Bishop Ireton High School

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Bishop Ireton High School
BIHS 50th Anniversary Logo.jpg
"Advance Always in Christ"
201 Cambridge Road
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
United States
Coordinates 38°48′33″N 77°4′51″W / 38.80917°N 77.08083°W / 38.80917; -77.08083Coordinates: 38°48′33″N 77°4′51″W / 38.80917°N 77.08083°W / 38.80917; -77.08083
Type Parochial; Private
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1964
Oversight Diocese of Arlington
Head of school Dr. Thomas Curry
Grades 912
Gender Coeducational
Enrollment 800
Color(s) Cardinal Red and Gold           [1]
Athletics conference Washington Catholic Athletic Conference
Nickname Cardinals
Accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools[2]
Newspaper The BI Word
Yearbook Flight

Bishop Ireton High School is a Roman Catholic high school located in Alexandria, Virginia. The school was founded in 1964 by the Oblates of St. Francis DeSales, and named in honor of Peter Leo Ireton, Bishop of Richmond from 1945 to 1958.[3] The school originally admitted only male students. Bishop Ireton, more commonly known as "BI" or simply "Ireton", became coeducational in 1990 after the closing of sister school, St. Mary's Academy. In 2008, the Oblates withdrew their presence from Ireton[4] and the school is now solely managed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington.


The school is administered by the Head of School. There are Directors who report to the Head of School: Director of Instruction, Director of Finance, Director of Operations, Director of Athletics, Director of Advancement, and the Chaplain/Director of Campus Ministry. Reporting to the Director of Instruction are the Director of Student Services, the Counseling Department, and the Dean of Faculty. The teachers report to the Dean of Faculty. Reporting to the Director of Operations are the Director of Technology, the Director of Communications, and the Chief Engineer.

Student government[edit]

The Student Council is organized in the following manner: Executive Board: Five Members that can consist of Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors. In most cases, the Executive Board consists of mostly Seniors. There is one President and one Vice President. The class officers are organized as follows:

  • One President and three officers.
  • Seniors: Four members who receive five nominations each year;
  • Juniors: Four members;
  • Sophomores: Four members;
  • Freshman: Four members;

The SCA Executive board meets once a week and plans important events, such as Homecoming Week, Adopt a Family, Dress Out Day Fundraisers, the Winter Ball, and the Lenten Service Drive. The full board meets on a bi-weekly schedule. They also have a role in graduation, having the privilege of going first and carrying flags.


The Academic Department offers three levels: CP (College Preparatory), HN (Honors), and AP (Advanced Placement).

In the 1970s and early 1980s Bishop Ireton experimented with an Education by Appointment model, whereby students worked at their own pace and were encouraged to explore areas of interest in depth. For some students this model of freedom and opportunity encouraged great academic development, however, for some students the lack of structure and weight of responsibility resulted in poor academic achievement.[citation needed]

This experiment ended with a new principal, Father Walsh, who brought Ireton back to a structured and rigorous curriculum. This included an eight period schedule that rotate so that only seven periods meet each day. He instituted a school uniform policy instead of the informal dress code previously used and actually required freshman to wear gold and crimson beanies (which proved wildly unpopular and were soon eliminated). In the late 1970s Bishop Ireton was among the first Catholic high schools to introduce computer science classes utilizing a DEC PDP 11/40 mini computer donated to the school by The Catholic University of America when it upgraded.[citation needed]. Today, BI offers AP classes in almost every subject.



Bishop Ireton competes in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference which is home to schools such as Gonzaga College High School, St. John's College High School and DeMatha Catholic High School although the school plays an independent football schedule. The school has had many student athletes go on to attend college on athletic scholarship. Ireton has several noteworthy rivals, including:

Among the many sports played at Ireton are football, field hockey, cheerleading, cross country, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, track and field, wrestling, ice hockey, golf, swimming & diving, volleyball, soccer, tennis, softball, rowing, water polo, and indoor track. Almost 9 out of every 10 students at Ireton will have been engaged in an athletic activity at least once in their high school career.


The cast and crew of Something's Afoot at Bishop Ireton High School were nominated for 13 Cappie Awards, a record high for the school.

Bishop Ireton Theatre Arts' award-winning program stages two mainstage shows each season; one play and one musical. In addition, the student-run Bishop Ireton Drama Club holds many events throughout the year including a trip to New York. Hundreds of students have passed through Ireton's drama program and many students are currently enrolled in acting, stage crafts, and costuming classes. Other drama events include the annual Evening of the Arts where student-directed one acts are displayed. Bishop Ireton's Garwood Whaley Auditorium is home to the Bishop Ireton theatre program. The 783-seat space[5] is a fully equipped theatrical venue that plays host to many other functions within the school.

Cappie Awards

Ireton participates in the Critics and Awards Program for High School Students, or Cappies. The Cappies are the high school equivalent to the Tony Awards for Broadway theatre. Each year, participating high schools select one show to be reviewed and voted on by peers.[6] The National Capital Area Cappies season concludes with a formal awards gala at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., honoring the outstanding work of theatre students in the area. The program began in 1999 with 14 high schools in Northern Virginia including 13 Fairfax County public schools and Bishop Ireton.[7] The National Capital Area region of the Cappies now contains 55 schools[8] distributed across the D.C. metropolitan area.

Bishop Ireton's entry for the 2014 Cappie Season was its spring musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. How to Succeed played to over 70 student critics on March 22, 2014 where it was met with universal praise. One critic raved that "there was not a single low point of this amazing show," while another claimed that this production will "certainly be remembered for its brilliance in years to come."[9] Sam Miller of McLean High School, a student Cappies Critic, wrote, "Bishop Ireton still continues to tap into its limitless potential and create fantastic, successful shows that are a pleasure to watch. Their shows demonstrate such talent and expertise that it’s quite clear that no one in their theatre department got where they are without really trying."

Ireton's Cappies show for the 2015 season is The Drowsy Chaperone. The Drowsy Chaperone was also met with near-universal praise on March 21, 2015.

Awards and Nominations

Student newspaper[edit]

The Journalism Class publishes the student-run, monthly newspaper, The BI Word. A website for The BI Word came up in the 2006-2007 school year, was discontinued, and then reappeared during the 2008-2009 school year. Most articles are available in the printed edition, but additional articles can be found at The BI Word website. Brief biographies of the editors and reporters can be found there. This website can be found here.


The Bishop Ireton Music Department features a choir, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Membership in the ensembles is audition-based. The Bishop Ireton music program was started by Dr. Garwood Whaley. It is now currently under the leadership of Dr. Randy Eyles. Each spring, the ensembles go on tours. One of the most well known is the Symphonic Wind Ensemble's international tour.

In April 2009, the students at Bishop Ireton entered the Verizon Text 2 Win Competition and won. They were awarded with a free Taylor Swift concert, held in the school's auditorium.


  • Homecoming Dance
  • Winter Ball (A semi-formal dance, in which all proceeds benefit Bishop Ireton's sister school in Haiti, Louverture-Cleary)
  • Prom (Juniors and Seniors are invited)

Senior All Nite Grad Party[edit]

Events normally include swimming, laser tag, blackjack, races, obstacle courses, karaoke, and prizes. It is generally not over until 5:30 AM the following morning.


  • Fall Drama and Spring Musical
  • Fall, Winter, March, and Spring Band Concerts
  • Coffee House Variety Shows

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]