De Smet Jesuit High School

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De Smet Jesuit High School
233 North New Ballas (St. Louis Co.)

Creve Coeur, Missouri 63141
(314) 567-3500

United States
TypePrivate, Roman Catholic
MottoAd Majorem Dei Gloriam
For the Greater Glory of God
Men for Others
Religious affiliation(s)Catholic
Established1967; 52 years ago (1967)
FounderSociety of Jesus
Joseph Cardinal Ritter
OversightSociety of Jesus
PresidentCorey Quinn
PrincipalKevin Poelker
Assistant PrincipalsChris Williams,
Ron Rebore
Enrollment744[3] (2017-2018)
Color(s)Maroon and white         
Athletics conferenceMetro Catholic Conference
Team nameSpartans
RivalSt. Louis University HS
Christian Brothers College HS
AccreditationNorth Central Association of Colleges and Schools
NewspaperThe Mirror
YearbookSpartan Olympiad
Tuition$16,660 (2017–2018)[3]
25% receive assistance
AffiliationISSL, ISACS, NAIS, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
AdmissionsDirector, Tim Sullivan
AthleticsDirector, John Pukala

De Smet Jesuit High School is a Jesuit, Catholic, college preparatory high school located in Creve Coeur, Missouri, in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Louis. Since the Jesuit Saint Louis University and the High School had opened in 1818, De Smet was opened to accommodate more Jesuit alumni's children in the St. Louis area.

The school began classes in the fall of 1967. It was named in honor of the prominent Belgian Jesuit Great Plains missionary, Pierre-Jean De Smet.


Honors courses are offered in math, English, foreign language, social studies, fine arts, and science, totaling 130 college credit hours. Honors students at De Smet average a score of 31 on the ACT, and grades for honors courses are weighted when calculating grade-point average. The entire curriculum is college prep, but there is a full-service learning center to assist students needing extra help. All students lease a tablet PC, featuring a pen and multi-touch display as well as speech/audio recognition. Moodle is used to facilitate teacher communication with students and parents.

De Smet facilities include a 353-seat performing arts theater.[4]


De Smet Jesuit fields 53 teams in 19 sports, four of them non-cut.[5] DeSmet competes in the large school division in the Missouri State High School Activities Association and has won 52 state championships: basketball five times (1973, 1978, 1979, 1982, 1999), soccer five times (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2011), golf four times (1983, 1985, 1986, 2003), hockey 14 times,[6] tennis twice (1986, 1987), football once (2005), baseball twice(2000, 2019 [7]), swimming and diving once (2002),[8] cross country once (1983),[9] and water polo once (2010).[10] The school competes in the Metro Catholic Conference along with fellow private schools Chaminade College Preparatory, Christian Brothers High School, St. Louis University High School, and St. John Vianney High School. De Smet has won the MCC All-Sports Trophy 11 times in the 21-year existence of the conference.[11]


Three of De Smet's five state basketball championships came under coach Rich Grawer, who went on to coach at University of Missouri and St. Louis University. His 1979 team went undefeated, 32–0.[12] His teams also established the current Missouri state large-school record for winning streaks at 63 games.[13][14]

In 2016, the school hired Blake Ahearn as its head varsity basketball coach. Ahearn, an alumnus of the school, was a standout player both in high school and in college at Missouri State University. He also spent a short time in the NBA, including stints with the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, and Utah Jazz. In 2017 he brought the Nike Basketball Camp to the school.[15]


The Spartans won the 2005 Missouri Class 6 State Championship. Under former head coach Pat Mahoney, De Smet Jesuit has established itself as a St. Louis and Missouri powerhouse. Recent notable athletes at De Smet include Munir Prince,[16] Stephen Kaiser,[17] Ray Agnew,[18] Malcolm Agnew,[19] Wes Kemp,[20] Robert Steeples,[21] Durron Neal[22] KeVonn Mabon,[23] and Andrew Bauer.[24]

Mahoney stepped down as head football coach in 2015, paving the way for former Dallas Cowboy and Minnesota Viking and Class of 2008 alumnus Robert Steeples to take over the program. In 2017 the school mourned the loss of its assistant football coach, Jaz Granderson, who was killed in a car theft incident.[25]


The soccer program captured five state titles, four of which occurred during seven years during the 1990s, winning championships in alternating years: 1991, 1993, 1995, and 1997. This period is known among De Smet students and alumni as "The Decade of Dominance".[citation needed] The fifth came in 2011, led by All American Louie Berra.[26] Longtime head coach Greg Vitello led the program from 1969 to 2014. He is the third-winningest high school coach in United States history.[27] During his time at De Smet, Vitello won five state championships and 33 district championships, and paved the way for five young men to compete on the US national team.[28] Notable players under Vitello included 1998 Parade Magazine Soccer Player of the Year Bill McKeon; his brother Matt McKeon, the 1991 Gatorade Circle of Champions Soccer Player of the Year and the 1995 National Collegiate Player of the Year; Chris Klein, the 1993 St. Louis Post-Dispatch Player of the Year; Pat Noonan, the 1997 St. Louis Post-Dispatch Player of the Year; Mike Ambersley, a 2000 Parade Magazine All American and Missouri Player of the Year; and Will Bruin, a 2008 Parade Magazine All-American, a three-time Missouri State High School Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year, the 2007 Gatorade Missouri Player of the Year and the 2007 Post-Dispatch Player of the Year.[29] Vitello stepped down in 2014, which vaulted Class of 1997 alum Josh Klein to the head coaching position.[30]

Campus ministry[edit]

A student Core Team, composed of juniors and seniors who meet during home room, is vitally involved in invigorating all aspects of the Campus Ministry program. Students are, further, encouraged to write prayers for the opening and closing of the school day and reflections for the Friday Holy Hour, and plan liturgies; they also network with youth groups at other schools[31] and parishes.[32]

Retreat program[edit]

All freshmen make the El Camino retreat in which they come to see life as a journey, with role models, heroes, and acceptance of oneself. It is led by seniors and includes team-building exercises, small-group discussions, and faith sharing. The Kairos retreat runs three days and is led by seniors who have made it. It emphasizes peer leadership and ministry to build solidarity, based on the experience of God’s love in our lives. Follow-up gatherings are held for those attending the retreat. The senior retreat lasts two full days and introduces retreatants to various methods of prayer from St. IgnatiusSpiritual Exercises, directed toward a facility at finding God in all things.[33]

Service program[edit]

Freshmen serve the school community at school events. Sophomores assist at school and are also encouraged to volunteer in their neighborhood and church communities. Juniors select from more than 120 area service agencies; they go out on Mondays and their experiences are incorporated into class on Tuesdays. Many are drawn to tutoring children or recreating with them, at inner-city grade schools, homeless shelters, and in Head Start programs; they also work with children having learning disabilities, physical disabilities, autism, or behavioral disorders. The elderly in nursing homes offer a mutually enriching experience for many. Seniors continue on and deepen their experience from junior year. There have also been service-learning trips to Honduras, Belize, South Dakota, and New Orleans, to learn and grow by working with those in need.[34]

The school uses graduates of Jesuit schools as Alum Service Corps volunteers and 14 of these have become full-time teachers at DeSmet.[35]

Liturgies and spirituality[edit]

Mass is celebrated daily at 7:20 am. Each Friday there is a Holy Hour along with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Ten large Eucharistic celebrations are held throughout the year, incorporating Holy Days or special events like Mass of the Holy Spirit, Missioning, Thanksgiving, De Smet’s birthday, family Masses with BBQ or breakfast, Ring Mass, and graduation.

A Christian Life Community group meets weekly for prayer and reflection, focused on Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and on finding God in one’s daily life. De Smet in Prayer (DIP) has a breakfast meeting before school once each week to discuss, reflect, and pray together on living out one's faith as brothers in the Lord.[32]

In 2016, three DeSmet students won the North American sector of the St. Francis Xavier Global Instagram Competition whose purpose was "to convey a message of hope, zeal, sustainability, diversity and belonging to a global community."[36]

Notable alumni[edit]




  1. ^ "Faculty & Staff". DeSmet HS. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  2. ^ "De Smet Jesuit High School Profile - Saint Louis, Missouri (MO)". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "De Smet Jesuit High School". Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  4. ^ "De Smet Jesuit High School, Fine Arts Theater/Auditorium | M² Architecture Studio". M² Architecture Studio. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  5. ^ "De Smet Jesuit High School - Welcome". Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  6. ^ "desmethockey". DeSmetHockey. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  7. ^ StL Today Retrieved June 17, 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ "DeSmet Upsets Parkway South to Take Missouri Boys' High School Crown - Swimming World News". Swimming World News. February 15, 2002. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  9. ^ "MSHSAA state championships history" (PDF). Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  10. ^ "Past Missouri High School State Championship Results". Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  11. ^ "Teams & Schedules - De Smet Jesuit High School". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  12. ^ Post-Dispatch, Tom Klein St. Louis. "Thirty years ago, a perfect season A DeSmet team led by Steve Stipanovich (right) went 32-0 during a win streak that reached 63 the next season, a state record for large schools. High school boys basketball". Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  13. ^ "Basketball all-time winning streak" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 25, 2017. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  14. ^ "Rich Grawer – St Louis Sports Hall of Fame". Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  15. ^ "Nike Basketball Blake Ahearn Camp at De Smet Jesuit High School". Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  16. ^ "Munir Prince Bio :: Notre Dame Football :: UND.COM :: The Official Site of ND Athletics". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  17. ^ "SMU Athletics". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  18. ^ Ray Agnew III[circular reference]
  19. ^ "De Smet Jesuit Grad Malcolm Agnew Transferring To Southern Illinois". March 9, 2013. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  20. ^ "De Smet Grad Wes Kemp Getting NFL Shot". April 29, 2012. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  21. ^ Kvidahl, David. "Steeples puts aside NFL dreams, takes over as De Smet coach". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  22. ^ "Durron Neal Biography". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  23. ^ "After breaking records, KeVonn Mabon wonders what's next". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  24. ^ Matter, Dave. "Injury forces Mizzou's Bauer to retire from football". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  25. ^ "De Smet football coach killed in St. Louis shooting; woman who called 911 speaks". Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  26. ^ "Louie Berra, sr., midfielder, DeSmet". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  27. ^ "Nation's winningest HS coaches set to clash - High School Soccer News". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  28. ^ "DeSmet Soccer Coach Greg Vitello Retiring - Soccer STL". March 31, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  29. ^ "NFHS - St. Louis is nation's hotbed of high school boys soccer". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  30. ^ report, Staff. "Klein tapped to lead De Smet soccer". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  31. ^ "Charities Win When Jesuit High Schools Make World Series Wager". Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  32. ^ a b "De Smet Jesuit High School - Liturgy and Worship". Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  33. ^ "De Smet Jesuit High School - Retreats". Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  34. ^ "De Smet Jesuit High School - Service". Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  35. ^ "De Smet Jesuit High School - Alum Service Corps". Alum Service Corps. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  36. ^ "The 2016 SFX Instagram Competition Winners Announced! - Educate Magis : Educate Magis". Educate Magis. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  37. ^ Eric Delabar[circular reference]
  38. ^ "Five St. Louis Hockey Players Drafted in NHL's First Round". June 25, 2016. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  39. ^ "desmethockey". desmethockey. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  40. ^ Steve Fuchs[circular reference]
  41. ^ "After breaking records, KeVonn Mabon wonders what's next". November 24, 2016. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  42. ^ "Ball State sends 5 to NFL as undrafted free agents". April 29, 2017. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  43. ^ Matt McKeon[circular reference]
  44. ^ "Coaching Staff". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  45. ^ Matter, Dave. "Vols hire former Mizzou player Tony Vitello as baseball coach". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  46. ^ John Diehl (politician)[circular reference]
  47. ^ Bob Poe[circular reference]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°39′40″N 90°26′42″W / 38.6612°N 90.4449°W / 38.6612; -90.4449