Belen Jesuit Preparatory School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Belen Jesuit Preparatory School
Former name
Colegio de Belén (1854)
MottoDocete Omnes Gentes (Latin)
Motto in English
Teach All Nations
TypePrivate, Roman Catholic Non-profit College preparatory All-boys Secondary (grades 6–12) education institution
FounderQueen Isabel II of Spain
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic (Jesuit)
Academic affiliations
AdvancEd JSN JHSCCA National Catholic Educational Association
PresidentFr.Guillermo García-Tuñon,SJ
PrincipalJosé E. Roca
DeanMr. Andres De Angulo
Students1,378 enrollment_as 2019
500 Southwest 127th Avenue Miami, Miami-Dade County
, ,
25°45′47″N 80°24′06″W / 25.76304°N 80.40180°W / 25.76304; -80.40180Coordinates: 25°45′47″N 80°24′06″W / 25.76304°N 80.40180°W / 25.76304; -80.40180
CampusUrban 33 acres
ColorsBlue      and      Gold
AthleticsVarsity team name
Belen Wolverines
MascotWaldo the Wolverine

Belen Jesuit Preparatory School is an all-male, Roman Catholic, preparatory school in Miami, Florida, operated by the Society of Jesus. It was established in Havana, Cuba, by the Jesuits in 1854, but moved to the United States after the communist government of Fidel Castro, himself an alumnus, took power and expelled the Jesuits.[1] It has since made the Cardinal Newman Society's honor roll.[2] The name Belen is Spanish for "Bethlehem."[3]


In Cuba[edit]

In 1854, Queen Isabella II of Spain issued a royal charter founding the "Colegio de Belén" in Havana. The school took its name from the building it occupied at its founding, the former convent and convalescent hospital of Our Lady of Belen. Over time, the school expanded through the acquisition of several nearby buildings in Havana. The resulting complex became known as "El Palacio de Educación" (The Palace of Education). "El Palacio" now houses the Instituto Técnico Militar (Military Technical Institute).

A meteorological observatory was established in 1857. A facility was built in 1896.[4] The education of students was assigned to the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).

In the United States[edit]

In 1961, the revolutionary regime confiscated the school's property and expelled the Jesuit faculty. The school was re-established in Miami the same year, and began to grow over the next decade. Today, Belen Jesuit sits on a 33-acre site in western Miami-Dade County. There are over 7,000 members of the Belen Alumni Association currently active.

Belen Jesuit is accredited by AdvanceED. The school is also affiliated with the National Catholic Educational Association and is a member of the Jesuit Schools Network (JSN) and Jesuit High School College Counselors Association (JHSCCA).[5]

Fr. Benito Viñes, S.J. Observatory[edit]

The Belen Observatory for Astronomy and Meteorology was built with donations from the Belen Jesuit Class of 1972 and is named the Fr. Benito Viñes, S.J. Observatory. The observatory has an array of 11 telescopes, and Belen is the only middle/high school in South Florida equipped with a 16” telescope with a CCD (digital) camera for astrophotography.. Weather forecasts from the facility are radioed daily to various cities in Florida. The observatory was grown and made popular under the watchful eye of Fr. Pedro Cartaya, S.J.

The Gian Zumpano Aquatic Center[edit]

The Gian Zumpano Aquatic Center was completed on June 6, 2018, and is the home to the Belen Jesuit swimming team. This Olympic size swimming facility was built in honor of Belen alumnus Gian Zumpano form the class of 1986. Gian, was the Salutatorian of his class and died at the age of 22. During his time at Belen Jesuit and beyond, he inspired others through his humility and selflessness. The presence of his bust on the pool deck will serve as a lasting reminder of his contagious spirit and dedication to teaching young children to swim. The cutting-edge competition complex is an architectural, acoustic and interpretive feat. It is the first known facility of its kind designed in the Jesuit tradition.[6] It boasts both a state of the art competition pool and a learn-to-swim pool, used by the over 1,000 area children who attend Belen Summer Camp every year.

Financial Assistance[edit]

Belen Jesuit Preparatory School makes financial assistance available to all students who attend the school regardless of race, color, creed, disability or national origin. The Financial Assistance Program takes the form of hardship assistance. Hardship assistance is determined based on financial need subsequent to the evaluation of the financial assistance application. Belen Jesuit does not award academic or athletic scholarships.

The Belen Financial Assistance Program is made possible thanks to the generous contributions of friends and family of Belen. The school's three signature events - Annual Gala, Father Izquierdo Memorial Golf Tournament, and the Annual Fr. Dorta- Duque, SJ Memorial Tombola help fund the financial assistance program.


The foundation of education at Belen Jesuit is based on religious formation, academic excellence, value education, social responsibility, and athletic achievement. The rigorous curriculum and graduation requirements are designed to ensure all students a chance for admission to the most demanding colleges and universities in the country. Academically, every Belen student has the opportunity to strive for the Magis by participanting in a challenging College Preparatory Curriculum. Additionally, honors courses are offered as early as sixth grade. Advanced Placement courses are offered starting in ninth grade, and Dual Enrollment courses are offered starting in tenth grade. All Belen Jesuit students have the potential to graduate with as many as 13 AP courses (over 20 offered), 10 Dual Enrollment courses, and 35 honors classes offered in Social Studies, Math, English, Science, and Spanish.

Belen Jesuit has been named one of the Top U.S. Catholic High Schools by the Newman Society [7]and has also been ranked as a top all boys catholic school by Niche. [8]

Student Life[edit]

As a compliment to our strong academic rigor, our student life is enriched by more than 45 scholastic clubs and 47 sports teams. Each student can explore particular interests and find his own niche by bhoosing from an extensive array of options. Belen students have earned local, national and international recognition through their accomplishments in our Band Program, Model United Nations, Speech and Debate, Mu Alpha Theta, Robotics, Chess clubs and various other clubs and honor societies.

Belen Jesuit has been named one of the Top U.S. Catholic High Schools by the Newman Society [7]and has also been ranked as a top all boys catholic school by Niche. [8]

The Ignatian Center for the Arts[edit]

The Ignatian Center for the Arts , inaugurated in October 2003, is the hub of the Humanities Department. The department includes the following academic areas: Art, Art History, Drama, Music, Band, Speech and Debate and Philosophy. Our facilities include the 665-seat, state-of-the-art, Ophelia & Juan Js. Roca Theater; the Olga & Carlos Saladrigas Art Gallery; the Leopoldo Nuñez Rehearsal Hall; seven classrooms and the theater's administrative office. The Saladrigas Gallery displays several professionally curated exhibits, which include an Archdiocesan high school young artists exhibit, a Belen community art show, and numerous other projects.

The Belen bands program has over 200 student musicians and was established in January 2005. There are three major band units in the school: The Jazz Band, the Concert Band and the Drum Line. The Belen Jazz Band has won first and second place awards in competitions at Disney World, the Miami-Dade Youth Fair and the Festival of Music in Washington D.C. and Chicago. The Bands have three annual concerts at the Roca Theater, while the Drum Line is a source of “mood and spirit” at pep rallies and athletic competitions. Sections of the bands do charity work during the Christmas season, performing in malls, assisted living facilities, and hospitals.

Drama classes use the Roca Theater for their performances.  Belen presents two high school productions annually and a one production annually from the Middle School. Student productions include classics like Death of a Salesman, Fuenteovejuna, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Godspell, A Few Good Men, West Side Story, Sound of Music, Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast, The Outsiders, Moon Over Buffalo, Hunchback of Notre Dame and others. The Saladrigas Gallery, which is located adjacent to the theater, hosts both professional and student exhibits throughout the year.


Belen Jesuit has many attributes that make the school successful in our community - high academic achievements, a strong Christian service program, participation in clubs and school activities, and a highly competitive sports program. One key element in our school is the student-athlete.

Belen Jesuit competes in basketball, bowling, crew, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling. Typically over 900 athletes participate in 47 teams.

  • Team State Champions:
    • Sunshine Cup All-Sports Award: 2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17–2012
    • Cross Country – 1995, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2017
    • Swimming – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 
    • Tennis - 2017
    • Track and Field – 2007
    • Water Polo – 2009, 2015, 2016
  • Academic State Champions
    • Basketball – 2008, 2009, 2017
    • Bowling – 2012
    • Football - 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2016
    • Volleyball – 2009
    • Soccer - 2017

The Ramón Guiteras Memorial Library[edit]

The Ramón Guiteras Memorial Library is located on the campus and serves the student body and faculty of Belen as well as the local community. The library currently lists over 60,000 volumes, 95,000 ebooks, and dozens of subscriptions to electronic databases. The library staff includes one professional librarian and four assistants.[9]

The library houses La Colección Cubana (The Cuban Collection), a special collection of Cuban books. La Colección Cubana consists of over 8,000 volumes, written either on the subject of Cuba or penned by Cubans and Cuban-Americans. La Colección Cubana is open to the public and is the second-largest collection of Cuban books and other media outside of Cuba[9]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ [Ada Evening News February 24, 1961 Ada]
  2. ^ Honor role
  3. ^ "Google Translation".
  4. ^ Mariano Gutiérrez-Lanza [es] (1904). Apuntes historicos acerca del Observatorio del Colegio de Belén, Habana (in Spanish). Havana: Impr. Avisador comercial.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "Belen Jesuit Preparatory School". Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  6. ^ Teresa Martinez (May 21, 2018). "Belen Jesuit Preparatory School and Zumpano Family to Celebrate Opening of Gian Zumpano Aquatic Center". Belen Jesuit Preparatory School. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  7. ^ a b National Catholic High School Honor Roll Archived December 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b Niche
  9. ^ a b Belen Jesuit Preparatory School - Library Retrieved December 21, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]