Gonzaga College High School
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|Gonzaga College High School|
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
For the Greater Glory of God
|19 "Eye" St., NW
Washington, D. C. 20001
|Type||Private, college-prep, day|
|Denomination||Roman Catholic (Jesuit)|
|Founder||Anthony Kohlmann, S.J.|
|President||Stephen W. Planning, S.J.|
|Headmaster||Thomas K. Every, II|
|• Grade 9||230|
|• Grade 10||240|
|• Grade 11||240|
|• Grade 12||240|
Gonzaga College High School is a Jesuit high school for boys located in Washington, D.C. It is named in honor of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, an Italian saint from the 16th century. Gonzaga is the oldest boys' high school in the District of Columbia and also the oldest college in the original federal city of Washington.
- 1 History
- 2 St. Aloysius
- 3 Athletics
- 4 Relationship with other schools
- 5 Other clubs and activities
- 6 Community service
- 7 Alumni
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Gonzaga was officially founded by Fr. Anthony Kohlmann, a Jesuit, in 1821, though there is some evidence the school began a few years earlier. It is the oldest educational facility in the original federal city of Washington and was at first called Washington Seminary, operating under the charter of Georgetown College (now Georgetown University), which was becoming too crowded for its space at the time. Gonzaga's original location was on F Street near 10th Street, N.W., in a building adjoining Saint Patrick's Church. The school was immediately popular among Catholic families and was well enough known in its early years to attract the attention of President John Quincy Adams, who visited the school to test the boys' Latin and Greek. However, there were financial problems that caused the Jesuits to withdraw in 1827: their order prohibited the charging of tuition at a day school for youth. It continued to be run by laity until the Jesuits returned some twenty years later (with the ordinance regarding tuition changed); President Zachary Taylor presided at the commencement exercises in 1849.
In 1858, Gonzaga was granted its own charter by Congress as a college empowered to confer degrees in the arts and sciences, which accounts for its name (Gonzaga College) to this day. Although some students did receive bachelor's degrees in the 19th century, Gonzaga no longer confers degrees, other than honorary doctorates presented to commencement speakers or other notable guests. In 1871, the school moved to a building (now called Kohlmann Hall) in the Swampoodle area north of the U.S. Capitol, just down the block from St. Aloysius Church – built in 1859 and now on the U.S. Register of Historic Buildings. Enrollment declined owing to the distance of the new neighborhood from the center, but the Jesuits persevered and by the end of the 19th century the school was once again flourishing. A theater was built in 1896 and a large new classroom building (previously the Main Building and now called Dooley Hall) was opened in 1912.
The curriculum of Gonzaga from its founding until the late 20th century was at once rigorously classical and emphatically Catholic. Mastery of Latin and deep involvement in the Catholic religion were at its core. Standards were high, and many hopeful boys who lacked the necessary qualities for success were denied admittance. To this day, Gonzaga admits approximately one third of those who apply.
Gonzaga benefited greatly from the fact that the row houses built in Swampoodle were largely occupied by Irish Catholics from the late 19th century on. Although Gonzaga always drew students from other parts of the city as well, the departure of the Swampoodle Irish for the suburbs in the mid-20th century, and more especially their replacement by poorer non-Catholics, brought on another period of difficulties. A decline in enrollment and the great inner-city riot of 1968 led some to suggest that Gonzaga should be closed, or moved to a more affluent area. However, the Jesuits once again persisted and the school survived. In the last years of the 20th century Gonzaga expanded, adding several new buildings and a large playing field and field house. By 2007 Gonzaga had regained its former status and a Wall Street Journal editorial referred to it as "the premier Catholic high school of Washington."
St. Aloysius is a parish church physically attached to Gonzaga through the entrance building Dooley Hall. The church was built in 1859. It is used for Masses, concerts, some school assemblies, and graduation. The large painting above the altar is the work of Constantino Brumidi, famous for painting the frescoes on the interior of the United States Capitol dome.
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Gonzaga's 2007-2008 varsity basketball season was most successful with wins in the D.C. Classic, WCAC Championship, D.C. City Title, and Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament, and a 34-1 record. The Purple Eagles closed the season ranked 4th in the nation by ESPN and 10th in the nation by USA Today. The team also developed a massive following during the season, peaking with a cheering section drawing about 550 of its 930 students for the WCAC Championship game against O'Connell at American University.
Also in the 2007-2008 school year, Gonzaga's athletic program was ranked #12 in the country according to Sports Illustrated's "Top 25 High School Athletic Programs for 2007-2008".
During the 14-year run of the City Championship football series (1948–1962), Gonzaga appeared 4 times: 1948 - lost to Central 26-6; 1949 - defeated Wilson 12-7; 1955 - tied Cardozo 6-6; 1959 - defeated Eastern 7-6.
Gonzaga hockey won the state championship 3 years in a row from 2005 to 2007, and again in 2010, 2013, and 2014.
An Eastern Motors TV commercial with Clinton Portis and others was filmed at Gonzaga's athletic fields. The school can be seen to the left of the field and the Gonzaga purple flag in the background.
The Gonzaga soccer team won four consecutive WCAC championships from 2007–2010, and is consistently one of the best teams in the Washington area. They added another championship in 2012, beating national powerhouse DeMatha Catholic.
Gonzaga rugby has won 12 consecutive Potomac Rugby Union Championships and finished the 2010 season ranked #2 in the nation. In the middle of the 2011 season, Gonzaga beat the #1 ranked team in the nation and rival, Xavier, and became the #1 team in the nation. During the 2011 National Championship in Salt Lake City, Utah, Gonzaga finished 3rd.
In 2009, Gonzaga crew's senior eight captured the silver medal at the Stotesbury Cup Regatta on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. This was the second time the boat qualified for the grand final (the first being in 2003) and the first medal in the senior eight division in team history. At the same regatta, the freshmen eight qualified for its second grand final and medaled for the first time in team history capturing the bronze medal. The following week, Gonzaga's senior eight won in the grand final at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America (SRAA) Nationals at Mercer Lake, New Jersey. This was the first National Championship won by a Gonzaga team. In 2014 they completed the "triple crown" of rowing championships by winning Stotesbury, SRAAs, and NSRA
In 2009, Gonzaga was named the best athletic program in the District of Columbia by Sports Illustrated.
Out of the past 16 seasons (2000-2015) Gonzaga Cross Country has finished in first, second, or third place in the WCAC Championship race every time. The team won the WCAC championship in 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012. Additionally, in 2010 the Gonzaga Cross Country team won the "triple crown" with first place finishes in the WCAC Championship, the MD/DC Private/Independent Schools Championship, and the Jesuit Championship. 
Relationship with other schools
Gonzaga's historical rivals are DeMatha and Georgetown Prep, but its main rival is St. John's, with a football rivalry renewed annually since 1918. This is considered the oldest high school rivalry between two Catholic high schools in the United States. In rowing, Gonzaga's rivalry with St. Alban's School is annually contested for the Foley Cup (known amongst students as the "God Cup") with Gonzaga currently leading 4-2.
Georgetown Visitation is the unofficial "sister school" of Gonzaga. Students of the two schools frequently attend each other's dances and athletic events and join for dramatic and choral productions, with their drama programs rivaling each other as the top two high school programs in the D.C. metro area. The girls of schools like Stone Ridge and Academy of the Holy Cross also attract the interest of the boys at Gonzaga.
Other clubs and activities
The Gonzaga Dramatic Association (GDA)
One of Gonzaga's oldest and proudest institutions, the Gonzaga Dramatic Association was officially formed in 1863 (though the school had been putting on plays for the previous forty-two years). There are two productions each year: a smaller comedy or classical play in the fall and a larger musical in the spring. The theater program is housed in the Gonzaga Theater (formerly known as Gonzaga Hall) which is the oldest, continuously-operated theater in the District of Columbia (going back to 1896). The GDA has a rich tradition of drawing upon girls from all the region's schools to play the female parts in its performances. Its most recent production was "The Taming of the Shrew." GDA actors and actresses often become prominent in professional theater, and the Gonzaga Dramatic Association Hall of Fame was established in 1999 to honor these individuals (as well as those who continue to add to the theater at Gonzaga or elsewhere in their lives). The GDA inspires great loyalty in its members and five of eight current members of the production staff were involved in the GDA during their high school years. Older members of the GDA also help out in raising money for the Dr. John C. Warman Scholarship for performing arts students by putting on benefits where they sing songs from shows they were in.
Gonzaga's It's Academic Team has been solid in Virginia-D.C.-Maryland tournaments since 1998. Also, on the It's Academic television show on NBC, they received third place in the 2006 final after winning in 1998. The team practices twice a week using practice questions that encompass geography, history, mythology, literature, art, and more. Their wins-losses in individual games are improving: 80-26 in 2002–2003, 91-22 in 2003–2004, 110-27 in 2004–2005, 106-32 in 2005–2006 when they finished as a quarter-finalist at the PACE national championships. Then 151-35 in 2006–2007, competing in two national tournaments where they placed tied for 5th at the PACE-NSC tournament and 8th at the NAQT High School National Scholastic Tournament, their best records to date, also winning at Princeton and Yale universities.
Speech and debate
Gonzaga's Speech and Debate Team competes in Public Forum debate and is the oldest club at Gonzaga. Throughout its history, the team has had a multitude of top-place finishes in national tournaments, and has been extremely successful at tournaments in recent years including the Liberty Bell Tournament at the University of Pennsylvania and the Patriot Games Tournament at George Mason University. Gonzaga participates in the Washington Arlington Catholic Forensics League, which is part of the National Catholic Forensics League, and was ranked first and won the Washington and Arlington area Championship three years running. Their best finish at the National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Public Forum Tournament was 5th in 2012. The most successful run by Gonzaga's A-team however was made by Alexander DiMisa and Stephen Morris at the University of Pennsylvania's tourney.
Gonzaga's student newspaper, The Aquilian, was founded in 1940. Published throughout the school year, The Aquilian is also accessed at AquilianOnline.com.
One important aspect of Gonzaga student life that sets it apart from that of other private schools in the area is the school's commitment to community service. Each senior must complete at least forty hours of service before graduation, and although there is no requirement for non-seniors, many students volunteer in programs like Food and Friends, the Father Horace McKenna Center, So Others Might Eat, or similar projects like the Sursum Corda Cooperative in an adjacent DC neighborhood that is marked by violence and poverty. Gonzaga's emphasis on community service reflects its students' desire to carry out their school motto, "Men for Others". In 2005, Gonzaga became the first high school to participate in the Campus Kitchen service project, a program previously undertaken only at the college level.
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Gonzaga has had many famous alumni over the years, including athletes, senators, congressmen, a governor, the Hamisevicz boys, and Presidential candidates.
- Johnson Bademosi, NFL player for the Cleveland Browns (Class of 2008)
- Mike Banner, currently plays for the Chicago Fire, previously played for SIU-Edwardsville (Class of 2002)
- Colin Cloherty, NFL tight end for the Indianapolis Colts (Class of 2005)
- Curome Cox, NFL free agent (Class of 1999, and University of Maryland football coach)
- A. J. Francis, NFL defensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks (Class of 2008)
- Billy Glading, All-American and midfield for the Washington Bayhawks (Class of 1999)
- Joey Haynos, NFL tight end for the Miami Dolphins (Class of 2003)
- Darryl Hill, first African American football player at the Naval Academy and in the Atlantic Coast Conference (Maryland, Class of 1960)
- Kevin Hogan, quarterback for the Stanford Cardinal, 2012 Rose Bowl Champions (Class of 2011)
- Kris Jenkins, forward for the Villanova Wildcats, 2016 National Champions (Class of 2013)
- Cam Johnson, NFL player for the Cleveland Browns (Class of 2008)
- Malcolm Johnson, football player
- Jon Morris, former NFL player for the New England Patriots (Class of 1960)
- Roman Oben, NFL player for the San Diego Chargers and Super Bowl Champion with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Class of 1990)
- Paul Sheehy, former rugby player for the USA Eagles at the 1991 Rugby World Cup (Class of 1981)
- Arman Shields, NFL player for the Oakland Raiders; drafted in the 4th round of the 2008 draft (Class of 2003)
- John Thompson III, head basketball coach at Georgetown University (Class of 1984)
- Thomas W. Farley, president of the NYSE Group, including the New York Stock Exchange (Class of 1993)
- Jim Kimsey, co-founder of America Online, attended but dismissed and attended St. John's College High School
- David Costabile, actor (Class of 1985)
- Owen Danoff, musician and contestant on "The Voice" (Class of 2007)
- Brian Hallisay, actor (Class of 1996)
- John Heard, actor (Class of 1964)
- Stephen Lee, musician and creator of the podcast LifeTake5
- Kevin Mann, film producer
- Johnathan Rice, musician and actor (Class of 2001)
- The Haunted Boy, the victim of the alleged possession chronicled in the book and movie The Exorcist.
Journalism and publishing
- David Culver, television presenter/reporter at NBC Washington (Class of 2005)
- Bob Considine, journalist and author
- Pat Conroy, author, attended but did not graduate
- Joseph Ellis, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College (Class of 1961)
- Michael Kelly, late Washington Post columnist, editor of The New Republic, and editor-at-large of The Atlantic Monthly (Class of 1975)
- Jules Loh, AP Newsfeatures journalist and author (Class of 1948)
- Lance Morrow, journalist and writer for Time magazine (Class of 1958)
- John Ourand, reporter and columnist for the Sports Business Journal (Class of 1985)
- Peter Ruehl, columnist for the Australian Financial Review
- Major General John R. Ewers Jr., USMC, Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant (Class of 1977)
- Navy SEAL Lieutenant Commander Erik S. Kristensen who died while fighting in Afghanistan (Class of 1990)
- General John M. Loh, former Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, former commander of Air Combat Command (Class of 1956)
- United States Army Air Corps Major John H. McAleer, World War II Veteran (Class of 1944)
- Captain Humbert Roque "Rocky" Versace, USA, POW, Medal of Honor recipient, Pentagon Hall of Heroes inductee, Ranger Hall of Fame inductee (Class of 1955)
- William Bennett, author, radio host, former Secretary of Education, and first "drug czar" of the United States (Class of 1961)
- Don Beyer, Congressman-elect for Virginia's 8th congressional district, former Lieutenant Governor of Virginia U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein (Class of 1968)
- Pat Buchanan, Reform Party presidential candidate (2000), author, and syndicated columnist (Class of 1956)
- Ken Cuccinelli, former Attorney General of Virginia, former Virginia State Senator, 37th District (Class of 1986)
- Lawrence Hogan, former United States Representative for Maryland's 5th congressional district (Class of 1946)
- Patrick N. Hogan, former member, Maryland House of Delegates (Class of 1997)
- Martin O'Malley, former Governor of Maryland and former Mayor of Baltimore (Class of 1981)
- Ben Quayle, former United States Representative for Arizona's 3rd congressional district (Class of 1994)
- William Nathaniel Roach, U.S. Senator from North Dakota
- Charles L. Schultze, former chairman, United States Council of Economic Advisers, Bronze Star recipient, Purple Heart recipient, World War II (Class of 1942)
- Steve Shannon, Virginia House of Delegates, 35th District, attended, did not graduate
- Richard Wallach, mayor of Washington, D.C. during the Civil War
- Michael Miller, Florida House of Representatives, District 47 (Class of 1986)
- Elliott Coues (1842-1899), physician, ornithologist, mammalogist. Coues white tail deer is named for him.
- James Pilling (1846–1895), pioneer ethnologist who compiled extensive bibliographies on Native American languages and culture
- Phillip Colella, applied mathematician (Class of 1969)
- B. Alvin Drew, United States Air Force captain, NASA astronaut (Class of 1980)
- Eric O'Neill, former American FBI operative who played a major role in the arrest and life imprisonment conviction of FBI agent Robert Hanssen for spying, the story of which was made into a major motion picture, Breach (Class of 1991)
- Thomas R. Fitzgerald, S.J., sixth president of Fairfield University and the 30th president of Saint Louis University
- David Herold, hanged for participation in Lincoln's assassination
- Dr. Richard Mudd, grandson of Dr. Samuel Mudd (Class of 1917)
- MSA-CSS. "MSA-Commission on Secondary Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-23.
- Gonzaga College (1897). Sketch of Gonzaga College from its Foundation in 1821 till the Celebration of the Diamond Jubilee in 1896.
- History of Gonzaga
- GDA history
- Gonzaga drama
- NAQT 2007
- Gonzaga website
- David Culver