Cathedral Catholic High School

Coordinates: 32°57′37″N 117°12′1″W / 32.96028°N 117.20028°W / 32.96028; -117.20028
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cathedral Catholic High School
5555 Del Mar Heights Road

, ,

United States
Coordinates32°57′37″N 117°12′1″W / 32.96028°N 117.20028°W / 32.96028; -117.20028
Former nameUniversity of San Diego High School
MottoScientia Pro Deo et Patria
(Education For God and Country)
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego
Established1957 (Relocated in 2005)
CEEB code052896
PresidentKevin J. Calkins
PrincipalMarlena Conroy
ChaplainFr. Michael Ortiz, Fr. Martin Latiff, Fr. Patrick Wainright, and Fr. Richard Captain (Ret.), USN
Teaching staff107.0 [2]
Enrollment1,560 [2] (2017–18)
Average class size24
Student to teacher ratio14.6 [2]
Color(s)Red and Gold   
SloganRoll Dons, Once a Don, Always a Don
Athletics42 sports
Athletics conferenceCIF – San Diego Section
MascotThe Don
Team nameThe Dons
RivalsSaint Augustine High School
Academy of Our Lady of Peace
Torrey Pines High School
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges[3]
PublicationEl Sol (art/literary magazine)
NewspaperEl Cid

Cathedral Catholic High School (CCHS) is a private coeducational Catholic college preparatory day school in San Diego, California serving grades 9–12. It is operated by the Diocese of San Diego. In 1970, Cathedral Girls High School, a girls’ school dating back to 1939 and located in downtown San Diego, merged with the all-boys University High School (UHS or Uni) founded in 1957.[4] In 1971, the newly constituted and expanded University of San Diego High School graduated its first coeducational class. Uni or the University of San Diego High School (USDHS), was located in the Linda Vista neighborhood of San Diego. Construction began on CCHS at its current location on Del Mar Heights Road in Carmel Valley in 1999. In 2005, the school including all faculty, administration, and students, moved to that campus and changed its name to Cathedral Catholic High School. Cathedral Catholic High School is accredited by the Western Catholic Education Association (WCEA), the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and holds membership with the College Board.[5]


University of San Diego High School[edit]

University High School (known as UHS or Uni) was founded in 1957 as a Catholic college preparatory high school for boys. It was located in the San Diego neighborhood of Linda Vista, on a site overlooking Mission Bay to the west and Mission Valley to the south, across the street from the University of San Diego which had been founded in 1949.[6] The first principal was Reverend Father James Cadden, a scholar of church history. For the first few years of the school's existence the faculty consisted entirely of ordained priests.

Its sister-school Cathedral Girls High School had been founded in 1943 and was located on a downtown campus. In 1970 it merged with UHS to become a co-educational high school.[7] The class of 1971 was the first co-educational graduating class in UHS history. In 1986 the name of the school was changed to University of San Diego High School (USDHS). As of 2005 over 10,000 students had graduated from the school.[6]

Students at Uni were also afforded opportunities to participate in a wide variety of extracurricular activities including fine arts, athletics, clubs, service organizations and leadership roles. The athletic teams were the Dons, and all students and alumni were referred to as Dons, with the motto "once a Don, always a Don".[8][9] In 1998 USDHS was honored by the United States Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School.[10]

The Linda Vista campus held 1,450 students. In 1999, the Diocese of San Diego proposed a plan to relocate the school to a larger campus. Construction was begun on a brand new campus in a location in Carmel Valley. The new school was to have larger facilities to accommodate up to 2000 students, and host many extracurricular activities and sports such as football, swim/dive, water polo, basketball, sailing, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, softball and baseball. The majority of these activities had been holding practices and events outside of the Linda Vista campus due to the lack of facilities. Dr. Richard Kelly was the principal from 1991 to 2004, the longest-serving principal of that school. He did not transition to CCHS but facilitated the move.[10]


The new campus was completed in summer of 2005, and USDHS officially shut down after the 2004–2005 school year. The new school opened as Cathedral Catholic High School in August 2005, with all the same faculty, administration, and the remaining three classes of students from USDHS (Classes of 2006, 2007, and 2008). On May 31, 2008, the final class of USDHS students, who had been freshmen at the time of the transition, graduated from CCHS.

Cathedral Catholic continued all of the traditions from USDHS, including the Dons mascot for the athletic teams. The names of the yearbook (Presidio), newspaper (El Cid), and art/literary magazine (El Sol) were also preserved.

The Dons Athletic Hall of Fame was moved to the gymnasium at CCHS. The statues and relics from the old campus, such as the Mary statue from the quad, were all moved to locations around the Cathedral Catholic campus. The dedicated walk of fame from the quad at Uni was originally proposed to be moved and installed on the quad of CCHS around a new memorial fountain. But due to deterioration and costly efforts, the stones were not brought to CCHS. Those who had names there were honored with a memorial display, which was hung in the USDHS Library at CCHS during the 50th Anniversary Celebration. Notable dedications for major Uni/CCHS contributors have been engraved into the stone benches and lamp posts around CCHS' quad as well.

The Linda Vista campus was temporarily occupied by Notre Dame Academy from June 2005 to January 2006, while that school's new campus, also in the Carmel Valley area, was being completed. In 2008 the Linda Vista campus was sold to The Irvine Company for development. The site is now the home of a 500+ unit apartment complex called Carmel Pacific Ridge.[11]

Cathedral Catholic High School[edit]

The CCHS campus in Carmel Valley opened in 2005. It is designed to resemble a Tuscan village.[10] The founding principal was Mike Deely, himself a graduate of USDHS; he served as principal until 2015.[12] In 2021 the diocese appointed the school's first female principal, Marlena Conroy.[13]

At approximately 1600[14] students, CCHS is the largest high school in the Diocese of San Diego.[7] The 54-acre campus includes ten major buildings including a chapel, theater, and gymnasium.[15]


AP classes[edit]

CCHS offers Advanced Placement classes in art history, biology, calculus AB & BC, chemistry, English language, English literature, environmental science, Macroeconomics, Physics C, Spanish language, studio art, US history, US government and World history.[16]

Dual-enrollment classes with MiraCosta College and Mesa College are also offered, as well as honors courses.[17]

Visual and Performing Arts[edit]

Visual and performing arts classes at CCHS include drama and advanced drama 1–2, multimedia authoring 1–2, CCTV broadcast and video journalism, journalism, photography, digital imaging, art 1–2, art 3–4, ceramics, 3D design, introduction to guitar, choral music, concert and pep band, AP art history and AP studio art. After-school courses in band, journalism and Yearbook are also available.[18]

Student life[edit]

CCHS offers more than 80 extracurricular activities including music, drama, publications, and robotics.[19]

Schoolwide masses are held on various feasts and solemnities of the Church throughout the school year.[20] In addition to the schoolwide liturgies, daily mass and lauds (morning prayer) are held each morning before school in the St. Therese Chapel on campus.[21]


An aerial shot of CCHS's athletic facilities. In the far bottom left is part of right field of the baseball diamond. At the bottom is the multipurpose practice field. In the center is the pool. On the right is left field of the softball diamond. Manchester Stadium (track and turf field) is visible in the background. The Claver Center (basketball/volleyball court, wrestling room) is opposite Manchester.[22]

Cathedral Catholic has the following sports:

Cathedral Catholic's mascot is the Don. The Dons maintain a longstanding rivalry with the Catholic all-male high school St. Augustine, known as the Saints; the high-profile annual game between the rivals is called the Holy Bowl.[23]

Between USDHS and CCHS the Dons have won a CIF championship 161 times; that includes 46 championships as CCHS.[24]

In popular culture[edit]

The film Miracle at Manchester is based on a true story about a student with brain cancer at CCHS, and principal photography took place there.[25]

Notable alumni[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tuition".
  2. ^ a b c d "CATHEDRAL CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL". Private School Universe Survey. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  3. ^ WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Archived from the original on 2009-08-14. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  4. ^ {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "Welcome to Cathedral Catholic High School – Cathedral Catholic High School". Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  6. ^ a b "History". University of San Diego High School website (archived). Archived from the original on 28 August 2005. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  7. ^ a b Franey, John J. (2016). Catholic Schools in the Diocese of San Diego. San Diego: Developing Difference Makers. p. 141. ISBN 978-0-9974605-1-3.
  8. ^ "Athletics Department". Cathedral Catholic High School website. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Welcome Alumni". Cathedral Catholic High School website. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  10. ^ a b c Hicks, Angelina (March 6, 2019). "Losing a legend". El Cid. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Pacific Ridge". Carmel Partners website. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  12. ^ Telli, Andy (October 15, 2018). "New headmaster visits JPII faculty, students, parents". Tennessee Register. Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  13. ^ Graves, Brad (May 27, 2021). "Cathedral Catholic Welcomes First Female Principal". San Diego Business Journal. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  14. ^[bare URL PDF]
  15. ^ "Cathedral Catholic High School Honored by SDG&E as Energy Champion". Cathedral Catholic High School website. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2012-04-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "Cathedral Catholic School Profile" (PDF).
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Students". Cathedral Catholic High School website. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  20. ^ "CCHS – Campus Ministry-Liturgies". Archived from the original on 2012-06-24. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
  21. ^ "CCHS – Campus Ministry". Archived from the original on 2012-06-24. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
  22. ^ "Campus Map".
  23. ^ Maffei, John (October 27, 2016). "Cathedral Catholic, St. Augustine to renew storied rivalry". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  24. ^ "Athletics". Cathedral Catholic High School website. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  25. ^ "JPCatholic Freshman Cast in a Lead Role in Upcoming Feature "Miracle at Manchester" | JPCatholic News". John Paul the Great Catholic University. 2022-03-30. Retrieved 2023-09-08.
  26. ^ "San Diego native and Yankees assistant general manager Billy Eppler interviews for Padres' GM job". San Diego Padres. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  27. ^ "Destination wedding for New York couple meant lots of prep time via phone, e-mail – The San Diego Union-Tribune". Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  28. ^ a b c d "ALUMNI" (PDF). Cathedral Catholic High school. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  29. ^ Sahagun, Louis; Arax, Mark (12 November 2004). "Scott Peterson Convicted in Murder of Wife Laci". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  30. ^ "Scott Peterson – Murderer". Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  31. ^ "A Portrait of the Accused". SFGate. 7 March 2004. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  32. ^ "Killer Scott Peterson living a cushy life behind bars on death row". 23 March 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  33. ^ "Chicago White Sox trade Carlos Quentin to San Diego Padres for two minor leaguers". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  34. ^ "Report on Rulon's fifth title in The Daily Bruin". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  35. ^ "Moriah Van Norman". 2005 Women's Water Polo Roster. University of Southern California Athletics. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  36. ^ Stevenson, Samantha (December 26, 1996). "A Light Shines on Walton Mountain". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 21, 2018.
  37. ^ Ammenheuser, David (9 August 2015). "Barry Zito's next pitch: Nashville songwriting". Tennessean. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  38. ^ "Prep lefty Brady Aiken to Astros". Associated Press. June 5, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  39. ^ Maffei, John (3 July 2018). "Tyler Gaffney leaves football behind to pursue baseball career". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  40. ^ "Southpaw pitcher has lightning in his arm". U-T San Diego. 2 June 2012. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  41. ^ Smith, EJ (9 September 2020). "How Eagles seventh-round pick Casey Toohill earned a roster spot against the odds | Early Birds". Inquirer. Retrieved 19 October 2020.