Holy Names Academy

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Holy Names Academy
728 21st Avenue East
Seattle, Washington, (King County) 98112
United States
Coordinates 47°37′34.19″N 122°18′14.94″W / 47.6261639°N 122.3041500°W / 47.6261639; -122.3041500Coordinates: 47°37′34.19″N 122°18′14.94″W / 47.6261639°N 122.3041500°W / 47.6261639; -122.3041500
Type Private
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1880
CEEB code 481100
Principal Elizabeth Swift '71
Faculty 53
Grades 912
Gender Women-only
Enrollment 692 (2016-2017)
Student to teacher ratio 14:1
Color(s) Maroon and grey         
Athletics conference WIAA 3A – Seattle Metropolitan League
Team name Cougars
Accreditation Northwest Association of Independent Schools
Newspaper The Dome
Yearbook Excalibur
Tuition $15,540 (2016-2017)
Affiliation Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
Admissions Director Eileen Denby
Athletic Director Lacey London
Holy Names Academy

Holy Names Academy is a Catholic private all-girls college-preparatory high school, founded by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary and located on the east slope of Seattle's Capitol Hill at 21st Avenue East between E. Aloha and E. Roy Streets. It is the oldest continually operating school in Washington state. Located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle, the school has been named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education four separate times. Holy Names Academy emphasizes academics, community service, ethics, and leadership. The school sends many of its students to selective universities every year. Of the graduating Class of 2016, 100% were admitted to 221 different colleges and universities, from which the graduates chose to attend 80, located in 22 states, the District of Columbia, and three foreign countries. Among the Class of 2016, 86% of the young women earned offers of college academic scholarships collectively valued at $31 million.

For 2016-17, Holy Names Academy enrolled 692 students. The student-teacher ratio was 14:1, and the average class size 22. Tuition is $15,540 for the 2016-17 school year. 32.1% of current students received financial aid in 2016-17. Of the enrollment, 34.7% were students of color. More than 29% were of a faith other than Roman Catholic. The school is under the trusteeship of the Sisters of the Holy Names and has a number of religious sisters on the governing board and staff.


The school is guided in all matters by its Mission and Philosophy Statement:

"Holy Names Academy, the oldest continually operating school in the State of Washington, was founded by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary on November 9, 1880. This Catholic secondary school serves young women of diverse ethnic, economic, and religious backgrounds. The unique character of a Holy Names education is achieved in various complementary ways.

"We teach, model, and promote Gospel values. This heritage is transmitted to students through school policies, academic programs, and co-curricular activities that encourage personal growth and respect for others. The Academy seeks to prepare young women for lives of leadership and loving service through excellent academic offerings and meaningful student life programs. The academic curriculum challenges students to develop their scholastic capabilities and individual talents through a four-year program of college-preparatory courses. An extensive student-leadership program offers multiple avenues for participation.

"Holy Names Academy seeks to prepare educated women for a life that proclaims the love of God for the human person. Instructed in an atmosphere that fosters the formation of a conscious ethical stance, young women who graduate from the Academy will discover the power that is theirs to direct their lives in peace, justice, and mercy––a manner befitting those whose faith inspires others. We pledge ourselves to preserve the lasting values of our tradition while we design the Academy of the future."


When it was founded in 1880 by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, the school was located in two buildings at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Seneca Street in downtown Seattle. In 1884, the school moved to 7th Avenue and S. Jackson Street in the International District. Construction of the present building in the Capitol Hill neighborhood began in 1906 and was completed in 1908. The architect of the neo-classical-style, domed building was Albert Breitung; its design has been carefully preserved over the years with few exterior changes. The adjacent Jeanne Marie McAteer Lee Gymnasium was built in 1990 on what was previously tennis courts. Currently underway: a 3-story construction project connecting the two buildings will add a student commons area, a fitness center for all students and faculty, an expanded cafeteria with outdoor seating, and other improvements.

Holy Names Academy originally incorporated a boarding school and grade school; a normal school was added in 1908. The normal school closed in 1930, the grade school in 1963, and the boarding school in 1967.

Academics: Advanced Placement[edit]

All students enrolled in an AP class are required to take the corresponding AP exam. In May 2016, 1,004 AP exams in 16 subjects were proctored to 459 candidates at Holy Names Academy, including 87% of all students enrolled in Grades 10, 11, and 12. Of students tested in 2016, 84% earned a grade of 3 or higher on one or more AP exams (which are graded on a scale of 1 to 5). In 2016, the College Board awarded 225 AP Scholar designations to 211 Holy Names Academy students, including 13 National AP Scholars and 88 AP Scholars with Distinction. Among the Class of 2016, 92.3% earned a score of 3 or above on one or more exams during their years at HNA, and 75% received an AP Scholar designation.

Other academic information[edit]

The graduation requirements from Holy Names Academy include four years of English, three years of Mathematics, two years each of International Language, Laboratory Science, and Social Studies, at least one year of a Fine Arts subject, one and a half years of Physical Education, and three years of elective subjects chosen from among all the various departments. The curriculum also requires four years of Religion, covering the topics of world cultures, scripture literature, morality/service, and contemporary problems.

Student life and school spirit[edit]

Over 40% of students hold leadership positions during their years at HNA, including service on the Associated Student Body, Campus Ministry & Community, or Sport & Spirit. Leadership positions also include service as Class Officers and Representatives, Club Officers, Athletic Team Captains, Peer Mentors, and Student Ambassadors. There are more than 40 student clubs, ranging from the Robotics Team, History Bowl, and Mock Trial to the Harry Potter Club. A Multicultural Student Union provides venues for the 34.7.8% of enrollment who are students of color, including the Black Student Union and Asian/Pacific Islander Focus Group. A National Honor Society is active. HNA often pairs with O'Dea High School, an all-boys Catholic school also located in Seattle, for social events including dances such as Homecoming and Winter Ball; the Academy hosts its own Junior and Senior proms, as well as its own homecoming.

Students at Holy Names Academy demonstrate school spirit by wearing their school colors to athletic games, as well as their class colors. These class colors are worn especially on Class Spirit days. The 9th-grade students are always green, and the rising sophomore class adopts the color of the previous year's seniors, which they keep until their own graduation. Each color corresponds to a name. The names are as follows:
Green: (voted on by the 9th grade at the beginning of the year)
Yellow: Cadets
Blue: Pipers (formerly orange)
Red: Skippers


Holy Names Academy fields highly competitive interscholastic teams in 13 sports; nearly 95% of current students participate in at least one during their years at the Academy. For the entire 2015-2016 school season, HNA teams collectively won the Seattle Metro League's All Sports Trophy for a record ninth consecutive year and for the 11th time in the last 15 years.

Fall sports: Crew, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Swimming, Volleyball

Winter sports: Basketball, Crew (conditioning), Gymnastics

Spring sports: Crew, Golf, Lacrosse, Softball, Tennis, Track, Ultimate Frisbee

Teams in 10 of the 13 HNA sports compete in the 3A-level Seattle Metropolitan League (or Metro League); crew, lacrosse, and Ultimate Frisbee are non-league, club sports. Several sports are offered on a non-cut basis: crew, cross country, and swimming in the fall; crew conditioning in the winter; track and crew in the spring. The newest of the sports to the school is Ultimate Frisbee; it was offered for the first time as an interscholastic sport in spring 2012.

From 1996 to the end of the 2015-2016 school year, Holy Names Academy sports teams have won:

• 12 State Team championships through the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Swimming, Track)

• 27 Sea-King District 2 championships (Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Gymnastics, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Track, Volleyball)

• 63 Metro League championships (Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Gymnastics, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Track, Volleyball)

• 22 Washington State Team Academic championships

Holy Names Academy is one of only three high schools in the Pacific Northwest states to offer crew (rowing) as a full-fledged, interscholastic sport. Since 1982, the crew program has qualified boats to compete 15 times at the USRowing Youth Invitational National Championships and 16 times at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston.

Theatre and music[edit]

Every year Holy Names Academy performs theater productions for the students and the community. In the spring, a musical is produced; in the fall, a play. The New Works Festival consists of one-act plays and short films written, directed, acted, and produced by students. Advanced, state-of-the-art lighting equipment and software were installed in the school's auditorium in 2011.

Music ensembles include a concert choir and advanced concert choir, vocal ensemble, jazz band, chamber ensemble and orchestra; all give at least two concerts per year, travel to competitions, and perform at school events. The school provides students with advanced music recording and production studios, with editing software.

Awards and recognition[edit]

During the 1984-85, 1990–91, 1995–96 and 2001-02 school years, Holy Names Academy was recognized with the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education,[1] the highest award an American school can receive.[2][3] As of 2007, the school was one of only five schools nationwide to be honored as a Blue Ribbon School on four separate occasions.[4]

In 2016, the Puget Sound Business Journal honored Holy Names Academy as a "Best Company in Washington" 2016 WaBest Workplaces with 50 to 99 employees, and in 2014 as one of "Washington's Best Workplaces." In 2012, the same publication awarded Holy Names Academy the first-place gold medal in the medium-size businesses category of its annual competition.[5] Also in 2012, Seattle Business Magazine named Holy Names Academy the "Best Non-Profit Company to Work for" in Washington state.[6] In 2008, Washington CEO Magazine chose Holy Names Academy as one of the best 100 companies to work for in Washington state.


  1. ^ Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 1982-1983 through 1999-2002 (PDF), United States Department of Education. Accessed May 11, 2006.
  2. ^ CIBA cited as one of the best by Education Department, Journal Inquirer, November 16, 2006. "The Blue Ribbon award is given only to schools that reach the top 10 percent of their state's testing scores over several years or show significant gains in student achievement. It is considered the highest honor a school can achieve."
  3. ^ Viers Mill School Wins Blue Ribbon; School Scored High on Statewide Test; The Washington Post. September 29, 2005 "For their accomplishments, all three schools this month earned the status of Blue Ribbon School, the highest honor the U.S. Education Department can bestow upon a school."
  4. ^ Berger, Susan. "School gets 4th Blue Ribbon: Carmel Catholic is only one in state honored this year", Chicago Tribune, October 10, 2007. Accessed November 1, 2007. "Carmel also received the Blue Ribbon Award in 1985, 1996 and 2002. Only four other high schools nationwide have won the award four times."
  5. ^ Puget Sound Business Journal: Washington's Best Workplaces 2012
  6. ^ Seattle Business, July 2012: 100 Best Companies To Work For: Non-Profit Companies

External links[edit]