Bellarmine Preparatory School

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Bellarmine Preparatory School
2300 South Washington Street
Tacoma, (Pierce County)
Washington 98405-1304

United States
Coordinates 47°14′16″N 122°29′7″W / 47.23778°N 122.48528°W / 47.23778; -122.48528Coordinates: 47°14′16″N 122°29′7″W / 47.23778°N 122.48528°W / 47.23778; -122.48528
Type Private, coeducational
Motto Christus Exananvit Semetipsum
(Christ Emptied Himself)
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic, Jesuit
Patron saint(s) St. Robert Bellarmine
Established 1928; 89 years ago (1928)
Founder Fr. David McAstocker, S.J.
President Robert Modarelli
Dean William Baerg
Rector Fr. Thomas Lamanna, S.J.
Principal Cindy Davis
Chaplain Fr. Gerry Chapdelaine, S.J.
Staff 45
Faculty 76
Grades 912
Enrollment 996 (April 5, 2015)
 • Grade 9 259
 • Grade 10 285
 • Grade 11 232
 • Grade 12 216
Average class size 26
Student to teacher ratio 14:1
Campus size 42 acres (170,000 m2)
Campus type Urban closed
Houses Thérèse of Lisieux, Francis Xavier, Ignatius of Loyola, Lady of Guadalupe, Maximillian Kolbe, Kateri Tekakwitha
Color(s) Blue and white         
Slogan "Where potential becomes purpose"
Fight song "Fight Lions"
Athletics 43 athletic teams
Athletics conference 4A SPSL
Sports 18 sports
Mascot Lion
Team name Lions
Rival Curtis High School
Accreditation AdvancED [1]
Newspaper The Bellarmine Lion
Yearbook The Annual
Endowment $19,376,000
Tuition $13,220
Campus Minister Deacon Jim Fish
Enrollment Director, Cari Harrison
Comptroller Stephanie Cisakowski
Development Vice President, Dean Hanks
Facilities Director, Kevin Kalal
Athletics Director, Ed Ploof

Bellarmine Preparatory School is a Roman Catholic high school in the Jesuit tradition in Tacoma, Washington, United States. It is located in the Archdiocese of Seattle. Today it serves just over 900 students from the Greater Tacoma area including Olympia and Gig Harbor

Bellarmine Prep students strive to live up to the expectations set forth by the school's Graduate at Graduation document. The document challenges all students to be open to growth, intellectually competent, religious, loving, and committed to doing justice.[2]

The Institution[edit]

School History[edit]

Bellarmine was founded in 1928 as an all-boys school, and became the first coeducational Jesuit school in the nation in 1974 after its merger with Aquinas and St. Leo's schools. The date of the school's creation is commonly accepted to be 1928 despite the fact that both Saint Leo's Grammar and High School and Aquinas Academy for girls were founded earlier (in 1912 and 1893 respectively). This can cause confusion since the current parents club, Philomathea, was founded at Saint Leo's and continued at Bellarmine after the merger, so that the club predates the present school. The first graduating class of Bellarmine was in 1929, with 19 students graduating.[3]


The school sits on a large campus, at the highest point overlooking the city of Tacoma. Poplar trees planted to remember the sacrifices of Bellarmine Alumni in World War II still stand near Memorial Field.[3] Memorial Field remains one of the only real grass high school fields in use in the area, and recently saw the ancient wooden bleachers converted to modern, metal bleachers. The school quad has the qualities of a Grad at Grad printed in metal letters on the concrete.

Student life[edit]


Besides being divided by years, the school is divided into six houses, each named for a famous Catholic figure. This is intended to help students bond outside their grade levels. Most competitive activities internal to the school are done by house.

House Color
Alphonsus Rodriguez Red
Kateri Tekakwitha Orange
Thérèse of Lisieux Yellow
Francis Xavier Green
Lady of Guadalupe Blue
Maximillian Kolbe Purple

Educational extra-curricular activities[edit]

Bellarmine Prep is home to the highly competitive FIRST FRC Robotics Team 360. The team is well-decorated and highly respected within Northwestern FIRST, both for the quality of the robots produced and for the amount of community service the team is involved in.[4] It has also won many other awards during its long history.[5] including the position of Regional Chairman's Award Winner for the 2009 Microsoft Seattle Regional and the 2011 Microsoft Seattle Cascade Regional. Team 360 was also on the winning alliance at the 2011 and 2012 Autodesk Oregon Regional FIRST competitions.

Bellarmine also boasts a Knowledge Bowl team and a growing number of Model UN delegates, both under the direction of Ken Brown. Also, many students do independent work in the school greenhouse or with Ben Meeker of the art department.


Bellarmine Prep is one of the most athletically competitive schools in the state of Washington, with over 70% of the student population competing in at least one athletic activity.[citation needed] It has been named All-Sports Champions by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association the past four years, winning it for the first time in school history in 2004 with the second highest All-Sports score recorded in state history, and the highest score for a 2A, 3A, or 4A school. In 2004, the men's soccer team won its first state title in school history with an undefeated record of 20-0-2. One of the high points in the season was their quarterfinal victory over Inglemoor High School, who was previously ranked 6th in the nation.[citation needed] In 2008, the men's soccer team went on to win its second state title, over Puyallup High School; it was determined by penalty kicks.

Bellarmine Prep High School has excelled in all sports with the men's golf team gathering seven state championships, including four individual champions: Todd Erwin (also four-time Washington State Open winner and Canadian Tour winner), Patrick Brownfield, Dusty Brett, and James Feutz (2010). The wrestling team has had two state champions, Bob Turner and Dan Stabb. The girls cross country has four state championships as a team and three girls who have combined for 5 individual championships. The boys tennis team has recorded 9 individual/doubles state championships and nine team state championships including a run of four in a row from 2005-2008. The girls soccer team has five state championships to their credit, and the boys have two. The girls volleyball team won their first state championship in school history in 2012, and repeated in 2013. The fast pitch team has one state championship in 1985. The girls tennis team has six team state championships to their name along with four individual titles won in a row by Sonja Olejar from 1989-1992, and four state titles in doubles. The girls golf team has won seven state championships in a row plus three more from 2003-2005 giving them a total of ten along with four individual champions: Becky Gardner, Chris Yun, Alivia Brown, and Olivia Benzin.

Boys' sports offered: Cross country, Basketball, Wrestling, Tennis, Golf, Track and Field, Baseball, Lacrosse, and Football.

Girls' sports offered: Volleyball, Cross country, Basketball, Fast pitch, Track and field, Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis, and Golf.


Bellarmine has a lively theater program which puts on two shows a year: a fall musical and a spring play, as well as a Dramafest featuring student-written one-act plays.[6][7] In recent years, the department's musical productions have been nominated for several 5th Avenue High School Musical Theatre Awards, with one win in 2014 and two in 2015. The department is known as a lively place, with strong leadership from faculty and dedication from student performers, designers, and craftsmen and women. Graduates of the department have gone on to high-quality institutions in the performing arts.

The students work in six sub-departments of the theatre program: acting, set building, costume designing/hair and make-up designing, sound design, light design, and stage managing.

Community service[edit]

Bellarmine is committed to community service. Sophomores must complete a total of thirty hours and also participate in helping out at the local L'Arche farm with their Community Period (homeroom). Additionally, a community service class is required for graduation. Several community service clubs are active on campus such as Habitat for Humanity and Key Club, and there is a sophomore retreat offered that involves several hours of community service.

In 1993 Bellarmine started a tradition of housing temporarily homeless families in academic buildings during non-school hours for a small span of the year, called Phoenix Housing. Bellarmine provides these persons dinner, breakfast, and overnight accommodations with the help of student volunteers.[3]


Religion is an integral part of the Bellarmine curriculum, with eight credits required for graduation (new for the class of 2018), as well as an additional half credit of community service class.[8] contrary to popular belief, Bellarmine has the highest Catholic to non Catholic ratio than any other school in the Tacoma area.


Bellarmine holds a required student body retreat for the freshmen, called "My Place in this World". Freshmen and sophomores are also required to attend Faith in Formation meetings.[9] These generally occur during Community Period (homeroom). The sophomore meetings focus more on volunteer work, including participation in a Habitat for Humanity build or work with L'Arche.

An optional overnight retreat, the Francis Xavier Urban Plunge, is offered in the fall and spring for sophomores. The retreat focuses on "street life" in the Tacoma area,[10] and was previously available to freshmen.

The Junior Encounter is an optional, three-day, weekend, off-campus retreat. Six occur each year, three for males and three for females. The details of the retreat are a tightly-kept secret from underclassmen, and the entire event is generally considered to be a strong bonding experience for the class.

Four retreats are offered to seniors. Senior Pilgrimage is a weekend hike up a mountain. Montserrat is an Ignatian, directed retreat which is made in complete silence for a 24-hour period, and the Manresa is also a silent retreat over a 48-hour period. The Magis is a three-day overnight retreat.[10]

Bellarmine students may also work on crew or team for the Senior Pilgrimage, Magis retreat, and Junior Encounter.[11]


All-school Masses are rare, normally on Ash Wednesday, the last day before Christmas break, and the Feast of Saint Robert Bellarmine. The entire school attends, but active participation is optional.

There are many options for students who wish to attend Mass more often. It is offered on the final B day of a week (Thursday or Friday) during Community Period (homeroom). Those not going to Mass may stay in their Community Period and do homework. There are also occasional Masses during lunch, and Mass is offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays prior to the start of school.[12]


Bellarmine offers a number of AP classes, along with other special programs.


Bellarmine is home to an art program with many resources, including pottery wheels, kilns, and glaze required for a wide variety of ceramics.[13] There is also a photo lab and classes in photography are offered.[14]

Marine chemistry[edit]

The marine chemistry program is available to students who score sufficiently well on the school entrance examination and opt into doing extra research work to fulfill this requirement. It is a four-year program where students learn the skills needed to do chemical and biological marine research in their first two years, and then apply those skills in their own research projects during their junior and senior years.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "AdvancED". Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  2. ^ Grad-ad-Grad[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b c 1929[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Chief Delphi
  5. ^ US First
  6. ^ 5th Avenue
  7. ^ Goodnow, Cecelia (June 5, 2007). "Bellarmine wins top honors in high school musical theater awards". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  8. ^ Religion Archived 2008-05-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Retreats Archived 2010-09-18 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ a b Street Life[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Retreat crews Archived 2008-05-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Masses Archived 2008-05-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ Pottery Archived 2008-05-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ Photography Archived 2008-05-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ a b Steve Mullen (January 13, 2010). "B-Town". Tacoma Weekly. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  16. ^ Frances McCloskey and Judy McCloskey (July 26, 2009). "Soldier with passion for service remembered". Catholic News Agency, Washington D.C.,. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Galbraith Advances". Seattle Times. September 3, 1990. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Port Orchard family hoping to hear from Haiti". The Associated Press. Seattle Times. January 14, 2010. Archived from the original on February 24, 2014. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b "Bellarmine Prep High School (Tacoma, Washington)". The Baseball Cube. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  20. ^ Friedman, Sam (2015-03-27). "Fr. Louis Renner". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Retrieved 2015-04-21. 
  21. ^ Milles, Todd (January 15, 2014). "Gig Harbor's Kyle Stanley rested, ready to live it up on tour". The News Tribune. Retrieved February 13, 2014. [permanent dead link]