Bishop England High School

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Bishop England High School
363 Seven Farms Drive
Charleston, South Carolina 29492
United States
Coordinates 32°51′22″N 79°54′58″W / 32.856°N 79.916°W / 32.856; -79.916Coordinates: 32°51′22″N 79°54′58″W / 32.856°N 79.916°W / 32.856; -79.916
School type Diocesan, Private, Coeducational
Motto Enter to Learn, Exit to Serve
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Patron saint(s) Our Lady of Mercy
Established 1915
Founder Rev. Msgr. Joseph L. O'Brien
Authority Bishop of Charleston
Oversight Diocese of Charleston
Superintendent Sr. Julia Hutchinson, SND
CEEB code 410370
Principal Patrick Finneran
Academic Dean Nancy Heath
Chaplain Rev. Fr. Brian Babick
Teaching staff 53
Grades 912
Enrolment +/-730
Hours in school day 6
Campus Suburban
Campus size 40 acres
Color(s) Green and White         
Athletics 20 varsity teams
Athletics conference SCHSL Class AAA
Mascot Battling Bishops
Nickname BE
Rival Porter-Gaud School
Accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools [1]
Newspaper Bishop's Quarterly
Yearbook Miscellany
Athletic Director Paul Runey

Bishop England High School is a diocesan Roman Catholic four-year high school in Charleston, South Carolina. Until 1998, the school was located on Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston. It is now located on Daniel Island in the city of Charleston. With an enrollment of 730, it is the largest private high school in the state. The school was founded in 1915 and was named for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston's first bishop, John England.


On September 22, 1915, Catholic High School opened its doors as a department of the Cathedral School on Queen Street. The Reverend Msgr. Joseph L. O'Brien organized the new school with the cooperation of the Reverend James J. May. At that time there were 67 students enrolled in four grade levels: seventh, ninth, tenth, and eleventh. That first faculty consisted of three diocesan priests and three Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy (O.L.M.).

By the spring of 1916, a growing student enrollment made larger quarters imperative, and the school was moved to a building used by the Cenacle Sisters, an order of nuns, where it remained until 1919. The main building housed the senior high school, while an annex was converted into a biology lab and a seventh grade classroom. The school offered two courses of study: college preparatory and business.

With the Catholic community of Charleston increasing, a drive was initiated to raise $50,000 for a new school building to replace the one being used. From 1919 to 1921, the school was housed in its third location, Gregorian Hall on George Street, while its old location was demolished and replaced. The funding drive was a huge success, and ground was broken on July 5, 1921 on the $60,000 building. The school was opened in its fourth building at 203 Calhoun Street on February 18, 1922. By 1940, 25 years after its inception, the school's enrollment had reached 318 students, and the faculty had nearly doubled.

Bishop England's fourth building had 14 classrooms and was designed so that wings could be added later.

In 1947, the school's first Rector Monsignor O'Brien retired after having served 32 years, and he was followed by former Bishop England student, Rev. Msgr. John L. Manning.

The Catholic community of Charleston sponsored two expansion drives for the high school in the late 1940s; two new buildings were added to the campus. In 1947 the west wing (which housed an auditorium, science laboratory, and offices) was built, and in 1948 the east wing, which was the Father O'Brien gymnasium, was built. Additional land was acquired in 1957, and a two-story annex was constructed, providing eight new classrooms and additional office space.

In June 1959, the Rev. Fr. William J. Croghan, B.E. class of 1940, was appointed as the third Rector of Bishop England. By 1960 the faculty had grown to 31 members, and 740 students were enrolled. Additional property was purchased in 1963 and in 1964 on Coming Street, Calhoun Street, and Pitt Street; this property would provide classrooms, living quarters for teachers, a maintenance shop, facilities for the school nurse, and a schoolyard. The 1964 school year began with a new Rector, the Rev. Robert J. Kelly, and enrollment grew to nearly 800 students. Because of overcrowding between 1966 and 1968, freshman classes were conducted in the old St. Patrick's School on St. Phillip Street.

Bishop England integrated in 1964; in 1968, it merged with Immaculate Conception High School. The student body numbered 850 students with 250 freshmen. The former Immaculate Conception School building on Coming Street became the Bishop England Freshman Building.

Nicholas J. Theos became principal in 1973. He established the BEHS endowment fund in 1985. In 1990, Rev. Msgr. Lawrence B. McInerny became the third B.E. graduate named as Rector of the school.

In 1976, a former church building at 172 Calhoun Street was purchased from the College of Charleston. Occupancy took place in 1977 and housed the freshmen.

In 1993, four modular units (eight rooms) were added to accommodate increasing enrollment, providing four classrooms, a conference room, and a chapel where Mass was celebrated. Enrollment in 1995 was 805, the largest of any private high school in the state. In September 1995, Bishop Thompson officially announced that the school was moving to Daniel Island and its current property would be sold to the College of Charleston. The Daniel Island Development Company, which was partially owned by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, donated 40 acres (160,000 m2) of land for the new school. Construction began in 1996, and Bishop Thompson blessed the ground at the site of the new Bishop England High School in June 1997. In 1998 Mr. Theos retired after 25 years of service to Bishop England. Mr. David Held, who was serving as associate principal since 1997, then became the new principal.

With the help of students, alumni, faculty, and volunteers, the school was moved to the new campus on Daniel Island in the summer of 1998. In the fall of 2010, it was announced that Michael C. Bolchoz would assume the position of Principal at Bishop England. Mr. Bolchoz is a member of the Graduating Class of 1983 from the same and had previously servered as Assistant Principal of the Cardinal Newman School in Columbia, SC. In 2011, the Bishop England athletic program won its 100th overall state championship, making the school's athletic program the most successful in South Carolina history. In the same year, the school's volleyball team broke the National Record for overall state championships, currently with 24, along with the South Carolina record for consecutive state titles, currently with 14 in a row. The Class of 2015 will be the school's 100th graduating class.

On July 1, 2013, Patrick Finneran assumed the role of principal, bringing in a new motto for the school: "Enter to Learn, Exit to Serve." Finneran stated upon taking the position that he will continue the school's tradition of academic excellence while increasing the emphasis on community and parochial service.


The school is well respected in the Charleston area for its rigorous curriculum, and boasts SAT and ACT scores well above the national and state averages. Bishop England offers three levels of courses, including Honors level courses for most subjects. Students are required to take four years of Theology, Mathematics, and English. Catholic Mass and various prayer services are compulsory throughout the year, although a significant number of students are not Catholic. Students are also required to earn credits in world language, social sciences, fine arts, technology, lab sciences, and physical education. Bishop England is supported by several K-8 Catholic "feeder" schools in the Charleston area, including Blessed Sacrament School, Christ Our King, The Nativity School, Divine Redeemer, and Charleston Catholic. The large majority of graduates from these schools go on to attend Bishop England. Language instruction is offered in Spanish and French. Bishop England also offers twelve AP (Advanced Placement) courses:

  • AP English Language and Composition
  • AP English Literature
  • AP Calculus (AB and BC)
  • AP Spanish
  • AP Biology
  • AP U.S. History
  • AP U.S Government & Politics
  • AP Studio Art
  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP French

Bishop England's pass rate for Advanced Placement examinations in 2011 was 90%, well above most schools in the tri-county area. On average over the last 7 years, 98% of BE graduates enter college immediately after graduation.[2] The school regularly sends graduates to in-state schools such as The University of South Carolina, Clemson University, The Citadel, and The College of Charleston, with a smaller select number of students attending in-state private institutions such as Furman University and Wofford College. Historically, the school has sent students to schools such as Agnes Scott College, Princeton University, Vanderbilt University, Duke University, The University of Virginia, Wake Forest University, Georgetown University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Davidson College, Washington and Lee University, The University of Notre Dame, Boston College, The University of Southern California, and the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Clubs and activities[edit]

Bishop England High School logo.jpg

Bishop England offers a variety of clubs and activities throughout the year.[3] They include:

  • Student Government
  • Class Board
    • Senior
    • Junior
    • Sophomore
    • Freshman
  • Archery Club
  • Band of Buddies
  • BEHS Ambassadors
  • B-Hive Newspaper
  • Campus Ministry/Retreat Team
  • Clay shooting
  • Creative Writing Club
  • CSMC
  • Dance Team
  • Drama Club
  • French Club
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Intramurals
  • Key Club
  • Library Council
  • Literary Magazine
  • Model United Nations
  • Mu Alpha Theta
  • Music Ministry
  • National Honor Society
  • Photojournalism
  • Ping Pong Club
  • Retreat Team
  • Science Club
  • Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica (National Spanish Honor Society)
  • Spanish Club
  • Speech and Debate
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Youth in Government

On average each year, 68% of the student body participates in athletics, while 89% participates in at least one on-campus extra-curricular activity.


In a 2009 special edition, the Bishop England athletic program was named number one in the state of South Carolina by Sports Illustrated Magazine,[4] regardless of size. Over the last decade, many teams including volleyball, soccer, baseball, tennis, football and cross-country/track have won several state championships in a row.[5] In 2013, MaxPreps ranked Bishop England's athletic program 5th in the nation in a combined rankings list of both public and private schools.[6]

The volleyball program is particularly dominant, and currently holds the National record for state championships with 25 overall. The team has won every state title since 2000, and their championship win on November 4, 2013 gave the Battling Bishops their 14th consecutive title, a South Carolina record.[7] On December 2, 2011, the football program won its first ever AA state championship. Likewise, on March 3, 2012, the girls' basketball team won its first ever state championship. Football repeated as state champions in 2012, bringing the overall title count to 105, the highest of any South Carolina school.[8] The school has been awarded the SC Athletic Director's Cup for each of the last 12 years, given to the top athletic program in the state.[9] In 2013, USA Today named Bishop England among the Nation's top 10 high school athletic programs, writing that "the Bishops carry a tradition of dominance unmatched in the state of South Carolina and much of the Southeast." [10]

BE is one of three private schools in the state that compete in the SCHSL instead of SCISA, along with Christ Church and St. Joseph's School, both located in Greenville (SC). The Bishops compete in the AAA division. The Be a Bishop Backer Club, dubbed "the Triple B Club," funds a staff of on-campus medical trainers for BE athletes.

Bishop England's biggest rivals in most sports are the Porter-Gaud Cyclones and the Wando High School Warriors. In girls' sports, a heavy rivalry with Ashley Hall also exists.

Fall Sports: Volleyball, Football, Girls' Golf, Girls' Tennis, Swimming, Cross Country, Sailing, Cheerleading

Winter Sports: Wrestling, Basketball, Ice Hockey,

Spring Sports: Baseball, Softball, Soccer, Track, Boys' Tennis, Boys' Golf, Lacrosse, Rugby. [11]


Bishop England is among the oldest educational institutions in the city of Charleston, and among the oldest private secondary institutions in the state. Generations of Charleston families have attended the school, making it a significant part of Charleston's history. Several traditions take place throughout the year. These include:

  • John England Day- An all school carnival held every September to celebrate the school's namesake, Bishop John England.
  • Key Club Food Drive- Held each year leading up to Thanksgiving to support local charities and shelters.
  • The March for Life- School sponsored trip to Washington D.C. to participate in the annual pro-life march on Capitol Hill.
  • Academic Awards Night- Award ceremony held each Spring to honor students for their academic achievement throughout the year.
  • Ring Mass- Blessing of class rings by Bishop Guglielmone held each Spring.
  • Senior Awards- Presentation of scholarships and awards to graduating seniors.
  • Baccalaureate Mass
  • Commencement



  • 45 Classrooms
  • 4 Science Labs
  • Art Studio
  • 2 Technology Labs
  • The Bishop Thompson Center for the Performing Arts
  • The Commons
  • 10,000 volume Library


  • Jack Cantey Stadium
  • Father Kelly Field
  • Father O'Brien Gymnasium
  • Track and Field Complex
  • Weight and Fitness Performance Rooms
  • Girls' and Boys' Tennis host their home matches at LTP Tennis Center in Mount Pleasant.
  • Golf hosts their home matches at the nearby Daniel Island Club.
  • Ice Hockey hosts home games at the Carolina Ice Palace.


  • Our Lady of Mercy Chapel
  • Campus Ministry Center

Rectors and Chaplains[edit]


  1. Monsignor Joseph L. O'Brien, 1915 - 1947
  2. Rev. Msgr. John L. Manning, 1947 - 1959
  3. Rev. William J. Croghan, 1959 - 1964
  4. Rev. Robert J. Kelly, 1964 - 1990
  5. Rev. Msgr. Lawrence B. McInerny, 1990 - 1996
  6. Rev. Robert J. Kelly, 1996 - 2004


  1. Father Richard Tomlinson, 2009 - 2011
  2. Father Jeffrey Kirby, 2011 - 2014
  3. Father Brian Babick, 2014 - Present

Notable alumni[edit]


TV, film, and media[edit]


Film and television[edit]

Portions of the film Dear John, starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried and based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, were filmed on the school's former campus in downtown Charleston.

Portions of the film The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, starring Jodie Foster, were filmed inside the buildings from the school's former location on Calhoun Street.

Portions of the film O, starring Mekhi Phifer, Julia Stiles, and Josh Hartnett, were filmed in the classrooms and gym at the school's former location on Calhoun Street.


  1. ^ SACS-CASI. "SACS-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement". Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Welcome to Bishop England High School[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Best Sports High Schools By State (cont.)". CNN. 
  5. ^ BESports.Net
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-01. Retrieved 2013-08-22. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ [3]
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-01. Retrieved 2013-08-22. 
  11. ^ [4]