Bellarmine Preparatory School

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Bellarmine Preparatory School
Bellarmine Prep New Logo 2013.png
Christus Exananvit Semetipsum
Christ Emptied Himself
2300 South Washington Street
Tacoma, Washington, (Pierce County), 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
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic,
Patron saint(s) St. Robert Bellarmine
Established 1928
President Robert Modarelli
Dean William Baerg
Rector Fr. Thomas Lamanna, S.J.
Principal Cindy Davis
Vice principal Barbara Lidikay
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 Narrows League
Sports 18 sports
Mascot Lion
Team name Lions
Rival Stadium High School
Accreditation AdvancED [1]
Newspaper "The Bellarmine Lion
Yearbook The Annual
Endowment $19,376,000
Tuition $13,220
Affiliation Society of Jesus
Campus Minister Deacon Jim Fish
Director of Enrollment Management Cari Harrison
Comptroller Stephanie Cisakowski
Vice President for Development Dean Hanks
Facilities Director Kevin Kalal
Athletic Director Ed Ploof

Bellarmine Preparatory School is a Roman Catholic high school in the Jesuit tradition in Tacoma, Washington, USA. It is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle. Today it serves just under 1,000 students from the Greater Tacoma area.

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 with 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 sometimes causes confusion as the still-existing parents club, Philomathea, was founded at Saint Leo's and then became part of Bellarmine when the schools merged. This has resulted in the founding of Philomathea pre-dating the accepted date of the founding of the school by 6 years.

The first graduating class of Bellarmine was in 1929. 19 students graduated.[3]


The school sits on a large campus, and also sits at the highest point of elevation in the city of Tacoma. Poplar trees were planted near Memorial Field to remember the sacrifices of Bellarmine Alumni in World War II. Many of these trees are still standing.[3] Memorial Field remains one of the only real grass fields left in high schools around the area, and recently underwent a large renovation of the stands to convert the ancient wooden bleacher into modern, metal bleachers. The school quad has the qualities of a Grad at Grad printed in metal letters which are part of the concrete.

Student life[edit]


As well as being divided by years, the school is also divided into six houses. Each is named for a famous Catholic figure. These houses are designed to help students bond outside their grade levels. Most competitive activities internal to the school are done by house. Each house has a physical location on campus dedicated to the figure it is named for.

House Color Symbol Campus Location
Alphonsus Rodriguez Red  ?  ?
Kateri Tekakwitha Orange  ? Faculty Room in Library
Thérèse of Lisieux Yellow Flower  ?
Francis Xavier Green Ship Board Room
Lady of Guadalupe Blue Miraculous Medal Statue of Mary
Maximillian Kolbe Purple  ? Chapel

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] > The team 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. Many students do independent work in the school greenhouse or with Ben Meeker of the art department.


Bellarmine Prep is regarded as 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 ever recorded in state history, and the highest score for 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 major points in the season was their quarterfinal victory over Inglemoor High School, who was previously ranked 6th in the nation. They were in turn recognized as the #1 high school men's soccer team in the nation for 2004.[citation needed] In 2008, the men's soccer team went on to win its second state title over Puyallup High School, which 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 (Played at Stanford with Tiger Woods) and James Feutz most recently in 2010. The wrestling team has had two state champions which were won by Bob Turner and Dan Stabb. The girls cross country has four state championships as a team and three girls that have individually won a combined 5 state 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.They followed with a second state title 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 three state championships in a row on top of three more from 2003-2005 giving them a total of six along with three individual champions: Becky Gardner, Chris Yun, and Olivia Brown.

Boys' Sports Offered: Football, Cross Country, Basketball, Wrestling, Tennis, Golf, Track and Field, Baseball, Lacrosse, Soccer, Bowling.

Girls' Sports Offered: Volleyball, Cross Country, Basketball, Bowling, Fast Pitch, Track and Field, Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis.


Bellarmine has a lively theater program which puts on two shows a year: a spring musical and a fall play, as well as a Dramafest featuring student-written one-act plays. The spring musical has received multiple recognitions over the years from the 5th Avenue Theater.[6][7] An improv club has also flickered in and out of existence over the years under various names.

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

Recent Shows: Spring Musical 2015 - Little Women, Fall Play 2014 - Much Ado About Nothing, Spring Musical 2014 - Fiddler on the Roof, Fall Play 2013 - The Secret in the Wings, Spring Musical 2013 - West Side Story, Fall Play 2012 - And Then There Were None, Spring Musical 2012 - How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Fall Play 2011 - Taming of the Shrew, Spring Musical 2011 - Pippin, Fall Play 2010 - The Miracle Worker, Spring Musical 2010 - Curtains, Fall Play 2009 - The Skin of our Teeth, Spring Musical 2009 - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Fall Play 2008 - The Crucible, Spring Musical 2008 - Les Misérables, Fall Play 2007 - Story Theatre, Spring Musical 2007 - Urinetown.

Community service[edit]

Bellarmine is dedicated to community service. Sophomores must complete a total of ten hours of community service and they must also participate in helping out at the local L'Arche farm with their Community Period. 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. Eight credits of religious classes are required for graduation (new for the class of 2018), as well as an additional half credit of community service class.[8]


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 to sophomores. The retreat focuses on "street life" in the Tacoma area.[10] This retreat had been previously available to freshmen.

The Junior Encounter is an optional three day overnight retreat done over a weekend away from campus. Six occur each year, three for males and three for females. The details of this event 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 done 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 Liturgies are rare: normally only Ash Wednesday, the last day before Christmas break, and the Feast of Saint Robert Bellarmine are all-school Masses. The entire school is required to attend, but not to participate.

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


Bellarmine offers a reasonable number of AP classes. In addition there are other special programs offered.


Bellarmine is home to an art program with many resources. Among these are the wheels to throw pottery and the 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 complete research projects during their junior and senior years.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "AdvancED". Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
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  7. ^ Goodnow, Cecelia (June 5, 2007). "Bellarmine wins top honors in high school musical theater awards". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
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  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. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b "Bellarmine Prep High School (Tacoma, Washington)". The Baseball Cube. 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.