Bishop Shanahan High School

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High School
220 Woodbine Road

, ,

United States
Coordinates40°0′32″N 75°41′16″W / 40.00889°N 75.68778°W / 40.00889; -75.68778Coordinates: 40°0′32″N 75°41′16″W / 40.00889°N 75.68778°W / 40.00889; -75.68778
TypePrivate, coeducational
MottoQuae sursum sunt Quaerite
(Seek the things that are above.)
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Patron saint(s)St. Francis Xavier
School districtArchdiocese of Philadelphia
SuperintendentSr. Maureen L. McDermott, IHM
PresidentSr. Regina Plunkett, IHM
PrincipalMr. Michael McArdle
Head of schoolMr. Michael McArdle
ChaplainFr. John Donia
Enrollment<1100 (2008)
 • Grade 9<300
 • Grade 10<300
 • Grade 11<300
 • Grade 12<300
Campus size80+ acres
Color(s)Green and white         
Slogan"Seek the things that are found above"
Athletics conferenceChes-Mont League, National Division
Team nameThe Eagles
AccreditationMiddle States Association of Colleges and Schools[1]
PublicationVisions (literary magazine)
Tuition$10,175 (2019–2020)[2]
Guidance DirectorMs. Beth Saggers
Athletic DirectorRon Reidinger
Assistant Athletic Director/ Head Football CoachPee Wee Sherman

Bishop Shanahan High School is located in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. It is part of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Catholic school system. Named after Right Rev. John W. Shanahan, the third bishop of Harrisburg, the school is the only archdiocesan high school in Chester County. Construction of the current building began in 1996. It opened in 1998, and the first class graduated from it in 1999. The school had previously been located in West Chester, Pennsylvania. In June 2008, Bishop Shanahan celebrated its 50th anniversary with the graduation of its 50th senior class.

John W. Shanahan[edit]

Shanahan was born in 1846 in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. Shanahan's older brother, Jeremiah was also a bishop.[3] At the age of 23, John Shanahan was ordained to the priesthood by his brother. Shanahan was educated at St. Joseph's College and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.[3] Immediately after being ordained, Shanahan received the position titled Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.[4] He was also the pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows parish in Philadelphia. Shanahan held and maintained these positions until he became the bishop of Harrisburg in 1899. Shanahan died in February 1916 and currently rests in Mount Calvary Cemetery.[3]

Seal and motto[edit]

The school seal is a shield separated into thirds, emblazoned with a cross (Faith), an anchor (Hope), and a heart (Love): the three Theological Virtues. Beneath the school shield is the motto "Quae sursum sunt Quaerite," which means "Seek the things that are found above".


Bishop Shanahan's President is Sister Regina Plunkett, IHM. The Principal is Mr. Michael McArdle.[4] 100% of Bishop Shanahan's graduates attend a four-year college.[4] In 2014, compared to the national SAT average, Bishop Shanahan students scored 55 points higher on reading, 37 on mathematics, and 68 on writing.[4] The school operates under the Archdiocesan curriculum, which is very broad. Bishop Shanahan offers a wide variety of electives for students to take as well as required courses. Bishop Shanahan offers many different level courses based on students learning capabilities. Bishop Shanahan offers learning tracks that include; CP2, CP1, Honors, and AP.[4] English and Religion are the only two required subjects for all four years.[4] Many different types of religion classes are offered, including; Morality, Church History, Life in Jesus, and Vocational Classes.[5] Some English classes offered include; Genre Studies, British Studies, American Studies, and Contemporary Studies.[5]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Bishop Shanahan offers many different clubs and recreational activities for its students. Some of these include: DECA Business club, chorus, computer programming, academic bowl, community service corps, yearbook club, specific language clubs, mock trial, mathletes, National Honor Society, and world affairs club.[4]


Bishop Shanahan High School Athletics compete in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA). The PIAA was formed in 1913 with the goal to organize and promote athletics and good sportsmanship.[6] Within the PIAA Bishop Shanahan competes in the Chesmont-National Division. The Chesmont League was founded in 1950 as a division for football, men's basketball, and track and field to compete. Since then it has greatly expanded. The Chesmont-National division includes, Avon Grove, Coatesville, Downingtown East and West, and Bishop Shanahan.[7] Bishop Shanahan is the only non-public school that competes in this athletic conference. Ron Reidinger is the athletic director. Bishop Shanahan offers a variety of different sports for students.[4]

Feeder schools[edit]

Bishop Shanahan enrolls fewer students compared to local public schools. To make up for this they register students from a broader geographic area. Bishop Shanahan High School is the only archdiocesan high school in Chester County, Pennsylvania.[4] Chester County includes a broad spectrum of municipalities. These include but are not limited to: Downingtown, Coatesville, Avon Grove, Malvern, East Goshen, West Goshen, Oxford, Kennett Square, Phoenixville, and Westtown.[8] Some of Bishop Shanahan's main parochial feeder schools include: St. Agnes, Assumption B.V.M., St. Cornelius, St. Elizabeth, St. Joseph's, St. Maximillian Kolbe, St. Norbert, St. Patrick, SS. Peter and Paul, SS. Phillip and James, Sacred Heart, and SS. Simon and Jude.[9] Within the entire Archdiocese of Philadelphia, there are roughly 44,900 parochial students. This includes students in grades Kindergarten through eighth grade.[10]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ MSA-CSS. "MSA-Commission on Secondary Schools". Archived from the original on 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^

External links[edit]