Damien High School

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Damien High School
Damien HS.jpg
2280 Damien Avenue
La Verne, (Los Angeles County), California 91750
Coordinates 34°6′18″N 117°47′18″W / 34.10500°N 117.78833°W / 34.10500; -117.78833Coordinates: 34°6′18″N 117°47′18″W / 34.10500°N 117.78833°W / 34.10500; -117.78833
Type Private, All-Male
Motto Cor Unum et Anima Una
(One heart and One spirit)
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Patron saint(s) Saint Damien
Established 1959
President Fr. Peadar Cronin SS.CC.
Principal Merritt Hemenway, Ph.D
Chaplain Fr. John Roche SS.CC.
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 924 (2016)
Color(s) Green and Gold         
Mascot Spartan
Team name Spartans
Accreditation Western Association of Schools and Colleges,[1] Western Catholic Education Association
Newspaper The Laconian
Yearbook The Spartiate
Tuition $8,100

Damien High School is an all-male Roman Catholic high school in La Verne, in the U.S. state of California named for Saint Damien of Molokai. The school had its first graduating class in 1963. Each of Damien's freshmen classes draws from an average of over 75 different elementary and junior high schools for youths from Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. It is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It is a part of the tri-school community including St. Lucy's Priory High School and Pomona Catholic High School.


The school opened in 1959 as Pomona Catholic Boys High School and was renamed in 1967 as Damien High School,[2] in honor of St. Damien de Veuster, SS.CC., who was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday October 11, 2009.[3] The Sacred Heart Fathers have staffed and administered the school since its beginning in La Verne. The courage and capacity for self-sacrifice in the cause of others, is encouraged as an impetus toward social causes in the lives of Damien's students.[2]

In 1996, a new swimming pool and locker room were constructed. Six new tennis courts were also built near the priests’ residence and a new ticket/snack bar/rest room facility was built in Spartan Stadium.[2] A new gymnasium, The Travers Cronin Athletic Center, was opened in 2006. In 2008, the Spartan Stadium was renovated. It now includes an all weather track and FieldTurf. Spartan Stadium was renamed "Dick Larson Stadium" in honor of the school's longtime football coach. 2010 brought a renovation of the football stadium, including the installation of a new scoreboard and stadium seating. The stadium was officially named "Tom Carroll Stadium," in honor of Damien's Athletic Director of 37 years.[4]

In 2014, Damien and St. Lucy's Priory High School were moved from the Sierra League, where they had competed since 1998, to the Baseline League. The League consists of Damien/St. Lucy's, Chino Hills, Etiwanda, Los Osos, Rancho Cucamonga, and Upland.

In 2015, the basketball team won the California Interscholastic Federation State championship (Division III) by defeating Campolindo High of Moraga (CIF North Coast Section) by the score of 70-57 at Haas Pavilion on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley.[citation needed]}

In 2016, the first "Classic at Damien" basketball tournament will feature 48 schools divided into gold, silver and bronze groups including the host school and it will take place every December after Christmas Day (Dec. 26 to 30) at Damien's athletic complex. The 2017 edition of the "Classic at Damien" basketball tournament will now feature 64 schools divided into platinum, gold, silver and bronze groups including the host school. The platinum and gold divisions are held at Damien's athletic complex, while the silver and bronze division and held at Life Pacific College, San Dimas High School and Bonita High School. The championships are held at Damien's athletic complex.

School activities[edit]

Policy Debate Team[edit]

The Damien Policy Debate team won the 2009 National Debate Coach's Association National Championship, the 2009 National Forensic League National Tournament, and the inaugural Unger Cup, the award given to the "nation’s most successful high school debate squad." [5][6] Damien qualified 4 teams to the TOC in 2009, more than any other school in the nation. [7] A school team won the National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA) Tournament,n 2011, making Damien the first school to win the NDCA twice. [8][9][10]

Student Spaceflight Experiments Program[edit]

Damien High School was one of 23 communities involved with Student Spaceflight Experiment Program (SSEP's) Mission 7 to send a science experiment to the International Space Station. The experiment was originally aboard the SpaceX-7 rocket launched on June 28, 2015 which exploded 2 minutes into launch.[11] The experiment was successfully re-flown on the SpaceX CRS-8 (SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket; Dragon spacecraft) on April 8, 2016, and docked with the International Space Station two days later.[12] The experiment studies the effects of tardigrades in a microgravity environment.[13]

Tri-School Community[edit]

Damien High School is a part of the "tri-school" community existing between St. Lucy's Priory High School and Pomona Catholic High School. Numerous dances and functions are coordinated between the three schools during the school year. Additionally, financial incentives exist for parents who have multiple children attending these schools.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  2. ^ a b c "School History". Damien Catholic High School. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  3. ^ "''Pope proclaims five new saints''". Oecumene.radiovaticana.org. 2009-10-11. Retrieved 2012-02-23.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "It's a Great Day for Damien Baseball and Coach Carroll". La Verne Online.
  5. ^ "NFL 2009 Results" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2009-06-20.
  6. ^ "The Unger Cup" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-07-11.
  7. ^ http://results.the3nr.com/2008-2009/2009%20Tournament%20of%20Champions%20Varsity%20CX%20Results.pdf
  8. ^ "Damien Becomes First School To Win Two NDCA National Championships". The 3NR. 2011-04-19. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  9. ^ "Hometown Educator Wins Prestigious National Award". La Verne Community News.
  10. ^ "NFL News Around the Nation". Archived from the original on 2007-08-06. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
  11. ^ DamienNews (2015-06-29), Damien High School SSEP Interview on Channel 13, retrieved 2016-04-14
  12. ^ "SSEP Mission 7 to the International Space Station (ISS) | SSEP | Student Spaceflight Experiments Program". ssep.ncesse.org. Retrieved 2016-04-14.
  13. ^ "Rocket Failure a "Huge Bummer" for Students". NBC Southern California. Retrieved 2016-04-14.
  14. ^ "Cal Poly Pomona's Cody Ponce leads Broncos into NCAA Division II Regionals". dailybulletin.com. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  15. ^ Baber, La Rue V. (January 31, 2003). "King of comedy - Damien High grad went from stand-up to winning an Emmy". The Whittier Daily News. Whittier, California.

External links[edit]