ^ "Schedule - V - Archmere - AuksSports".
  16. ^ "Schedule - JV - Archmere - AuksSports".
  17. ^ a b Canton, Shannon (July 2003). "Family Business". Delaware Today. Retrieved September 29, 2014.

External links[edit]